“Something that is loved is never lost.” - Toni Morrison
On Wednesday January 7th, 2021 the long, beautiful journey of Irma Nola Blake ended peacefully. Her spirit now soaring with the angels. Irma, also known as “Maggie,” to friends and family, embraced all of life's wonders and battled many of its challenges.
Irma Blake was born on November 8th, 1933 in Belmont, Trinidad to Maude Maunday and Rupert Blake. She was the oldest of her four siblings: Ruthven Best, Terrence Best, Desmond Maunday and Ancil George. All deceased. Irma had two sons, Colin Blake and Garvin Blake, and was the surrogate mother of her niece, Annmarie Best-Dick.
As a teenager, Irma learned sewing from a next-door neighbor and soon became a seamstress for everyone in her community. In 1968 she migrated to the United States, first arriving in Tulsa, Oklahoma then moving to Brooklyn.
Initially, Irma worked in Manhattan’s Garment District. Soon after she got a job with The New York Telephone Company, where she remained for more than 25 years. All the while, she continued to design clothes at nights and on weekends, burning the midnight oil in order to take care of her family.
Irma was the matriarch of her family, providing support and guidance to anyone and everyone. Although she only had four grandchildren, Jacqueline Blake, Khalila Blake, Nicea Blake and Kerwin Francis all of their friends referred to her as “Grandma Irma”. To her long list of nieces and nephews she was “Aunty Maggie". She was also a second mother to many of her son’s friends, who simply called her “Irma.”
From one generation to the next, her house was where all the action took place - parties, liming, counseling, sleepovers. It was a happy space, open to family, friends and friends-of-friends, many of whom stayed there for weeks.
Irma loved music, sports, especially the New York Knicks, game shows and never missed an opportunity to play mas when she was younger.
She had a heart of gold, a steely will and a gentle smile. Irma was also a fiercely independent woman. But most of all, she was a giver, often putting the welfare of others ahead of her own. Her life’s pleasure came from witnessing the triumphs of her loved ones or in lending them a helping hand in trying times.
In addition to her aforementioned children and grandchildren, Irma is survived by her daughter-in-law Phoebe Blake, nieces and nephews, Andrea Jacobs, Aisha Maundy, Tracy Daniels, Camille Best, Terrence Best Jr., Anthony George, Aswad Maundy, Kree Gumbs among others. Sister-in-laws Myrtle Maundy, Jean Best and Vena Best. Cousins David Maunday, Keith Maunday, Lennox Maunday, Barbara Browne, Gemma Granderson, Kathleen Reid and many more.
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