By Betty Vedrine
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Jennie Mae Johnson McLeod departed this earth early this week, and is deeply missed by the staff of Bahamas Information Services.
McLeod, or “Jennie Mae,” during her eight years at BIS, could be counted on to give that warm smile first thing in the morning as you walked in.
With her strong and steady air through all seasons, she truly epitomized the words inscribed in Proverbs 31:25: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come”.
As the staff mourns her passing, there is also a sense of thankfulness for having had such a beautiful soul in our midst.
Hailing from the breathtakingly beautiful island of Eleuthera, where she was born, May 7, 1959, this island girl grew up on the settlement of Hatchet Bay, and longed for the days when she would return to her lovely island home, which she had already started renovating in preparation for her return.
Her daughter Zitalia, who she lovingly called ‘ZZ’, said that her mom was always reminiscing about her childhood days in Eleuthera.
“I can remember mommy always talking about going home and fixing up her place for her grandchildren,” she said.
“She also wanted to see me get married and have some children.”
Mother of five – Nello, Ambrose, Rico, Zitalia and Jenice – Jennie Mae doted on her children. She was also the proud grandmother of three: Mellony, Cristelo, and Ambrose Jr.
McLeod’s career in the public service spanned some 23 years: she was employed at the Ministry of Education, where she worked at Uriah McPhee Primary School, and then was posted to Bahamas Information Services.
Director General of Bahamas Information Services Kevin Harris said: “I first met Ms. McLeod when I assumed office as Director General of BIS in early January 2018.
“She served as part of our custodian team. From our very first meeting, I was captivated by her infectious smile, warm personality and overall kind deposition. Ms. McLeod was a very hard working member of our staff, always performing at an optimum level even at times when she was not feeling well.”
He continued: “She brought a ray of sunshine into the office each day and was well liked by all. Several members of the staff were very close to her, adopting her more as a sister and friend than a co-worker. She had a very positive impact on us as an agency and her presence will truly be missed on a daily basis.
“On behalf of the staff of Bahamas Information Services I express our sincere condolences to her family. Her passing represents that a member of our BIS family is now one less but we are comforted that she has now joined her heavenly family in the Kingdom of God.”
McLeod, in her spare time, loved to prepare delicious meals, walk and garden.
She also had a passion for beautiful clothing and would indulge in spectacular outfits complete with exotic hats, especially for church on Sundays at Golden Gates World Outreach Ministries, where she worshiped for many years and served as a member of the choir, and as a greeter.
Last year, along with her daughter Zitalia, Jennie participated in the Remelda Rose Fashion event that paid tribute to survivors of cancer. She was a 14-year breast cancer survivor and her daughter, a five-year breast cancer survivor.
Gillian Curry Williams, of Remelda Rose Designs, said: “Jennie had an air of elegance and sophisticated glamour. She exuded grace with a smile.”
Jennie lost her battle with cancer on Monday, 31st August 2020 at the age of 61.
Sadly her sister, Jan Johnson, also died the same day, both just hours apart.
May they rest in eternal peace.