Pure, genuine, beautiful, caring were among the words used to describe Kathryn Stollmeyer Wight, who died on Thursday.
She had hereditary pulmonary fibrosis and had been given two years to live five years ago.
Her daughter Sophie Wight announced her passing in a post on Facebook, saying she has transitioned on.
“This amazing woman, this kind soul, this inspiration. She brought so much beauty and purpose into this world, and now she has left it. We are heartbroken, but we are grateful, because we knew her.”
Speaking to Newsday via WhatsApp, Wight said Kathryn was fiercely protective and supportive of her family.
“When she was in your corner, she was really in it. People flocked to her for a number of reasons but they all left with a long-lasting impression because in a world of fakers, smoke & mirrors, posers and clout-chasers she was rooted in being genuine.”
She leaves behind her husband Gregory, daughters Sophie and Ada Kate, son Jeffrey Hugh, and granddaughter Sloane.
Stollmeyer Wight was born in Bourg Mulatress in Lower Santa Cruz in 1956, the only daughter of renowned West Indies cricketer Jeffrey Stollmeyer. He was shot and killed in a home invasion with his wife Sarah in 1990.
She attended the Dunross Preparatory School, and Bishop Anstey Junior and Senior schools in Port of Spain. She moved to Canada but did not complete her studies there.
She moved back to TT and became an assistant teacher at a Montessori school in Maraval. One of the parents at the school worked at BWIA (now Caribbean Airlines) and told her she could travel the world and indulge her love of art.
She joined BWIA in 1976 and worked there for 18 years, leaving in 1994. She ran a mentoring service out of her home and opened it up to people who wanted to use it for video and photoshoots.
Stollmeyer Wight assisted with and advocated for many charities, including Kids In Need of Direction, Habitat for Humanity and Women of the Soil. She raised funds & packed school bags with supplies every year for those who couldn't afford it.
She was well-known for her support of Judah Lovell, who was badly burned in a bamboo bursting incident in 2009. She assisted in raising funds towards his surgeries and contributed to the forming of a network to assist his family, initally Judah's Journey, which later evolvedd into Pay It Forward for Judah.
She was also part of the election team for Nicole Dyer-Griffith, working as her campaign manager.
Many people, while not knowing her personally, would have interacted with her on Facebook, where she posted regularly on topics ranging from politics to patriotism to injustices in the society. Others who knew her in person said she was always willing to help those in need and offer encouragement to those who needed it.
Patricia Bissessar, who runs the Angelo Bissessarsingh Virtual Museum of TT (ABVMOTT) Facebook page, said Stollmeyer Wight was a family friend, loyal supporter and foundation member of the page.
“The Bissessarsingh family cannot express the sadness we feel at this time. Not many people can be described as being both awe-inspiring and entirely approachable but this was the remarkable woman I grew to love and admire. I remember Kathryn Stollmeyer Wight as a fine and kind, caring, sympathetic, loving woman who was a close friend of Angelo.
“She was always so full of energy and life. Her remarkable dynamic spirit, caring, warm, friendly personality, her smiles, contributions, and memories will live on in the hearts of all those whose lives she touched. On behalf of the admin team and membership of ABVMOTT, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Kathryn during this time of grief.”
Media Association of TT president Ira Mathur said Stollmeyer Wight seemed to have lived her life uplifting and supporting everyone around her.
“I hope you know how loved you were and how much you’ll be missed not just for your kindness but your wit, your sheer sense of fun, and the sharp intellect that ran through everything you were. I’m sure you are still here, that you see what you are to so many and that you saw it before you slept.”
PR consultant and mas practitioner Cherisse Lauren Berkeley said Stollmeyer Wight had been supportive of her since they met in 2007.
“Aunty Kathy had a tremendous impact on many people, including myself, by generously offering her help to anyone in need. When I received the news that I would be attending Cave Hill to further my studies, Aunty Kathy was among the first to congratulate me. During my time there, she often reached out to me and offered comforting words on days when I was homesick.
“When I broke my leg, Aunty Kathy offered to lend me her crutches, which my dad collected along with a walking cane and a bag of fruit. Despite her difficulty breathing, my dad remarked that she spoke highly of me and had a lot to say.
“While I worked in the media, Aunty Kathy would read my articles and contact me to discuss them, find ways to assist people mentioned in the article, or offer encouragement. She truly was an angel on earth, and there are countless ways in which she was remarkable.
“To Uncle Greg, Ada Kate, Sophie, Jeff, and Sloane, I hope you find solace in your memories of her. Aunty Kathy loved each of you so deeply, and she made sure that everyone knew it.”
Art administrator Amanda McIntyre said Stollmeyer Wight was on her mind a few days ago, and they had exchanged messages.
“There are people who understand and support us from and across great distances. Days ago I was overcome with thoughts of Kathryn Stollmeyer Wight. The traditional mas competition was approaching and she was on my mind. In my years of making mas, Kathryn had been a friend and patron who offered not only financial support but also her words that were, for me, like magical charms through which I became brighter, stronger, and more beautiful.
“She was at Adam Smith Square in 2020 with her granddaughter when I debuted Dolly Ma (McIntyre’s mas presentation). I went to the competition with great trepidation because of a situation that was escalating behind the scenes that threatened my work in Carnival. Kathryn encouraged me to keep going. She was so firm with her affirmations that I grew in confidence.
The year before that, in 2019 when I was heading to Jamaica for a conference she met me in Port of Spain with a little envelope that contained a gift to help me safely through the days away from home and a beautifully handwritten letter. I kept that letter on the desk in Jamaica and when I got back to Trinidad I continued reading her words, “You are among the best of us.” She was certainly well-practiced in being the best at many things and I marveled that she would have this opinion of me.
“In these past months, her posts via social media and photographs seemed like gentle reminders that she was not always going to be with us. It was as though she was saying, in her gracious way that she would be leaving us soon. Kathryn’s legacy includes the heartwarming stories and fond memories that she so generously gifted to us. This magnificent woman was a treasure and will continue to be.”
This story will continue to be updated.