3 elderly sisters die within days of each other


Published: Monday, August 12, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 12, 2013 at 1:33 p.m.

OPA-LOCKA — A funeral has been held in Miami for three elderly sisters who died within days of each other.

The Miami Herald (http://hrld.us/1cFihL1 ) reports Jacqueline Finley Livingston, 81, died of ovarian cancer on July 29. Later that day, her sister Helen Eloise Finley Spires, 80, died in Maryland. Two days after that, their sister Audrey Finley, 78, died at a Miami nursing home.

The sisters were buried in three identical white caskets on Friday at a cemetery in Opa-locka.

At their funeral, Rev. Richard L. Marquess-Barry said Livingston "would not leave her sisters behind to suffer."

Livingston was the oldest of Chesterfield and Grace Gibson Finley's seven children. According to The Herald, she left Miami for Florida A & M University in 1950 hoping to become a nurse. But soon her mother asked her to come home to help care for her younger siblings. And that's what she did for the next six decades.

The newspaper reports Livingston deferred her college plans to that siblings could earn their degrees. Two became teachers. Eventually she earned an Associate of Arts in education from Miami-Dade College. And at age 70 she received a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Memorial College.

"This is one of the most marvelous love stories ever heard," the pastor said on Friday. He knew the family for years and came out of retirement to eulogize the sisters, who had also worked at St. Agnes Episcopal Church in Miami.

Livingston, who would have turned 82 on Monday, was the church's daycare director for 45 years. Spires was a head teacher at the church for 40 years.

The family took care of Audrey Finley, who was mentally challenged, into old age.

The pastor said their mother instilled in her children a deep love for one another.

"She impressed on Jackie, 'You are the oldest and you must always look out for your sisters and brothers ...' Jackie never forgot her teaching."

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