Blossom Stephenson was born in Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, the daughter of Edith Louise (Huffstead) Stephenson and John Stephenson. Blossom’s brother, Noel, was the son of John Stephenson. Her father served as superintendent of public works in Jamaica, a position that required him to travel all over the island. A traffic accident that occurred while he was working claimed his life. Her mother, Edith, was a practical nurse and a tireless worker in missionary and charitable causes. Blossom’s only child, Hope Lewis, preceded her in death.
In the 1940s, Blossom’s mother moved to Brooklyn, New York where she studied nursing. Blossom remained in Jamaica with her father and completed her secondary education at Clarendon College. Thereafter, in the 1950s, she joined her mother in Brooklyn. The family was able eventually to buy a home in East Flatbush, which would provide a place to sojourn for scores of relatives and friends from Jamaica. As Blossom’s mother, Edith, was one of seventeen children, there was always someone passing through the house. Following the path her mother had chosen, Blossom studied nursing. She earned a master’s degree in the field at Long Island University. Eventually she would serve as head nurse and administrator at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in New York City. She had a reputation, far and wide, as a compassionate and beloved nurse who not only attended to the physical needs of her patients but never hesitated to offer emotional support, a prayer, or a warm smile. She also mentored countless healthcare professionals and worked to improve public health awareness, particularly regarding diabetes, in her Brooklyn community. The family worshipped at the Good Hope Missionary Church in East New York, Brooklyn, and thereafter at Calvary Community Church, where Blossom was for many years church secretary.
In addition to her professional accomplishments and church work, a center of Blossom’s life was her daughter, Hope. Blossom’s fiscal frugality and love of learning paved the road for Hope to have a first class education, from elementary school through university. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Hope returned to Boston in 1991 to teach law at Northeastern University. When her daughter’s health began to decline, Blossom sold the family home in Brooklyn and moved to Boston. She brought her mother, Edith, with her. As Hope’s vision worsened, Blossom did all she could so that Hope could pursue her career as an expert in international human rights, while also making a home for her elderly mother. Blossom dedicated two decades of her life to the care and well-being of her daughter and mother in Boston. She nursed them, chauffeured them, took charge of their medical affairs, and attended to their needs in every way. Upon settling in Boston, Blossom also found time to volunteer as a nurse. The family worshipped at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The move from Brooklyn to Boston, entailing the sale of a beloved family home, was an immense sacrifice for both Blossom and Edith, but they undertook it with the same courage and unstinting devotion with which they raised Hope.
Blossom was a gracious soul who celebrated her joys with the same measure of equanimity that she used to face life’s difficulties. Anchored by her religious faith, Blossom never shied away from her responsibilities to her ailing mother or daughter and never sought refuge in anger or despair. Sharp of mind and deeply knowledgeable about the world, Blossom was passionate about politics and baseball. She loved Obama, the Red Sox and Big Papi. While Blossom was never reticent about expressing her views, she did so with restraint and a wry sense of humor. Blossom never forgot an act of kindness and will be remembered for her generosity.
(Life Reflections Continued)
Over the course of the last four years of her life, Blossom missed her daughter greatly but she found sustenance in the love and caring of many people near and far. She will be dearly missed.
She leaves her cousin, John Wallace of Florida, with whom she had a special friendship throughout her life. Also surviving her are cousins Herbie Wallace of Florida, George Wallace of Jamaica, cousin-in-law Cynthia Wallace of Florida, and a host of others. Predeceasing her are her mother, Edith Louise (Huffstead) Stephenson-Carr, her father John Stephenson, her maternal grandfather, R.A.J. Huffstead, her brother, Noel Stephenson, and her daughter Louise Hope Lewis.
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