The Philipsburg Seventh-day Adventist Church Pays Tribute to a Member Centenarian Queen, Barbara Richardson

1994

 

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — In awesome gratitude to God, the Seventh-day Adventist community on St. Maarten and further afield congratulates the very extraordinary Sister Barbara Richardson-Alexander, on her triple-digit milestone of one hundred years of life, on March 25, 2024.  Barbara Richardson, a Seventh-day Adventist for seventy-eight years, is affectionately called Sister Barbara, Sister Richie and Malu. 

Sister Richie’s long life is punctuated with a myriad of blessings.  She was blessed with a loving husband, the late Bro. Josier Richardson, with whom she shares nine adoring children: John Richardson, Dr. Lloyd Richardson, James Richardson, Glen Richardson (deceased), Barbara Nicholls-Richardson, Owen Richardson, Daphne Richardson and two adopted children, Heather Williams-Brookes and Aline Sandra McQuilkin.  Her fifteen wonderful grandchildren and nineteen great-grandchildren are also special blessings in her life.  Malu’s motherly love and passion for children radiate in that not only is she a mother to her own children, but her life has been blessed with many others in whose lives she has played a motherly, supportive role.  

One may enquire of Sister Richie’s healthy aging secret as centenarians are usually rare. It is of interest to note that her oldest sister is 104, while their grandmother holds the record in their native Grenada, having lived to 115 years.  In the case of Sis. Ritchie, two of her children shed light on the secret to her long life.  They cited that their mother’s faith in God and her practicing a healthy lifestyle are contributing factors that aid in preserving her life.  In fact, Sis. Richardson has been a strict vegan for over seventy years.  A close friend of this affectionate centurion added that Sister Richie’s close connection with God along with the points mentioned above have contributed to her longevity. No wonder, Barbara’s favourite Bible text and song respectively are ‘God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’ and  ’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus’.

Lady Barbara Richardson has been known to be consistently active in her church community.  In her youthful days, Sister Richie taught the preparation of  gluten to the church community and what a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment her past students recalled, having mastered the craft with galvanized energy. Gluten was also usually a part of the meal she prepared for the volunteering workers during the initial building of the Philipsburg Seventh-day Adventist Church years ago. Barbara Richardson herself volunteered in various capacities in most of the departments of the Philipsburg Seventh-Day Adventist Church where she still worships. 

As a member of the Philipsburg SDA Church, Sis. Barbara has ministered with enthusiasm in diverse ministries.  She served as Sabbath School superintendent, head deaconess, choir member, Dorcas member, (community service member), Vacation Bible School director, Sabbath School teacher, member of the building committee, to name a few. In her more active years, it was also a pleasure for her to beautify the church with her eye-catching floral arrangements that enhanced the ambience of the sanctuary. These lovely flowers were picked from her very own garden. She has since passed on this floral arrangement ministry to her second daughter, Daphne Richardson.

A significant feat for Sis Richie relates to her dedicated and committed service to her neighborhood and wider community.  As a naturally sacrificial donor, she enjoyed baking, making vegetarian pizza, singing, doing embroidery, visiting the sick and caring for her neighbours.  Her impact within her neighborhood was so profound that Malu became known as the ‘village babysitter’.  

On the matter of education, Barbara Richardson is passionate about and a strong advocate for Adventist education. In light of this, a number of her children have been educated at Seventh-day Adventist universities in different parts of the world.  This trend is also reflected in the family choosing Adventist educational institutions for the educational path for her grandchildren.  The family has also contributed to the promotion of Adventist education on the island and within Adventist circles. 

At one hundred years old, Mrs. Richardson is cognitively sharp as a razor as currently evidenced by her memory of birthdays and anniversaries of family members and many others with whom she interacted over the years.  She does not exude a dull and lethargic persona, nor mannerism lacking luster.  In fact, she continues to attend the Philipsburg Seventh-day Adventist church where she remains a member and where she can be observed making her way to the car aided by her daughter, smiling energetically and engagingly.  Dull and lethargic?  No! No! This is not the reality for centurion Barbara Richardson!

In framing the legacy of the extraordinary Sister Babara, she confidently exhibits the characteristics captured in Psalm 31:28: ‘Her children rise up and call her blessed’. One of her daughters pointed out that she will ever be grateful to her mother Barbara Richardson for her faithfulness in her Christian belief over the years. Another submitted that she values her mother’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that her children ‘trod on the strait and narrow path’, which included lovingly and affectionately correcting them, while not sparing the “rod of correction.”

In conversation with a number of individuals it is clear that  Barbara Richardson has cemented an indelible mark on not only her children but others.  They described her as being patient, dignified, tactful, hardworking, encouraging, caring and reliable.  It is said that her life reflects the epitome of community, productivity, integrity, and love.

Mrs. Barbara Richardson has voyaged through an impactful century epitomizing the qualities of hardwork, dedication to God and a healthy lifestyle.  It is with esteemed honour and joy that we celebrate the inspirational and purposeful life of our centenarian queen.