Regina Sylvestia Israel Benjamin Victor was born to Hercules Buddy Israel and his wife Rosenice, nee Jules, of Portsmouth, Commonwealth of Dominica. She was the third of their five children.
Regina was baptized in the St. John’s Catholic Church in Portsmouth and subsequently completed all of her sacraments and education at the St. John’s Parish school. She was a member of the choir, a member of the society of “the Children of Mary” as well as a member of the Women’s Institute.
She apprenticed as a seamstress and upon mastery of her trade she became an entrepreneur, opening her business as a seamstress and hat maker in the community. She not only serviced the immediate community but various neighboring villages and towns. Regina travelled to Antigua to further study embroidery stitching and other artistic designs on the sewing machine. She returned to Dominica where she practiced her skills as she wowed her numerous customers sewing elaborate wedding dresses, covering shoes and handbags with laced materials. Regina was generous enough to allow young ladies to train and apprentice under her guidance as a seamstress. They will miss her.
In 1970 she then re-located to New York where she lived and worked with Dr. Rubin for over twenty years and with the Association for the Aged in Brooklyn for over ten years until retirement in 1995. She worked tirelessly at two jobs and saved all she earned in order to purchase her house in Brooklyn where she made a home for her family.
When her daughter Paulina moved to Florida she would spend the Winter months with her, however upon the passing of her son Cuthbert, Regina went to live with her daughter, Paulina, in Florida.
Wherever Regina went she cultivated great lifelong friendships. She was usually characterized as “’sweet Regina’, ‘loving’ and ‘caring’”. She was also known as the “card lady” because she never missed the opportunity to share greetings during occasions such as birthdays.
Family and friends were very important to Regina and during the holidays her home was the focal gathering point where all met for food, fun and fellowship. She was known to invite the homeless to join in for a meal.
Regina was very spiritual, religious and active in her parish wherever she lived. She led the rosary before morning Mass everyday for many years at her parish of Holy Innocents in Brooklyn. She was also an active member of the Legion of Mary, where she held the position of President, as well as other positions at various periods. She visited and brought the Eucharist to the sick and shut-ins in their homes, hospital and nursing home.
She was an avid rosary maker and would distribute them in every church she attended or wherever she went. She was always evangelizing to “Jesus through Mary” with her rosary. Many people came from afar to receive large quantities of rosaries to be shipped to the Caribbean or to take with them while travelling home.
Regina had four children, three of whom preceded her in death, namely: Peter, Cuthbert and Beverly.
Regina is survived by her daughter, Paulina (Stephen) Allen, grandchildren: Andrew (Clotilde) Tavernier, Bridgette (Ryan) Meade, Ronald (Ameeka) Valentine, Hector Tavernier, Sylvester (Nandia) Benjamin, Steve Patrick Allen, Curtis Tavernier, and Brittany (Bernard) Stewart. Great grandchildren: Juwuan, Darius, Ceion, Paul, Amber, Khalid, Abigail, Brianna, Amelia, Mia, Brian, Zahira, David, and Daniel, nieces, nephews, cousins and numerous friends.
We knew that she was enduring some pain, but like a stoic, she bore it with Christian fortitude. She never complained, never groaned, just prayed the Apostle’s Creed constantly.
Fare thee well, dear Regina. Though you have left us, we will ever remember you; we will never forget you. May Choirs of Angels welcome you, and may Him whom you so sincerely loved receive you at His heavenly throne. Farewell.
A Celebration of Life Visitation will take place on Friday, March 6, 2020 from 6:00 P.M.-9:00 P.M. and on Saturday, March 7, 2020 from 10:00 A.M-10:45 A.M.,at Serenity Funeral Home and Cremation, 1450 South State Road 7, North Lauderdale, Florida 33068.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 11:00 A.M. at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, located next to the funeral home.
Entombment will follow immediately after the Mass at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, next door to the Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the American Heart Association would be appreciated: www2.heart.org