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Prisca DeJonge

Obituary for Prisca DeJonge

January 20, 1919 - August 1, 2018
Columbia, Maryland | Age 99

Loving Mother


A Life Sketch of Prisca Elder DeJonge
"I was born in the little village of Charlotteville, Man of War Bay, Tobago W.I. on January 20, 1919. My parents Eva Moriah Alleyne and Charles Elder were Methodists and all the surviving six of their ten children; Rose (Sis. Rose), twins: Jacob Delworth (JD) and Esau Charles (EC), Rubie Caruth (Puss), Me, Prisca (Fatty) and Henrietta (Eshcol) attended the Methodist school.
After I completed my elementary education, the principal of the school asked me to remain as a pupil teacher and take the Teachers Training Course. This I did, but not too long after I started, a teacher from the Seventh-day Adventist school, Caribbean Training College in Trinidad came to the village canvassing for students. He was taken to visit my older, totally bedbound, invalid sister, Rose, who had converted and became a Seventh-day Adventist by profession of faith. He told her all about the college and she in turn persuaded my parents to send me there. My two older brothers, who were also teachers in the Methodist school, agreed to pay my tuition and so in the year 1935, I went off to school at CTC, as it was known then.
Life at CTC seemed very strange at first. Not only were the other students much older than I was, but the food was vegetarian, so as you can imagine, coming from a fishing village, I had a hard time eating. However, I finally settled down, going to classes and working in the Culinary Department. While there, my first life defining step was to accept the Seventh-day Adventist Message, join a baptismal class, and not long after, be baptized in the cold Maracas River.
One of my teachers, Mrs. Elsie Smith, was very close to me and became my mentor. She thought that I would be a very good teacher and advised me to do so, even though I had planned to take Nursing. I listened to her and allowed her to register me in the Teachers Training Course. The classes were interesting and I especially loved English and learning poetry. As soon as I had completed my coursework, a call came from the Adventist Conference asking me to go and teach church school in Churkoo Village, Trinidad.
It was in 1943, and during my few years of teaching at Churkoo, that I married Sylvanus Augustus DeJonge, a handsome, fellow CTC student and classmate who had often sat next to me in classes. He was from British Guyana and was the youngest of sixteen brothers and sisters.
Not long after our marriage, Caribbean Training College called both my husband and me to join their Administrative staff. I took charge of the College Cafeteria and my husband, "Sir De", took charge of the college Broom Factory. It was not easy satisfying the taste of students coming from so many islands with different likes and dislikes, but eventually I was able to come up with a variety of interesting and tasty dishes that satisfied most. Those college years were busy, productive and happy ones, during which, in 1953, my husband and I were blessed with a son, Eugene Charles.
In 1954, Mr. DeJonge was asked to go to Arima, Trinidad to take charge of the church school there. So we moved to Arima and began teaching school again. While there, Judy Rose was born in 1955. While we enjoyed living in Arima, in 1957, my husband, in search of more education and a better life, migrated to America. It would be a year and a half before the children and I could join him there, so while waiting, I went back to CTC, and took charge of the Laundry.
We were finally reunited with my husband in Brooklyn, NY USA in September of 1958. At first I
stayed home doing child care for my two children and also for the children of other friends who had
migrated to the States. Then, once my children had started school, I applied and was hired by the St John's Episcopal Hospital to work in their Pediatric Ward as a Unit clerk, where I worked for twenty-two and a half years until my retirement in 1984.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church was a driving force in our family life. My husband and I were founding members of the Park Place SDA Church in Brooklyn, NY, which later outgrowing its space, moved and became the Hanson Place SDA Church, also in Brooklyn, NY. I served the church in varying capacities, as Head Deaconess, Sabbath School Superintendent, Adventist Youth Leader, Kindergarten and Primary Sabbath School Leader, Board Member and Culinary Department Leader.
My husband, "Sir De", died in the Fall of 1972, so my hands were full trying to educate my two children and doing work for the church, but God was good. My son, Eugene earned two degrees in Education and Music before his untimely death in 1985. Judy has degrees and certifications in Theatre Design, Interior Design and Architecture, but like her uncle JD cannot seem to stop studying. Now she works as a staff Interior Designer and lecturer at Morgan State University, in Baltimore Maryland. It was during this time I was also able to pursue my love for travel. I traveled visiting the countries of England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Fiji and Morocco to name a few.
Holding offices in the church kept me very busy and after my retirement most of my days were spent in the Hanson Place Church, catering weddings, thanksgiving dinners for the homeless and less fortunate, and various events and functions for my church, other churches and the wider Brooklyn, NY community. I am thankful that I was able to do a lot for Hanson Place Church financially and otherwise. When I moved to Maryland in May of 1992 in order to be closer to Judy, I felt good knowing that my catering activities had allowed me to leave the church in good standing financially.
Now I am here, living in the Chillum Oaks Apartments. I am 92 years advanced in age. I cannot do much, for my health is not good. My times are in God's hands. He has brought me this far and I trust and know that He will do what is best for me. My only and greatest hope is to able to go with Him when He comes to claim His own and that all my friends and family, immediate and extended, can be reunited when this earth is made new.
May God bless us all."
Prisca Elder DeJonge lived another seven years after she penned her memoire. She suffered two small strokes on June 5, 2018 and subsequently two additional ones on July 21 and 22. Mother De, as she was fondly called, then drifted in and out of consciousness for a week before finally breathing her last on the afternoon of August 1, 2018, just five months short of her 100th birthday.
She leaves to mourn her devoted daughter Judy Rose, and a number of relatives of the Moore, Elder, DeJonge, Monkou, Nicholson, Ceasar and Hines families; a host of good friends, and the love of two church congregations, the Hanson Place SDA Church in Brooklyn, New York and the Metropolitan SDA Church, here in Hyattsville, MD.

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