Hilda Agatha McLean, July 15, 1912 – May 6, 2017
Friends and family of Hilda Agatha McLean, known by many as Miss Gata, Aunt Gat or Miss Hilda, have been paying tribute to the 104-year-old who passed away last month.
Ms. McLean, who was born in 1912 in Grants Town in the parish of St. Mary, Jamaica, died at the Cayman Islands Hospital on May 6. She had lived in Grand Cayman, on and off, since the 1950s.
She was the third of five children born to Edward and Justina McLean. Her brother Zimrie and sisters Eloise, Iris and Vashti preceded her in death. Iris and Vashti also both had long lives, passing away at ages 101 and 102, respectively. She is survived by her brother Glester, who is 99 years old and lives in the U.K.
In 1954, she came to the Cayman Islands with Dr. Paul Magnus and worked for him as a housekeeper before returning to Jamaica. She returned shortly thereafter and found work at the West Indian Club on Seven Mile Beach.
As a child, she attended the Port Maria Elementary School in St. Mary, Jamaica, and as a young woman, her career spanned from dressmaking to housekeeping.
She moved to the United States in 1968 where she worked as a nurse’s aide, caring for the elderly for many years. While there, she developed glaucoma and cataracts and over time her sight started to fail. It was then, in 1980, that she decided to retire and return to the Cayman Islands.
By that time, she had built her own house in Windsor Park, George Town, where she lived before moving to the Pines Retirement Home.
While residing in the Cayman Islands, Ms. McLean gave her heart to the Lord on December 5, 1981, and was baptized into the Savannah Seventh-day Adventist Church, her family said.
She had a passion for gardening and was frequently seen in her yard planting and tending to her garden. Because of her failing sight, she would at times root up what she had planted, but it was her greatest pleasure to be outdoors.
Ms. McLean was also a good cook and enjoyed baking bread. She was very health conscious, which was a contributing factor to her long life, her family says. She always believed in her home remedies for any aliments she had, which were very few.
In 2004, when Hurricane Ivan destroyed her home, her daughter Charmaine thought it best to register her as a day-care patient at the Pines Retirement Home in George Town where she would be able to spend weekdays interacting with her peers and participating in and enjoying the various programs there. Ms. McLean developed good friendships with the caregivers at the Pines.
Ms. McLean leaves behind her church family, three children, Judith, Patricia and Charmaine, her brother Glester, son-in-law Courtney Perrin, 10 grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren and numerous nephews, nieces and friends.