By Carrone Evon Crump
Our Queen Gwen Neal, lovingly called and referred to by the name Queen Sister Iyetta was exulted to High Priestesshood/ Ancestorhood on February 19, 2020 at Buffalo General Hospital after a brief ill-ness. Her service will be held Saturday, March 7 from 10a.m. to 12 noon at Brian K. Lewis Funeral Home, 2528 Bailey Ave. Bro Daveed Muhammad of Mosque #23 will officiate her service.
Gwen Neal (Sistar Iyetta) was the oldest of two sisters born to Margaret H Cathcart and James E Cathcart.
She attended East High School. Her home Churchwas Gethsame Baptist Church where she was active in church events.
Gwen Neal (Sistar Iyetta) leaves three daughters Shalonda Roberts, Yolanda Smalls and Delelah S. Cathcart.
She was very present and practiced being of service to the community such as: serving as President of the SCLC, long standing Board member of the African American Cultural Center, member of ASCAC, Kwaanza committee, and the Black Consciousness Workshop for 20 years. She was also a member of the Juneteeth Festival Committee, a Counselor for the Greater Buffalo Center, an employee the at DMV, and was involved with the Prisoners are People Too Organization and the Ken-Bailey Center ,just to name a few.
Our Queen Sistar Queen Mother Iyetta Latis always practiced her traditional culture through her con-versation, in the way she lived, moved through the community and through her very being. She could always be depended upon to keep aspects of our culture holy, intact, respectful as well as one who was captivated with the spirit of Africa and the richness & history of our culture. Queen Sistar Iyetta articulat-ed herself with unfettered reverence always wearing her beautiful African royal attire as her dress code expressing & carrying herself as royalty. She gave voice at all our cultural events in the city. She lived and enjoyed her life and always provided the community with African cultural support. Here are a few of the expressed sentiments of people in the community who loved and cherished her:
“With her African aura, her smiling face, always open and welcoming & her always affirming her Africanness, Iyetta’s quiet, calm strength as a sister friend will always be remembered – Karen Keaton-
Queen Matriach mentor confidant and sister friend, we thank you Sistar Iyetta for the cultural les-sons you taught us, the light you shed. Noble and valuable beyond measure, to be cherished forever. We lift our heads and say Ase’ “- Tina Washington-Abubeker
“So Thankful for the great moments Iyetta and myself spent together. Always positive Always pro-ductive.”- T. RA Hetep-
“My family and I are devastated at the loss of our friend Queen Gwen Neal. Sis Gwen was the epitome of what a strong and loving mother, friend and community leader strives to be” -Betty Jean Grant-
“Another member of our community has transition to realm of the ancestors. She can now assist with redirecting us to our true greatness “ – Sister Taliba Asante- (JoAnn Peters)
“Queen Mother Sister Iyetta, a beautiful stellar and majestic Queen. Her Queenly presence let us all know of the Divinity of Womanhood. Graceful, intelligent, spiritual, kind and divine. The fields of peace welcome her as she rests in peace & power.” -Bilila Ka Ra-
These are just a few of the hundreds of sentiments for Sister Iyetta that rang forth from the commu-nity at the time of her passing. Let us always continue to celebrate her life and let any expressions of mourning contain a theme of celebration of her joining with the ancestors.Iyetta I will always and forever cherish you and your expressions about African heritage and spiritu-ality. Your kindness, Intelligence, Compassion and beauty is etched into my heart and spirit as a guideline in expression of my own Africaness and way of being. I will Always be Forever grateful for our friendship and deeply appreciate the time we had on this earth together. Love You and Miss you … Sis Carrone Evon Crump .