Eulogy - Michele Adair Perdomo March 5, 1947 – July 21, 2013 Print E-mail
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Thursday, 01 August 2013 00:00

Michele Adair Larronde was born on March 5, 1948 in the small town of Bishop, California to Felix Larronde and Sylvia Mohling Larronde and was the eldest of three children.  When she was only three-years-old Michele contracted the common childhood disease of measles but unfortunately the infection caused complications that led to her developing Type A Diabetes Mellitus and becoming insulin dependent at this tender age.  It was a burden she bore stoically and without complaint throughout her life and that eventually took her from us too soon.

The family moved to New York when Michele was eight and it was there that she completed her primary and secondary education.  It was also in New York that her mother, her brother Michael, her sister Lori and Michele converted to Catholicism, a faith that ran deeply within her soul and gave her much comfort.   It was the framework of her values but though she shared her faith freely, she never sought to impose her beliefs on others.  As a Girl Scout and Sodality member in High School, she was involved in outreach to the poor and this was the beginning of her dedication to being a woman of service to others.

In 1966, Michele went to Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado to study Art Education with the idea of becoming a teacher.  She seriously considered becoming a nun and prayed for guidance.  However, either by coincidence or God’s plan, she met Carlos Perdomo, a young Belizean, who was studying Education at Regis College, a mere 15 miles form Loretto Heights.  On December 20, 1969 they married in Denver and just ten days later, they travelled to Belize to embark on 44 years of married life.

Imagine the courage of that young girl with special health needs leaving her friends and family to start a new life amongst strangers.  But Michele never did things by half and she embraced and loved Belize and Belizeans and that love was fully reciprocated. 

Michele began teaching at SJC just one month after arriving in Belize and remained a fixture of that institution until she retired in 2008, by when she was affectionately known as Mrs. P.  She practically invented professional art education in Belize and one of her past students will speak more on that.

Michele was herself a talented artist, who shared her talents freely both through her teaching and activities such as the annual Carnival Parade.  Maybe some of you here featured in the groups representing a Pack of Cards, the Caribbean Shores Cowgirls, Chinese Lanterns, the Circus and many more.  The costumes were truly works of art, made painstakingly with inexpensive materials, some pain and lots of laughter.  When she retired from SJC, Michele reached out to the prisoners at Kolbe recognising that learning to express themselves through art could be an important part of their road to rehabilitation.
Family was of the utmost importance to Michele and art infused every occasion and celebration.  Birthdays, Advent, Halloween, Easter, Valentines, Sports Days and more were always artistic, special and fun-filled with family members totally involved in the fun.

Michele brought the same dedication to the education of her own children, spending countless hours with them individually coaching and checking homework.  She left only mathematics to Carlos because like many people she found math a challenge.  Maybe our friendship was based on the way we complemented each other.  She was the artist who struggled with math and I am the mathematician who struggles with art. And yes, I have to mention that she was instrumental in bringing Manuel and I together and we celebrated our engagement at her home when she and Carlos lived on Euphrates Avenue.
Most of all, Michele was full of love and the love that shone from her sunny and bubbly  personality was reflected back by the many family, friends and students whose lives she touched.  She was never materialistic but if riches were measured in friendships then she was a millionaire.  The door to Michele’s modest home was always open and she welcomed diplomats and manual labourers with the same easy grace.  Baymen Avenue was a favourite hangout for her children and their friends and later for her grandchildren.  Michele’s mother spent her final months being cherished and cared for at Baymen Avenue.  Students seeking additional help or just an adult to confide in would drop by; there were regular appointments for young couples preparing themselves to marry through Marriage Encounter; young mothers sought her out to learn the secrets of successful breastfeeding; fellow Christians gathered for Bible study sessions and friends would always find a cup of tea and lively conversation.

Above all, Michele loved her family.  She has seen her children, Sylvia, Damian, Joaquin, Joshua and Adriana, grow to be young adults with their own families.  She has experienced the joy of five beautiful grandchildren and a deep and abiding love for her husband through all the ups and downs of 44 years of marriage.   Now she has left the family and country that she loved.  Always thinking of others, she eased their final decisions by making her wishes absolutely clear.  Michele was tired and though her spirit never faltered her body could not continue.  Michele, you have escaped your bodily cage and like one of your favourite little parrots, you are now free to fly.