Meyers-Hazel gets national farewell

POSTED: 04/4/11 12:12 PM

“What a team player. What a trooper.”

St. Maarten / By Milton Pieters and Donellis Browne – The Philipsburg Methodist Church was filled to overflowing Saturday as a huge crowd gathered in and around it to say farewell to the late Eulalie Meyers-Hazel, in what is one of the nation’s largest funerals ever. The last time the church filled to this overflowing capacity is at the funeral of the late Vance James Jr. in 2007. This outpouring and large presence by hundreds of people exemplifies that the late Meyers-Hazel was regarded as a friend, source of inspiration and icon to the community.

The crowds assembled twice on Saturday. First they packed Meyers-Hazel’s home church – Zion Methodist in Sucker Garden – to view her body as she lay in state, and then they filled the Philipsburg Methodist Church, its yard and Front Street.

Glowing tributes came from many and eventually had to be cut off as people spoke of how the deceased, who was affectionately known as Mimi, Mom, Momzie and Miss Lalie touched their lives. Chief among those paying tribute was Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, who pointed out her tribute that a void had been left with Meyers-Hazel’s departure.

“Something and somebody is missing from the Philipsburg Methodist Church this afternoon. It is hard to imagine life in the church without Miss Lalie. She has fought the fight, she has won the race and today we are taking leave of her, but she is already in her new and eternal home. The question is who will fill her shoes, who will fill that gap in the many things she did for the Methodist church and St Maarten at large,” Wescot-Williams said.

Per the deceased’s request the congregation opened the service with songs dear to Meyers-Hazel’s heart. The very first hymn was William Cowper’s God moves in mysterious ways. A bevy of ministers, some who travelled to attend, presided at the funeral.

Meyers-Hazel’s youngest son, Franklin Meyers, did the formal remembrance recalling that though the deceased meant many things to the community, she was foremost a mother and wife. He recalled that she was the fourth of 11 children of her parents and attended the Oranje School up until the 8th grade. In her life she raised seven children and then helped to raise 19 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild.

“Mom loved all her children. She spoiled her boys and enjoyed her girls. She also loved and spoiled her grand-children and the private conversations she had with them remained private. She even started computer classes and created a Face book account so she could communicate with them. While she was firm and expected the very, very, very, very best of us, Mimi was also our pacifier,” Meyers recalled.

His remembrance broken by emotion and tears Meyers also recalled that his mother served her community long before it was popular, citing her work with prisoners at the Point Blanche prison as a key example.

“Mom always prayed for the prisoners for whom she had a soft spot and on Boxing Day she would prepare and serve them a meal equivalent to the one she gave her family the day before,” Meyers said.

Another key organization that the deceased founded and served in was the Girls Brigade, in which she served as a captain and the Zion Methodist Church in which she led the choir and served as lay preacher.

“Mimi was especially proud of Zion, because she helped to build it from the ground up. She did all she did in order to fulfill her purpose in life to serve God,” Meyer said.

Meyers also called to mind that his mother was an avid traveler who loved visiting foreign countries and a woman who loved politics. An example of that love is the fact that she flew to Atlanta and used her American citizenship to cast her vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

He said, “She was also a whole hearted supporter who attended every public meeting and every contact meeting when a member of the family was involved. What a team player. What a trooper.”

It was on March 17 that Hazel-Meyers burst a blood vessel in her leg and then later complained of a headache. Doctors had her airlifted to the Dominican Republic and it was there, after all her children and her husband had assembled that Meyers-Hazel died.

“I know my mother would say grieve for me if you must, but not for too long and don’t worry about me, I’m okay,” Meyers said at the close of his remembrance.

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