- Faith & Family
On September 14, Fannett Clark Lyons will celebrate her 99th birthday with family and friends. She believes her faith in God is the reason she has lived a long life.
The Miami Gardens-native has endured through poverty, racism, segregation, the lost of love ones and countless other obstacles because of her love for God.
Through it all she has remained outgoing, encouraging, knowledgeable and warm-hearted.
Lyons was born in 1913 in Overtown to Bahamian parents, Burke and Mary Smith. After her father’ s early death, Lyons, the oldest of six siblings, quit high school to work and help her mother raise her siblings.
She remembers working an entire day for $1.
“Everybody was so poor,” she said. “We didn’t even have food, but before the day was over, something came our way. We made it.”
Lyons is the mother of four, Leonard Clark, Rosemary Clark Bethel, Franklin Clark and Marvin Clark, who is now deceased. She has 13 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandchild.
One of her proudest moments was joining Mount Hermon A.M.E. Church in 1959.
Last week, she was honored for being a church pioneer.
Although her health hasn’t allowed her to be as active as she would like to be, she used to be very active in the church. She was a part of choir #3, she was a deaconess and a stewardess.
She used to love to dance and cook. Today, she enjoys watching “Dancing with the Stars” and cheering on the Miami Heat and Miami Dolphins.
This year, she stayed up late to watch the Heat win the NBA finals and the championship game.
Just as she did for the Democratic National Convention.
Richard Clark, her son, believes that since she has worked so hard and has such a strong faith, God has rewarded her a long life.
“She has an abiding faith in God and she shares it with her family,” he said. “It’s something we get from her.”
He said having a relationship with God is important to all members of their family.
“My mom took care of us and brought us all a long way, so now our family wants to do the same for her,” Clark said.
Even though Lyons’ partial vision loss has made it difficult for her to read her Bible; she still tries her best to read it from time to time. She prays and hears God talking to her all the time.
She said every morning God tells her “I woke you up again and have blessed you; you and your family.”
By Malika A. Wright