Lenore Gertrude Briggs, née Mitchell, and known to many as simply Mom, passed away at her home in Phoenix, Arizona on April 11th 2015. She is survived by six children Meredith, Ross, André, Meryl, Andrea, and Anthony, as well as her sisters, Sybil, Cynthia, Olivia, and Nerissa, her brothers, Ron, Raphael, Desmond, Martin and Anthony, along with nine grandchildren including, Francine, Cindy, Andrew, Faye, Myles, Loren, Spencer, Noor and Tess. She was also great-grandmother to Chelsea, Brooke, Luis, Mia, Anafay, and Noah.
Lenore died after a long illness with dementia. She was born on the Caribbean island of Grenada, on April 4th 1928, and immigrated to the United States over fifty years ago. She was married twice, first to Horatio Whiteman and then to Carlyle Briggs. In the USA as well as Grenada she dedicated herself to her lifelong passion of educating young children, ultimately founding her own Montessori school in Brooklyn, New York. Her school still exists today and is being run by her son Anthony Briggs.
Lenore was well-loved by relatives, and members of the community whose children attended her school. She was known for her indomitable spirit, sense of adventure, and big heart. Over the years she welcomed scores of young “strangers” into her home, “strangers” who had no place to live, who ended up becoming “brothers” and “sisters” to her own children. She was driven and determined, pushing her children to do the same. She often threatened them with the “hammer of death” – her fist, if they did not comply with her lofty goals and ideals. Of course, the hammer never ever descended!
Lenore also loved to sing and tell stories, and even into the late stages of her dementia would hum tunes known and unknown. Her diminished state of mind simply produced music, stories, and interests of a different sort – atonal musical gems, profound discussions around the subject of Mr Him and Mrs Her, a fascination with the fabric of the clothing on the person standing closest to her, and a lifelong need to have her head scratched. All in all a life filled with curiosity, interest, and adventure to the very end.
A memorial service will be held for Lenore Briggs on Friday, April 17th, 2015 at 6 p.m. at the Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of you! May all of you find comfort in the wonderful memories you have to share and in knowing that she is in a much better place, happy and free of the pain and suffering. The memories are everlasting.
Someone so special can never be forgotten, RIP Mom.
I know your heart is feeling heavy. My hope and prayer for all of you is that each day your hearts will feel lighter and lighter from the loss you are feeling, until one day only sweet memories remain to comfort you.
You will always have a special place in my heart.
Love you . Rip.
Thank you for the memories of my second grade class at St. Theresa’s of Avila (1967-68).
I don’t know who I was afraid of more, my mom or you threatening to write her a note about my talking too much.
My condolences and prayers to your family. God be with you.
Auntie Sybil and entire family of Mother Lenore first and foremost my humble apologies for not being more persistant in reaching you all at first whisper to me to contact you a couple of weeks ago. I have lost all numbers. Mine is 4807483561. I love you all and rest assured she is not only singing…she is dancing and singing
On behalf of my daughter & I , please accept our condolences. We were here reminiscing about her childhood and one that came to mind was Lefferts Montessori on Rogers Ave, Bklyn. It was her favorite school. Mrs. Briggs was like a mother to all the kids. As for me (a mom ) I knew that my daughter was safe when I left her under the supervision of Mrs. Briggs. You all have lost a mom, sister, auntie etc. but I believe that Mom Briggs has become an angel finally and is watching over you. May you draw strength from the great things she has done and the lives she has blessed and touched. Imani & Mom