Today, the last day of January, we bid farewell to a "Rock" of San Pedro, a foundation that was established and which has left a lot of roots, branches and leaves so that her memory keeps on living in San Pedro and in our hearts.
Mrs. Vilma Forman was born on January 30, 1931 and was called by her Lord exactly on the day of her birth at the age of 66. She was born in San Pedro of humble parents, Martha and Allan Forman, better known as the famous musician and fisherman, Mr. Jek.
Her marriage with Mr. Francisco Arceo gave light to 12 children - Tabito, Panny, Neria, Mercie, Shelly, Omar, Martha, Susana, Lisa, Vicky, Patty and Elito Arceo. They are all children that she brought up in the spirit of community service and love for San Pedro. Vilma lived all her life in the service of this community which she loved and defended with mind, words and heart. She died young, but she lived plenty because there was not a single day that she did not spend planning something for her beloved San Pedro and her church. All of San Pedro will mourn her loss because in one way or another she touched our lives.
If it meant praying at the novenas, Mrs. Vilma was always there. And her presence at the processions never failed. For Christmas, who enlivened the "Posadas" with her songs or the nativity acts at the church more than Doña Vilma and her choir? Which person sang more to the Quinceaneras (girls celebrating their 15th birthday), than Mrs. Vilma and her choir? And which woman sang more songs to the brides and grooms as they marched up and down the aisle?
When it came to helping the San Pedro Primary School in various functions, it was to Mrs. Vilma that teachers always referred to for assistance in organizing the Living Rosaries as well as the First Holy Communion and the Confirmation Rites. And every year, without failure, Mrs. Vilma gave herself to the children of San Pedro writing their songs for Carnival, looking for their music, and accompanying them for three days throughout the streets of San Pedro for the festivities and at the end of these events Mrs. Vilma would say "Half of the funds for the school and half for the church." Just this year a few weeks ago she told Mrs. Lanza, the school principal, that she had all the songs ready for carnival.
It was with Carnival funds and fairs and sales and donations that Mrs. Vilma and her committee were able to construct a new Catholic Church in San Pablo. She also put in her little grain of sand, her pride, her energy and her goodwill. We will all miss Mrs. Vilma when the festivities of St. Peter's Day come about for she organized the mass, the fireworks, the breakfast and the skiff procession. And we will similarly miss her dearly when it is time to celebrate and pay homage to the Mexican Virgin, the Virgin of Guadalupe.
It will not only be her splendid voice but her presence as well, her optimism, her spirit and enthusiasm in participating in these religious acts that we will miss. However, Mrs. Vilma's presence did not end there. When it comes to the singing of the national Anthem for any patriotic event, Mrs. Vilma was happily willing and ready. On the first day of the Sea & Air Festival, the Mexican Night, there was no one on the Program to pay tribute to Belize with the National Anthem. The master of ceremonies did not know where Mrs. Vilma was, but he knew that she was some where in the festival show grounds. And within seconds, Vilma and Martita were on stage to inaugurate the festival. And do you remember those splendid "Manañitas" to celebrate the happy birthdays? Who led the singing? Who added liveliness to these parties? It was always Mrs. Vilma. At all the graduations, especially the high school graduations, once again Mrs. Vilma and her choir were always there.
To conclude we can say that Mrs. Vilma gave her life to her community and to her church. She raised an exemplary family and was always willing to open the doors of her home to other relatives whom she raised and who grew to love her as a mother. The sorrow of her farewell is not only one to her leaving us, but because of the great loss that San Pedro will suffer. San Pedro needs other Rocks, others who will continue traditions and culture that this woman so ably did. Her life serves us as an example, and it is hoped that there will be others to carry on her great works.
Goodbye good woman - beloved mother, a gentle daughter, sister and aunt. Goodby beloved grandmother. Goodbye dear friend and Rock of San Pedro. Rest in peace in the hands of God.