Guyanese centenarian dies shortly after turning 100

Helen Wailoo

Helen Wailoo, nee Hoyte, a Guyanese centenarian and the matriarch of the Wailoo family, died in Toronto  on December 21 last, shortly after  her 100th birthday.

She was born in 1917 in what was then British Guiana to a Guyanese mother and a Barbadian father, and raised 10 children in the hard times of the “War Years.” Her youngest son is Caribbean Camera columnist and culture aficionado, Oscar Wailoo.

Mrs.Wailoo was 53 years old when she came to Canada in 1969.

As her son, Oscar, recalled,  her arrival in Canada, “was the beginning of  an entirely new life.

“For the first time she worked outside the home earning her ‘own money’, and a new world opened up to her. She and her husband, Jackie, travelled extensively and kept a home and a kitchen to which her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren gravitated for some “ole style” Caribbean food cooked with plenty love. ”

Oscar said his mother’s genius was in home economics and child rearing.

” Here she excelled, putting three square meals on the table every day, dressing and sending all her children off to school while Jackie made sure all the necessary materials for school filled the book bags.

“Above all she taught her children that love, respect and generosity would guarantee a happy life while she found a way to feed anyone who showed up at her tiny and crowded home.”

She leaves her 10 children, 17 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren. Her husband Jackie Wailoo predeceased her in 1997.

A funeral service  for Helen Wailoo  will held at  the  Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery  and Funeral Home in Thornhill  on Friday at  11.30 a.m.