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Ruthlyn Iony Aska Martin, affectionately known to her loved ones as “Dada,” was born on September 30, 1939, in St. John’s Antigua, West Indies, to the late Gladys McKenzie and John Aska. Ruthlyn completed her primary education at the Princess Margaret School in St. John’s, Antigua. Early on, she worked as a service employee at the Anchorage Hotel. However, being an industrious young lady, Ruthlyn migrated to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands in hopes of making a better life for herself and her family. Once Ruthlyn had established herself in St. Croix after a few years working as a waitress, her two children joined her in St. Croix from Antigua after being in the self-sacrificing care of their beloved aunt Mildred Aska.
While living in St. Croix, Ruthlyn met and married Herman Dan Martin. Dada was loving, kind, and caring to her family, and they loved and adored her in kind. Her kindness and generosity were demonstrated time and again, as year after year she would send large boxes of food and clothing to her mother, siblings, and nieces and nephews. Everyone could always count on receiving something special for Christmas and Carnival. She loved life and traveling. She was friendly, outgoing, and the “life of the party.” Strangers and regulars who dined at the tables she waited while working at the Carambola Golf Resort came to know this about her.
Dada had very strong love for two things throughout her life—God and family, especially her two children. She regularly attended church, not only on special occasions, but every week, something she instilled in her children. Whether at St. John’s Anglican Church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fredericksted Moravian Church, or Baconton Missionary Baptist Church, all of which she attended at various points of her life, she was admired for her steadfast spiritual qualities and Godly love. Dada wanted the best for her brothers and sisters and their families. Although being apart from her siblings in Antigua, they were never far from her thoughts. As such, she tirelessly worked over many years towards ensuring that her siblings could join her in St. Croix, where she and many of them eventually resided. The variety of flowers and fruit trees she grew out of her love for gardening not only adorned her home but also delighted the eyes and tastebuds of family and friends whenever they visited her.
In 2005, after battling a series of serious long-term illnesses, Dada migrated to Allenhurst, Georgia, where she could receive advanced medical care. Although her health was seriously compromised, her perseverance and positive attitude inspired others as they dealt with their own health challenges. Many often commented on how unbelievably strong she was. She made many new friends in her new home in Georgia before succumbing to her illness on May 3, 2022. Ruthlyn was preceded in death by her sisters Daisybel Ephraim, Ruby Aska, Lauretta Scott and her brothers Ernest and Gershom Aska. Ruthlyn is survived by her children Angela Beverley Kittrell (spouse Tony) and Trevor Williams (spouse Mayra); her beloved sisters Mildred and Hyacinth Aska and brothers Franklyn (King) and Conrad Aska; grandchildren Tony Kittrell (spouse Sara), Kerisa Kittrell Taylor (spouse Jiovanni), and Kristen, Kayla, and Kameron Williams; and great-grandchildren Kaiya and Joshua Taylor, and Khan and Kyrah Kittrell. Ruthlyn was loved and will be missed dearly by her many nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces and -nephews, including Cora Kobel; Ingrid, Janay, Annette (Greeno), and Roy Baptiste; Dr. Jean Ephraim-Smith, Rose Ephraim- Frederick; Angela, Conrad, and Glenroy Ephraim; Bernadette Fenton; Genevieve Aska; Angella Mayo; Sharon Thomas; Handel Livingston; Judith, Anne Marie, Dane, and Shawn Henry; Lucien, Vanley, and Arlene Aska; Albert and Bernard Aska; Alison, Elton, and Vere Christian; Janice Asiedu; Andrea, Devon, Tracy, and Monique Ephraim; Debbie Graham; Richard Christian; Alex Jonas; Ken, Colin, and Rodney Palmer; Devon Douglas; Kelly and Kemba Frederick; Joy-Ann Matthias; Sharde Clarke; Melanie Okpaku; Dominique Greeno; Marlon Mack; Avante Barton-Hurst; Latoya Barton; Kallisha Livingston; and Taeshannah Henry. Ruthlyn also leaves behind a host of beloved family and friends too numerous to mention.