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September 23, 1962 September 9, 19791
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CHARMAINE SERITA VAN PUTTEN
CHARMAINE SERITA, the youngest of two children
born to Eugenie "Claudine" and Larex Van Putten, was born
in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands on September 23, 1962.
She attended All Saints Cathedral School from the
kindergarten through the tenfth grade where she participated
in volleyball, cheerleading and the steelband. A student at
the Toneskolen School of Music, Charmaine played the
piano and the piccolo. She was a member of the choir and an
assistant Sunday school teacher at All Saints.
During the summer of 1978 after completion of the
tenth grade, Charmaine became ill and was admitted to
Auxilio Mutuo Hospital in Puerto Rico. The diagnosis was
Lupus Erythematosus. In August she was transferred to
Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C. for exten-
Following her December discharge from Howard,
Charmaine entered the Immaculate Conception Academy in
January, undaunted by this grave, debilitating an incurable
illness. She completed the eleventh grade .that May and
received honors for scholastic achievement in Spanish and
history. She also placed first in a Spanish poetry competition.
On Monday, September 3, Charmaine was readmitted
to Howard and on September 8, she was placed in the
hospital's intensive care unit for the third time during her
At about 8:45 p.m. on Sunday, September 9, two
weeks short of her seventeenth birthday, dearly beloved
Charmaine passed into eternal life.
We are here today to say our last good-bye to our dearly
departed Charmaine. Our prayers were with her throughout
her illness and now we say one more prayer, that she will
be in heaven with our Savior.
A little more than'one year ago, Charmaine was admit-
ted to Auxillo Mutuo Hospital in Puerto Rico, where it was
discovered that she had an incurable illness. Teams of doctors
worked long and hard'to keep her alive. She helped those
doctors as much as possible especially with her good spirit
and her will 'to go on. Later she was transferred to Howard
University Hospital, in Washington, D.C., where treatment
for her condition was continued. It was a very painful year
for her. Her illness meant a complete upheaval' of her life-
style; a style she never anticipated. Charmaine's condition
did statilize to the point where she was able to live on her
own with only regular doctor visits. She was able to attend
school for the Spring semester where she did very well and
was the recipient of three awards.
An so, as it has always been, the living must deal with
It is natural that in time of death, particularly of some-
one dear to us, we think of its finality; we focus on the
tragedy and the loss. And when death strikes at someone so
young, we wonder at the mockery of fate as we think of all
the things that she might have been.
There is, of course, loss in death. The parents who
brought her to life and lovingly cared for her through her
fragile infancy and nurtured her through her early childhood
to adolescence, lose a daughter. Her sister who grew with her,
played with her laughed with her and often cried with her,
loses a sister. -Grandparents, other relatives, classmates and
friends must miss her warmth and her friendship; must find
it difficult to accept that the ready smile will be seen no
Yes; there is tragedy in death. The grim reapei we call
it; the final arbiter.
Yet our faith teaches us that death is not an end but a
beginning, not a time for mourning but a time to be joyous
and to sing praises. And so as we mourn her loss we can find
comfort in the knowledge that Charmaine has gone to a new
and better life. To a place where there is no sickness or pain
and where death has no place.
Let us smile, then, through our tears and rejoice with
her though yet we grieve, in this her hour of victory; for
she has conquered death.
0 child of God, how peacefully
He calms thy fears to rest.
And draws thee upward, tenderly
Where dwell the pure and blest!
And he who bendeth silently
Above the gloom of night,
Will take thee home, where endless joy
Shall fill thy soul with light.
FELICIA ADAMS BROWNLOW
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie
down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through
the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil: for Thou
art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou
preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely
goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and
I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
"THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF FRIENDSHIP"
Friendship is a Golden Chain,
The links are friends so dear,
And like a rare and precious jewel
It's treasured more each year...
It's clasped together firmly
With a love that's deep and true,
And it's rich with happy memories
And fond recollections, too...
Times can't destroy it's beauty
For as long as memory lives,
Years can't erase the pleasure
That the joy of friendship gives. ..
For friendship is a priceless gift
That can't be bought or sold
But to have an understanding friend
Is worth far more than gold...
And the golden chain of friendship
Is a strong and blessed tie
Binding kindred hearts together
As the years go passing by.
HELEN STEINER RICE, All Saints School
"Charms", you came into our lives on September 23,
62. You gave us love and understanding. You shared your
)rt life of love and understanding with us. We shared many
:asurable memories. "Charms", you're gone but you will
iays be in our thoughts, minds and hearts.
Your strife is o'er. Rest in peace, "Charms".
In Loving Memory of Charmaine
What we have lost is great, and will truly not be forgot-
ten. The spirit of warmth, cheerfulness, and courage which
Charmaine shared with us is an inspiration that we will keep
in our hearts forever. She was an admirable, bold leader as
well as a sensitive individual. Quite a few of us have grown up
with her and have known and loved her as a sister. Charmaine
was always willing to lend a helping hand. We will remember
these, fine qualities which she possessed, and will continue
to learn from them.
Although her journey on earth was short, it brought us
happiness...happiness is what our rememberances will be. We
sympathize with her family, but hope that they will always
allow the happy memories of Charmaine to prevail.
THE CLASS OF '80
All Saints Cathedral School
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN FAITHFUL, O LORD,
LIFE IS NOT ENDED, BUT MERELY CHANGED.
Enrolled By THE MEMBERS OF THE
CLASS OF 1980
September 13, 1979
Though I had known you for a few years, I came to
know you better during your illness. To understand the
nature of the illness which beset you was to know the resi-
lience of your spirit and your valiance.
Your illness has been described as one in which the
body is pitted against itself. What an indescribable challenge.
To treat your disease was to make you so vulnerable that
even the common cold could be life threatening. Vigilance
was the catchword for the scales of your life were precari-
ously balanced. Nevertheless, young fighter, you fought.
You beared with unbearable sorrow and ran where the brave
dared not go.
To say you had no imperfections would be to deny
that you were human. Yet, beyond your frailties, how you
endured during your illness was instructive. You had a lesson
for all of us. We know we must all die for death is inescapable.
(How well you must have know that.) You taught us that we
must fight, no matter how hopeless the odds, no matter how
real, how near how tangible the end no matter what. To
fools it may seem that you lost the battle. To me, and to
others, you won the war to teach men that even when you
can sense the inevitable, life must be lived to the fullest to
the last moment.
My husband Roland and I shall miss you. We shall not
mourn your passing as a loss, however, for you defeated a
relentless illness that sought unsuccessfully to break your
spirit. Neither shall we dwell in sorrow. We know, as you
must now know, that life is eternal and that you are now a
child of that vast, pulsating, mysterious universe.
Despite all the uncertainty, one thing is certain we
shall meet again. Until then, Charmaine fare thee well. We
shall be friends once more.
/. ZrF/e he e
K. Elskoe Roebuck