Counting down to the century mark, corks popped, food was in abundance and a well-decorated cake captured the warm, sweet atmosphere as Westmoreland pastor Ida Maria Palmer-Wray, marked the milestone of 90 years on earth recently in the company of family and friends.
The birthday celebration took place on Saturday, September 29, at the Sweet Windsor Banquet Hall in Westmoreland.
Up to four generations of family members and scores of close friends graced her with love, adoration, respect, and praise. Among the loved ones were Conrad “Tim” Palmer and Roy Lawson, two of whom she raised as children who both shared fond, emotional memories of their time living with her.
Pastor Palmer-Wray was born in Santa Clara, Cuba, to parents Alicia Francia (Mama Alice) and David Palmer. The family later emigrated to Jamaica with her five other siblings.
Pastor Wray recalled many floggings in school because of the language barrier. She was answering the teachers in Spanish because she did not understand the English language at the time. However, she later mastered the language and became a successful businesswoman and pastor.
Today, at 90, she is still a dynamic preacher, with a striving congregation of over 600 members in Beeston Spring, Westmoreland. She is very close to her only living sibling, John Alfred Palmer, aged 87, who resides in Darliston, Westmoreland with his wife Betty, aged 81.
The Palmer family is a close-knitted bunch, members of which embrace the mantra that life is a gift worth celebrating.