"God have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy."
Nita Liverta Gittens Payne was born on December 13, 1933 in Barbados, West Indies to Adalia Gittens and Cyril Gill. She grew up on Mayer’s Road, My Lord’s Hill, St. Michael with her sister Marjorie and their mother, Adalia , affectionately known to everyone as NinNin. Nita and Marjorie attended St. Giles Girls School, where, Nita wrote, they “obtained a first-class education.” Nita married Charles Payne in 1959 and in 1960 she emigrated to join her husband in the United States where he had settled one year prior. Charles and Nita lived in Cambridge, MA for approximately five years and later moved to Dorchester, where they purchased two homes.
Nita was a dedicated wife and mother. She enjoyed being a part of a robust family that included in-laws, nieces and nephews and many family gatherings, picnics and parties. Nita enjoyed sewing and made wonderful clothes for her children. She had a special knack for making fabulous Easter outfits for her daughters. Nita took care of her family while working a variety of full-time jobs. While Nita took jobs to earn a living, she eventually landed a position that would become a labor of love when she became a nurse’s aide at Tufts New England medical Center in Boston, MA. Nita loved her job, finding it interesting and fulfilling. Nita worked at Tufts until she retired.
Both Charles and Nita believed in the power of education. To that end, they made sure that their children attended the best elementary, high-school, college and post graduate schools possible. While Nita wanted the best education for her children, she also wanted to excel academically. She gave herself a challenge which was to get her GED before Grantley, her youngest son, graduated from high school. To meet this challenge and to expand her horizons, Nita enrolled in Roxbury Community College in Roxbury, MA where she earned her GED in June 1990. Nita excelled academically and was honored to be the class valedictorian. Nita also took classes at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Nita was a dedicated Sunday school teacher at St. Cyprians Church during her tenure there. Nita, who volunteered to work with senior citizens at Kit Clark Senior Services, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from then Boston Mayor Menino on December 20, 2002 in recognition of her Outstanding Service to the Citizens of the City of Boston.
Nita was an artist who enjoyed quilting, collecting knick knacks - especially her beloved elephants – and writing. While she may never have declared herself to be one, Nita was definitely a gifted artist who made many wonderful items for her family and friends. Nita made her children quilts of their lives and she made one for her and her beloved husband. These quilts are beautiful, and intricate with a lot of embroidery. But perhaps the most artistic thing about these quilts is the thinking behind them. Her imagination was on fire and she designed and created quilts that make you go, “Hmmmm.” Nita was also a wonderful writer, although many people probably don’t know that. She was reluctant to share her writing. However, it’s wonderful to note that she finally relented and agreed to share her writings just recently.
Nita was a praying woman and she began her nightly prayers with the following: God have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy. We know that as she continues her journey with God, Nita is praying for her loved ones still on Earth. Nita leaves behind her children: Leslie, Cicely, Andrea, Charles, Jr., Cheryl and Grantley; her nieces Maureen, Marcia, Robena, Iola, Alisa, Ursula, and Jennifer, and her nephews Rodney, Ralph, Reginald, Jr., Mark, Jamyll, Alvin Jr., Oscar, and Michael as well as a host of grand nieces and nephews. Nita was predeceased by her beloved husband, Charles Payne, her parents, Adalia Gittens and Cyril Gill, her sister Marjorie Gittens and her nephew Ronald Gittens.
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