Obituary of Mangaree Hassell
On December 12, 2022, Heaven gained a beautiful angel, Mangaree Hassell, affectionately known as Mama Mang. Mangaree made the world a brighter place on May 14th, 1940, when she was born to the late Mr. & Mrs. Beharry in Arima, Trinidad & Tobago - a country best known for its “Sweet Carnival”, as she would often say, and its friendly people. Over the course of her life, she touched the lives of many people in a myriad of ways, and her love for people was evident in everything she did.
Mangaree was blessed with an upbringing so enriched with love that money and material things did not matter. It was a place where kindness and compassion towards others were first and foremost and her neighbors and friends became family. Mama Mang would often say, “we didn't even know we were poor.”
In Trinidad, she became an integral part of Arima’s Women's Group, where she learned the art of cake baking and design, and eventually rose to serve as President. Her artistic talent continued with her mastering and creating the most beautiful floral designs for weddings and special occasions for family and friends. She was also an extremely talented cook. If you knew Mama Mang, then you know her ultimate love language was food. And if you visited her home you left with your belly full and bag of food to take home to your family. Everyone raved about and looked forward to eating her curry chicken and roti, colorful fruit salads, healing and vitamin-packed ginger tea, delicious apple date peanut butter and so much more!
Mama Mang’s passion for food led her to a long-standing career in the food service industry. While in Trinidad she worked at the Mausica Teachers College and the El Dorado Youth Camp until she moved to the United States with the love of her life, the late Richard Hassell Jr. She went on to work at Sarah Lawerence College for over 30 years, where she encouraged hundreds of students to “eat the rainbow”. She would say “every day, you should have a yellow, green, and red fruit or vegetable”.
After a 12-year courtship, Mangaree married Richard Hassell Jr. in Trinidad on September 5, 1981. Their unique love story was featured in the Trinidad Love Newspaper. "Mangaree looked radiant and expensive in her accordion-pleated creation that was specially brought down from the Big Apple," as quoted from the article. To this day, wedding guests remember the 6-tier wedding cake, which was Mangaree’s own creation; a true masterpiece.
Mama Mang mothered and nurtured many souls in her lifetime. She raised her sister’s daughter, Indra, as her own for many years. Eventually, at the prime age of 42, she was blessed with a daughter, Lucia Hassell. Lucia will forever be the light of her life. Mama Mang's love didn't stop there. Alongside her husband, she continued to care for a total of 20 foster children. With generosity and love in their hearts, she and Richard also hosted a number of family members from Trinidad who came to the USA seeking a better life. She loved and instilled core values of kindness, compassion, patience, and tradition in all. Like ripples from a single drop of water, these values will be passed on for generations.
Mama Mang loved coloring books, beautiful flowers, cooking, baking, and praying for her family and friends daily. At the age of 82, she could wine up and down with the best of them. She brought joy and love to every room she walked in and had jokes for days. She loved making people smile and putting on a show; especially on the dance floor with her husband Richard. While she is gone from this Earth, her beautiful legacy will live on forever in the hearts of those who love her so dearly. We can be sure her beloved Richard is leading the welcome wagon to enter the gates of Heaven. Rest in peace, beautiful angel.
Memories of Mangaree will always live in the hearts of her family. She was called home to her late husband of 41 years, Richard Hassell Jr., and is survived by her niece Indra Romano (Charles), Three Daughters: Lucia L. Hassell (Rashaad), Elizabeth Hassell-Ringgold (Roderick), Denise Hassell-Wrighton (James), son Richard Hassell III, great niece Alyssa Lennon (Collin), great nephew Charles Romano Jr. (Ashley), great great nephew Matthew Lennon, Grandchildren: Richard Hassell IV, Brandon Hassell, Jessica D. Hassell, Ashley C. Hassell, Nya and Tamra Ames, Re’gene Oates, Ne’gene Oates, and Kya Ringgold; Great Grandchildren: Kyrie Lewis and Lovonta Hill
On behalf of the Hassell & Beharry families, we humbly thank you. Words cannot express the gratefulness we feel towards all of our family and friends who have lifted us with love and support during this time. Wishing health and safety to your families. Love, light, and unity will get us through these difficult times together. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. We would especially like to thank Avia Hicks-Chapman, Nikkia Matthews, Chanelle Bragg, Sierra Edwards, and Tiffanyanne Tomlinson for all of their support with the service and otherwise.