Edith Susan Batson was born on October 4, 1928, in Boston, MA. to the late John Christopher Batson of Saint Philip, Barbados (1890-1943) and the late Julia Irene (Brewster) Batson of Wakefield, Rhodes Island (1898-1973). When John saw Julia from the ship he was working on, it was love at first sight, and he stated “I found my Jewel.” Her family included her sisters, the late Marguerite Bryant (1916-1928) of New York, the late Dorothy Annetha (Batson) Robinson (1917-2007), and her brother, the late John Christopher Batson, Jr. (1919-1971). Edith died on November 22, 2022, at the age of 94.
Edith grew up surrounded by love and is well known for her great smile, giggles, love, and happiness. Her family called her “Baby”, friends called her Edy, and her schoolmates called her “Bat”. As a child, she traveled to Rhode Island to visit her grandfather, Herman Brewster’s farm, aunts, uncles, and cousins, especially her Uncle William Dewy Brewster, Aunt Ethel, and cousin Herman B. Brewster. She enjoyed spending time with her mother sewing and traveling. Edith joined the Girl Scouts and attended Breezy Meadows and Whisper Willow summer camps. She also enjoyed cooking, family parties, riding the wooden trolleys to Revere Beach, and other family gatherings. Growing up, Edith's happy childhood changed dramatically in 1943 when her beloved father died.
Edith began her education at Hyde Elementary School and graduated from the High School of Practical Arts in Roxbury. Later, she took classes at Boston Business School and Roxbury Community Center (RCC).
Edith connected with her Barbadian roots through cousins, the Jordans and the Blades, and many members of St. Cyprian Church. Years later, Edith traveled to Barbados several times and to visit aunts, uncles, and cousins of the Batson-Clarke, Nightingale, Blades, Mason, and Jordan families. The family continued to visit Barbados on numerous trips, especially to visit beloved cousin, the late Alma (Grazette) Russel.
As a young girl, Edith was a faithful member of St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church. She met and was smitten with Richard A. Reed, Jr. while attending St. Cyprian's Sunday School and youth services, and she was a majorette in the Drum and Bugle Band.
Edith married Richard A. Reed Jr., (1926-1957) on Aug. 1, 1947. Edith traveled adventurous across the Atlantic Ocean with her toddlers, Donna Ann Reed who was very talented and intelligent and Richard Anthony Reed, III who was curious to reunite with Richard, Jr. who was serving in the U.S. Army in Augsburg, Germany. Their family grew with the birth of Susan Andrea Reed before they returned to the US in 1955. Edith was blessed with the birth of John Artell Reed on Easter Sunday in 1957. John has always displayed an exuberant personality and a source of joy.
Edith married the late Charles A. Cleveland (1927-1965) and had four lovely daughters, Charrisse Annette Cleveland, Gail Angela Mobley, Katrina Faith Baskin, and Christina Victoria Beira. In 1963, without hesitance, she also embraced the late Deborah Elizabeth (Cleveland) Atwood of Atlanta, GA (1954-2007) into the family.
Edith married the late Wallace Calvin Judkins (1927-2002) on December 15, 1967. He embraced all of the children and became affectionately referred to as “Poppy” and “Daddy”. The family welcomed a lively and outgoing son, Jemal Calvin Judkins. Edith and Wallace's marriage lasted thirty-five years. She was the devoted rock to her growing family through happiness, sorrow, joy, and pain throughout the years.
(Life Reflections Continued)
Edith and her sister Dorothy Robinson passionately served in many ministries throughout their life, such as organizing the church’s food pantry. She was an active member of the Episcopal Church Women, and the Massachusetts Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians. Edith gifted herself with many Sisters in Christ, to name a few, Mae Nelson, Josephine Mitchell, Albertha Herbert, Rudelle Fenty, Joyce Bailey, and Yasmina Rhodes.
Edith had a steadfast work ethic working several jobs to support her family. She made many international friends working at the Jimmy Fund/Dana Farber, where she worked for many years. When her children asked for things, her response may have been “no” at the time, but she always delivered, finding special enrichment programs for her children to be involved in. She instilled the importance of thinking for oneself, getting a good education, and having a strong work ethic. After retirement, she continued to do volunteer work in the church and community, and she also became the president of Chapter #88 AARP for several years.
Galatians 5:22 (KJV) gives us “The fruit of the Spirit are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness,” Her greatest attribute of all is LOVE. Her love for her father, as “Daddy’s girl”, and selfless mother; the joy of her grands, great grands, and great-great-grandchildren; peacemaker in the family; long-suffering for her loss of so many loved ones too soon; kind and gentle spirit towards all; patience in teaching her family, sharing her wisdom and encouragement with those who care to listen; and faithfulness to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Edith made a great impact on so many lives. Edith was a true humanitarian, attending several rallies supporting the awful working conditions of migrant workers who worked on farms, vineyards, and orchards. She supported many local and international charities. This passion stemmed from her father’s hardship in seeking employment, to support his family when he decided to relocate to Boston. The family fondly remembers her taking time to attend Chinese New Year celebrations and other multicultural events with her.
Edith (Edy,) wore many hats, starting as a loving daughter, sister, mother, sister-in-law, cousin, friend, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great, great-grandmother. She was affectionately referred to as Edy Batson, Edy Sistah, Big Sister, Aunt Edy, Miss Edy, Grandmom and GG, and “Triple G”, but mostly as “Mommy “ by her children and so many relatives and friends. Edith will be remembered for her humor, charm, quick witty comebacks, laughter, love, and kindness. She would proudly beam on the accomplishments of her entire family.