Nassau, Bahamas – In a somber ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral, the nation bade farewell to Her Excellency, Mrs Beryl Hanna, on Friday.
Her husband, the Governor-General, His Excellency Arthur D Hanna and Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Hubert A Ingraham led official mourners.
Chief celebrant at the two-hour ceremony was the Rt Rev Laish Z Boyd, Anglican Diocesan Bishop. Con-celebrants were Assistant Bishops the Most Rev Drexel W Gomez, the Rt Rev Gilbert A Thompson, and St Matthew’s Parish rector the Rev Dr James B Moultrie.
Mrs Hanna’s body was laid in a mahogany coffin, draped in national colors and carried on a catafalque by official pallbearers.
A party of Police and Defence Force officers led the solemn procession from Government House to Christ Church, and then onto St Matthew’s Cemetery for interment.
Also paying respects were parliamentarians, senators, religious leaders, public officers and representative of the uniformed branches including the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Immigration, Road Traffic and Her Majesty’s Prison.
Prime Minister Ingraham hailed Mrs Hanna as “a woman of strong ambitions and passion for her country.”
“She was a remarkable woman and so on behalf of the political party that I serve and the Bahamian people, I express my sincerest condolences.”
Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Perry G Christie said Mrs Hanna distinguished herself as an “activist extraordinaire.”
“She was a patriot and major contributor to the development of our country,” he said. “This was a woman of high purpose and high ideals who dedicated herself to the political struggles of the country.”
Mrs Beryl Hanna, nee Church, was born on October 12, l932 in Bristol, England to Reginald and Emma Church.
She died on Thursday, November 4 at the Princess Margaret Hospital. She was 77 years.
She is survived by her husband, the Governor-General, and her children Arthur Dion, Jr, Mark, Glenys, and Dawn. Another son, Sean, predeceased her.
In l948, she met husband-to-be Arthur Dion Hanna, who was a law student at Bristol University. They were married in l950.
After several stints in the corporate world, Mrs Hanna managed her husband’s law firm and immersed herself in the struggle for universal suffrage.
She organized her husband’s political campaigns and was a leading figure in the Progressive Liberal Party’s Women Branch.
Mrs Hanna headed several organizations including The Bahamas Red Cross Society and the Crippled Children’s Committee.
She chaired the International Year of the Child in 1979.
She was the Chairperson of The Bahamas Committee in South Africa and instrumental in educating Bahamians on the issue of Apartheid in South Africa.
She lobbied the Bahamian Government to strengthen its efforts to end the apartheid regime in that country.