OBITUARY

Melida Teresa Hibbert

August 16, 1943February 1, 2021

Melida Teresa Hibbert was the eldest daughter of Vernon Rockett and Beatrice Harker born on August 16, 1943 in Colon, Republic of Panama. She entered eternal rest on February 1, 2021. Melida and her siblings, Vernon (d), Ernesto (d), Carlos (d), Martha (Lucia), Elsa, and Esteban grew up on 6th street in a small, close knit community. As a child, Melida attended Paraguay School. After the death of her mother in 1954, Melida, along with older brother, Vernon, helped to care for their younger brothers and sisters. During this time, her aunt and fraternal twin to her mother, Louisa Harker (Loney), would become their mother figure for the remainder of their lives. While times were difficult, Melida and siblings forged a deep bond that extended to their immediate cousins (Enrique, Yvonne, Thelma, Eric, Judy, and Bobby (d)). Led by their matriarch, Tia Lou, the family would take care of each other throughout their journey in life.

In high school, she attended Colegio Abel Bravo where she enjoyed playing cymbals in the marching band. From when she was young, Melida always liked to dress up and look her best. It was that look that caught the eye of a young teenaged-boy, George Hibbert, while attending Sunday School at Christ Church by the Sea. George and Melida dated while in high school. In 1964, Melida had the opportunity to come to the United States. Her brother, Vernon, sponsored her VISA and thus began a new life in Brooklyn, NYC. In those days, newly immigrated residents would build community, support each other, and look for opportunities to help other family members back in Panama. Melida enrolled in business school and began working at the American Cancer Society. Though Melida was building a life in the US, she missed George and longed to be together. After he completed his apprenticeship program, George and Melida married on August 3, 1968 in Panama. After the wedding, the couple returned to the United States to begin their life together.

Life in Brooklyn was grand. Family gatherings and outings with extended family were the highlights of her time. Melida worked at Wescar Freight Systems starting as a data entry clerk and rising to the Assistant Credit Manager. After the birth of their two children, Lawrence (1972) and Taifa (1977), George and Melida decided to move their family to Plainfield, NJ and raise their children down the street from family members (The Rocketts and Watsons) that had moved to the area years earlier. It was in NJ that they added lifelong friends to their village. It was typical to see kids in the neighborhood running in and out of homes, raiding refrigerators and cabinets, and playing in the backyard and on the street. Melida was quick to serve lunch and care for all the kids in the neighborhood. Affectionately known at Tia or Auntie Mel, her love knew no boundaries and was firmly rooted in her love for the Lord. She and George raised their kids in the Church and taught them to worship God. Melida was active in her children's endeavors, while commuting for work back and forth to NYC and Brooklyn for 15 years. In 1992, Melida would transition to working in NJ at The Hospital Center at Orange, Essex Valley Visiting Nurses Association, and JFK Hospital. Those jobs epitomized Melida's character for helping and serving others. She led teams in providing charity care for those in need of medical assistance without the means to pay for it. To her staff, she was a demanding but loving supervisor who believed in treating people the right way and being accountable for your work. With her every present sense of style, Melida loved family gatherings and holidays, events, and mentoring young ladies in her life. She also was an amazing cook and enjoyed attending Bible Study and Weight Watchers.

After remaining in Plainfield for 27 years, George and Melida retired to Dallas, Georgia and began a new life near the Rocketts and the Watsons that had retired there years earlier. In the greater Atlanta area, she built new friends and participated in ministry at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. She enjoyed a season of

attending shows, events, and some travel while actively participating in the lives of her bonus grandchildren (William and Noah) in Georgia. Melida and George would frequently visit the Northeast to spend time with her grandchildren (Caleb, Joshua, Kadence, and Nadia). In 2014, Melida was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Her husband, George, children, and family members supported her needs and showing her a portion of the love that she gave to so many people. During that season, she was loved and cared for by her husband and then eventually by caregivers at Cadence Marietta and Manor Lake Memory Care Center. While her body declined, her spirit never did. She loved her children immensely and was proud that her legacy will live on in them. Powered by the Lord and the Holy Spirit, she bravely and courageously fought this disease to the end while maintaining the grace, kindness, and love that embodied her life.

Melida leaves to cherish her memories, her husband, George, of 53 years; her son, Lawrence Hibbert (Patrell); her daughter Taifa Simpson (Brent); her grandchildren, Caleb, Joshua, Kadence, and Nadia; her sisters, Martha Shoy (Oliver), Elsa McKenzie (Roberto); her brother, Esteban Alejandro Rockett; her sisters-in-law, Flora Lowe-Rocket (Vernon-d), Aurelia Collins (Armando-d); her brother-in-law, Guillermo Hibbert (Verna); her cousins, Enrique Loney (Delia), Yvonne Duncan-Rosheck, Thelma Vigil (Loucho), Eric Fowler, Judy Watson (Kenneth); sisters-in-love, Dora Heath-Watson; niece, Veronica Wilkinson (William), and other countless nieces, nephews, friends, and caregivers.

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

Melida Teresa Hibbert

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Flora Lowe-Rockett

February 11, 2021

I met Melida in 1965 when I moved from Niagara Falls to the Bronx. She was working at the American Cancer Society when I began working there. She was a keypunch operator and I was hired as the secretary. About six months later, I met her brother, Vernon. Our entire group at American Cancer and friends of my then brother-in-law, Glen Watson, begin to hang out every weekend. After meeting her brother, and going out with him a few time, we became an item.

One year after meeting Vern (Vernon), we were married, and Melida was my maid of honor. We had a great relationship. We always lived near each other and raised our children close together.

Vern and I moved to Brooklyn in 1969, and Melida and George moved near us in Brooklyn. In 1976 we moved to New Jersey and the Hibberts followed shortly after. We lived only a block apart. We went to the same church and the children went to the same schools. She and I also did Weight Watchers together; first as members and then as employees or staff.

In September 2004, Vern and I moved to Georgia, and as usual, the Melida and George followed. Melida and George were a great support for us because 4+ years earlier, Vern had a major sickness that left him unable to use his legs and the right side of his body. Their support was invaluable. Their willingness to help and support to us made our lives bearable during a very difficult time.

I would like to give my condolences to my family as we all mourn the loss of my sister. We are both happy and sad at the same time. Sad for us, but. happy for Melida. She is safe with her parents and three brothers; one of which is my beloved husband. I'm sure she was welcomed with open arms by all. She is in a better place now. She is no longer trapped in a body that she can no longer control. To God be the Glory!

I love you Melida and I miss you greatly!

Love,
Flora Deane Lowe-Rockett
Your sister-in-law

Brent Simpson

February 9, 2021

A Love letter for Mrs. Hibbert,
When I met your daughter, I met a reincarnated version of you, but I had yet to meet you. She unconsciously taught me the lessons you embedded in her at an early age. She looked at me with a sparkle in her eyes that she unknowingly learned from watching you share loving glance with Mr. Hibbert. With each glance, I learned more about the women who raised her and with each glance, I fell deeper in love with the reincarnated version of you. To all beware, that glance can quickly morph into warning, telling all onlookers I’m not in a mood to play. Such quite strength is to be revered.

When she cooked for me, the recipes were yours. Passed down with love and patient instruction, not for tinkering. And when I saw her dance with full command of a room, I would later find out that too was a gift she received from you. Anyone who has seen Melida Hibbert dance knows she demanded the attention of the room, but never asked for it. It just came! You two share that magic and so much more. Control and discipline of a queen are additional hidden treasures shared.

Then the day came and I met you. I would have given you Tia status at best, because you looked too young to be her mother. You looked too young to be anyone’s mother. I went home called me friend (Chris) and said, “we are a go, I met her mother and if that is the future…I’m in”. The more phone calls, visits, and family events we shared the more I came to know the awesome depth of your inner beauty. You knew how to be a Mother, friend, family member, and WIFE. All of the lessons conscious and unconscious benefit my family EVERY DAY, because my wife, Taifa Simpson, is a reincarnated version of Melida Hibebrt and I would not have it any other way.

I have the LOVE of My LIFE, because you taught her what it means to be a “successful wife” and I will Always be in love with you for that.

Your Son,
Brent Simpson

Venita Forde

February 9, 2021

Melida and I met 15 years ago when we introduced ourselves as neighbors, but she was not only our neighbor she quickly became our friend. Mel was a very friendly person with a very friendly personality which made it easy for us to become friends Mel was a pleasant and caring person to all those she came in contact with. We shared a friendship fill with travel, dinners, and becoming part of each other's family. Mel love getting out and going into the stores which was our favorite pass time, Rest in peace friend.

Our heartfelt condolences goes out to George, Larry, Taiwan and family.

Aurelia Laird

February 8, 2021

I share many memories of when we lived in Brooklyn , N.Y., we were both pregnant with our daughters at the same time and shared our experiences just about daily until their arrival.
But surely missed her visits with George to Maryland. We would get together just about every time they came reminisce about past times, enjoy each other’s company along with our children when possible and create new memories which I will carry forever in my heart.
Rest In Peace my friend .

Noralee Smith

February 8, 2021

Our deepest condolences to George, Larry, and Tafia. Melida was one of the sweetest people I knew at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. She will truly be missed and you will always be in my thoughts and prayers.

- Noralee & The Smith Family

Valencia Goodings

February 7, 2021

In many instances memories come into being without conscious effort. These memories are a result of first impressions, random acts of kindness and thoughts and behaviors that given over time become memories you treasure and last a lifetime. That is my memory of Melida. For me she will be characterized by her classy sense of style and benevolence leaving fond memories of timeless treasures from her heart. Rest in Peace my friend. "The Saints of Angels are singing on your homecoming day"

George, Larry and Tafia our sincere condolences on your loss and thank you for sharing your beloved wife and mother with us.

Alex and Valencia

Lorenzo and Olivia Jones

February 6, 2021

Angels rejoice as a good soul has made her way home. It was indeed a pleasure meeting Melida some 20 years ago when Larry and Patrell got engaged. We were delighted to learn that our daughter’s future in-laws were from Panamá as well. Mel’s unforgettable sweet demeanor, dedication to family and especially the love she had for her grandchildren will always be admired. “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, but love leaves memories no one can steal”. Our sincere sympathy to the Hibbert family with much love.

Ethel Parker

February 6, 2021

My Beloved Mel,

I will always remember the good times we shared as mothers, friends, and neighbors living next door to each other in Plainfield, NJ. Now as I look at your former residence, thoughts come back to me as we taught summer school to our children. Those memories will always remain in my heart. The delicious food, cookouts, telephone calls, weight watchers, churches and other gatherings we shares were so special to me. The long talks we shared about our children, employment and childhood dreams are deeply embeded in my heart. RIP my friend.

Al & Yvette Williams

February 5, 2021

We only had the pleasure of meeting Mrs Hibbert a few times but her grace and elegance always stood out. Our heart is with the family and we offer our deepest condolences.

Joseph Campagna

February 5, 2021

Lawrence , my condolences to you and your entire extended family. I remember your mother from CYO and boy scout days at the Rocket’s. Always graceful and pleasant. I’ve enjoyed all the tributes you’ve posted over the years regarding her as well.
With Deepest Sympathy,
Joe Campagna

FROM THE FAMILY