On a beautiful December day in rural Guyana, Kimbia Berbice river, a beautiful baby girl was born to Alice and Clement France. They named her Doreen Walterine. Her parents, who were of humble beginnings, loved her and did everything in their power to provide for and make her happy. Her parents raised her in the Seventh Day Adventist church. She grew up to love the church. Mom would say, "the church is all I know, and I loved it more than school."
She became a mom very early in her life to two beautiful girls Verleen and Kim. To care for her girls, she relocated from Kimbia to the city for work and a nesting place to raise her children. She was industrious and patterned her life after the woman described in Proverbs 31:22. She taught herself to sew and became an accomplished designer and seamstress, a businesswoman in her own right. As you would imagine, she loved fashion, dressing herself and her girls in her beautiful creations. Her winsome personality, extraordinary dress-making skills, and beautiful smile kept her customers returning. Through her gift and passion for sewing, she inspired women with the confidence to look and feel their best.
She met and married George Mars, and they became a blended family. Her marriage to the late George Augustus Mars produced two beautiful children Velda and George II. They shared 36 years until his death.
One of the most interesting things about Doreen was her love for conversation. She loved discussing the nuances of her religion and politics with her son-in-laws Nigel, Sam, and Earl. She loved playing 'devil's advocate' to strengthen her position and provoke discussion. They loved that about her and indulged her.
After caring for her parents until their death, she moved to the United States to be with her children. Though we were all happy to have her close by, adjusting to this country was a challenge. Doreen loved the outdoors, sewing, planting, and weeding in her yard. The open space in Florida could not compare to her open space in Guyana. But, being the fighter that she was, she found opportunities to pursue her passions. After relocating to Georgia, she would plant a huge garden filled with fresh vegetables every summer. And every summer, her family would have natural provisions for their meals. With her talent for providing nourishment, she became a member of the Shiloh Seventh Day Adventist Church and an integral part of their food pantry program. She loved the community and looked forward with eagerness each Wednesday to meet up with her friends at Shiloh. She would make friends at Grace Tabernacle and could not wait to return to fellowship with them.
In August of 2019, mom and her daughter Velda traveled to Tanzania, Africa. It would be the best year of her life. Velda and Sam took mom everywhere with them, and mom took the rest of us with her by FaceTime. They traveled to Zanzibar, Daresalam, Morogoro, and Moshi, to name a few. She especially loved the boat trip to Zanzibar, the views of Mount Kilimanjaro, and the Savannah-like landscape and farms that stretched for miles along the highways. Tanzania reminded mom of where she grew up in Kimbia and helped her relive that way of life. While there, she would sew clothes for the local people and the ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) workers.
Hers was a life of prayerful commitment to her God. She woke up at 4 am each day to have her devotion. She prayed with her prayer partners each morning and at noon without fail. Unfortunately, upon her return to the United States, she became ill and was hospitalized. When her daughter asked her just before intubation if she was afraid, she said, “I am not afraid.” She trusted fully in the will of God. After a prolonged and courageous fight, God chose to give his daughter perfect peace and rest.
Doreen was an icon, a trendsetter, an entrepreneur, a virtuous woman, and a good Christian. She blazed the trail for her:
Children: Verleen Lewis BSc, MSc (wife of Pastor Nigel Lewis MSc, Doctoral Candidate)
Kim Boyle Gomes. BSN (wife of Earl Gomes Entrepreneur )
Velda Oyortey BSc. (Wife of Samuel Oyortey MBA. Country Director at ADRA Tanzania).
George Mars. Electrical Engineer and Small Business Owner (husband of Samantha Mars)
Grandchildren: Sasha Persaud, Learning Ambassador at Amazon
Crystal Lewis Luke. BSc. Ph.D. (wife of Curtis Luke BSc. Engineering Supervisor)
Raynold Lewis. BSc. MSc.(husband of Hillary Lewis BSc.)
Tevin Mars. Artist.
Cocoa Gomes, Etajh Mars, Elijah Mars, and Ethan Mars.
Sisters: Inez Fleming
Esther Lyte Ford
Nephews: Harvey Fleming, Gavin Fleming, Frank Gladstone, Lennox Gladstone, Desmond Gladstone, Lindon Gladstone, Collin Lyte, Winston Lyte, Irving Lyte, Glenrick Lyte, Irving France, Ronald France, Silvan France, Jason Lyte, John Ford, Jamal Marks Erk Lyte.
Nieces: Pearl Fleming, Carol Fleming, Earla King, Winnifred Morris, Iona King, Wanda Gladstone, Denise Lindie, Teshia Lyte, Bernice Seel, Coreen France, Vanessa France, Alecia Lyte, Arlene Lyte, Omi Lyte.
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