Tribute to a guardian angel, Emeline Elaine Nisbett; New York City remembers daughter of Kittitian parents

Emeline Elaine Nisbett’s Girls High School yearbook photo

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 3RD 2011 (CUOPM) – After many posthumous accolades from politicians, City Councilman Steve Levin, proclamation in hand, walked to the podium of Brooklyn’s Lawrence H. Woodward Funeral Home.

But Levin didn’t read from the prepared words on the piece of paper; he simply spoke from his heart, saying: “This is a small token to ensure than Emeline Nisbett is remembered by the City of New York.”

Jared McCallester, writing in the New York Daily News said Emeline Elaine Nisbett, the daughter of immigrants from St. Kitts – an influential pillar in his life and many others – was remembered last week at a memorial service. She died March 22 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 80. And she will surely be remembered.

Last week, a standing-room-only gathering of family, friends and supporters came to say “thank you” and “job well done” to Nisbett, who took on lots of roles throughout her life and positively touched many lives.

Elaine Nisbett and husband Daniel Nisbett in an undated photo (New York Daily News photos)

“She was a great, powerful woman,” said Nisbett’s granddaughter Kim Irving, describing the woman who was held in high esteem by everyday folks as well as Brooklyn’s movers and shakers.

Born in Harlem to Samuel Salisbury and Emeline Gumbs Salisbury, she graduated from Girls High School in Brooklyn, the borough where she made her mark. She helped raise many neighborhood children in Crown Heights, providing parents with free childcare and contributing to the education and development of kids who later went on to become accountants, attorneys, teachers and chefs. Later in life, she shifted much of this valued attention to her own grandchildren.

In between raising the neighborhood children and tending to her grandkids, she and her husband, Daniel Nisbett, operated the popular Nizzy’s Snack House and the D&E Mini Grocery, both on Troy Ave., just off Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights.

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