CYNTHIA THE SMILER
Cynthia Thomas Stovell was born the eldest of three children to Alfred Thomas and Marie Thomas (Nee Drew). Her early school days were spent at Louisa Simmons Nursery and the well known Central School. Cynthia describes herself as not being a very aggressive person, however one would not hesitate to think of her in these terms, as she immediately greets someone with a glowing smile and a very positive, friendly attitude. She had little difficulty in talking about her childhood days. Cynthia classed her parents as strong disciplinarians, and she did not hesitate to move when her mother spoke. She reveled that her nickname was 6.00 clock given to her because that was her evening curfew. One thing that stayed with her throughout her early years was her mother’s gray coat she could see her coming a mile off and when she saw that coat it was time to move no matter where she was or what occasion. Her father was one of four children and her mother one of nine they each vowed they would not have a large family.
Although Cynthia was not outgoing, she still became involved in Community life in her early years. She sang with Nellie Swan’s group and in the St. Monica’s Church Junior Choir. In the group she sang with such personalities as Gray Burgess who went on to become a world class Opera Singer, Eugene “Rubberneck” Ming who went on to sing with the Holiday Island Review Singers, Renee Maybury (Nee Brown) Phyllis Robinson (Nee Wilson) Edwin Wilson who became one of Bermuda’s most notable Civil service persons and top Arbitrator and Eugene Pearman a parliamentarian among others.
As a young girl she paid many a visit to the Government Gate area where her grandparents resided Mr. and Mrs. Drew were well liked people in the area. She remembers her grandfather as a peacemaker and her grandmother as a stylish person and lover of horses, she always travelled to church in a horse and carriage wearing high button boots and carrying an umbrella as part of her attire.
Her family grannies family were stanch Anglicans and attended St. Augustine’s Church. Cynthia attended St. Monica’s Sunday School during the morning, she like most Villages attended other Sunday Schools during the afternoon. She felt being groomed in the Anglican Church it was unlikely she would follow any other religion.
Her high school days were spent at Howard Academy, her first choice of careers was hotel work, but her father did not encourage the profession. She then thought about broadcasting, but at that time there was very little opportunity in that area. This left her the choice of teaching or nursing. She tried the teaching but that didn’t fit her ideals so she went on to her final choice nursing. Cynthia left Bermuda in March 1959, travelling to England with high hopes and determination. This was an earth shattering experience for her, this was her first time away from her family. She settled in and stood the test, upon graduation she returned home with a nursing degree under her belt.
Her first job was at the St. Brendan’s Hospital for the mentally disturbed, before obtaining a position at the Ministry of Health Clinic, where she specialized in sexually transmitted diseases, this required her to keep her perspective and not become emotionally involved with her patients. She admitted at times it was not easy.
Cynthia met and married Quinton Stovell, upon joining the Hy Y-Glee club and of that union are two sons Quinton Jr. and Curtis. Although a stanch Anglican, she swallowed her pride and followed her husband’s A.M.E. religion. She held several positions at the church and put her whole self into her work.
She was awarded with the Harry Soars Trophy ‘The Nurse of the Year’ in 1986, Auxiliaries: Executive Bermuda Registered Nurses Association, Senior Usher Board St. Paul A.M.E. Co. Director for Junior Usher Board, Sunday Nursery School Teacher, Missionary Board St. Paul. This mild mannered lady still energic at heart after retiring cared for her mother and also close church friend. She has her challenges but she enjoyed the fruits of her labour, her job and church. She held the reigns tightly with vim, vigor and vitality for that is the type of person she was groomed to be and will always be remembered as ‘The Lady In White.”