Meralda ‘Grann Dadou” Julie Saint-Paul age 95, transitioned peacefully on Thursday, December 17, 2020 at home in Miami, Florida. Meralda was born on May 19, 1925 in Cayes, Haiti to the late Iltida Medard & Maisoneuve Saint-Paul. Meralda was the second oldest of fifteen siblings.
At a young age, Meralda left Cayes and travelled to Petion-Ville; where her life would change forever. Meralda worked at Hotel Montana and went on to meet the love of her life; Santos Faldony in 1951. In 1955, Meralda became pregnant with her first-born child, Hilaire, and later decided to stop working in order to care for him. Meralda dedicated her life to caring for her family, biological children, and additional “children” she inherited throughout the years. Meralda became known as “Grann Dadou or Dadou” to everyone who knew her. Even those older than Meralda would address her as Grann Dadou.
A Matriarch is defined as a woman who is the head of a family or tribe or an older woman who is powerful within a family or organization, which truly defines who Dadou was. While Santos worked tirelessly to provide for his family, Grann Dadou maintained the household. She helped anyone else who needed help. She was the backbone, the glue of the family. Anyone who knew Grann Dadou knew she was not easy and definitely not a walk in the park. She governed her tribe with an iron fist and always had a witty response readily available. Underneath that tough exterior, Dadou was a loving woman who genuinely loved people. One could never leave Grann Dadou’s home without a little gift of some sort. She was known for her delicious cooking. When she cooked, it was like feasts. She divided her meals into several plates and made sure anyone who came through her doors ate. She would send food far and wide to various family members and friends. If you needed help, she would give you the shirt off her back. In addition to being a great cook, she helped raise her grandchildren and the children of family friends.
Grann Dadou always said she would never leave her home. She valued her independence and never wanted to be a burden on her children. However, due to the earthquake, Dadou was forced to uproot and leave her home in Haiti, in February 2011. In the United States, she lived with her children and ultimately made Florida her last home.
For the most part, Grann Dadou lived a healthy life. In 2015, she fell ill and ultimately a pacemaker was put in place for her. Dadou fought that hurdle and blessed us with an additional five years. At the end of her life, she enjoyed her favorite recliner chair and conversing with family and friends near and far. She especially loved making sure her hair was always dyed black. While Grann Dadou was not vain, she was adamant that her hair be dyed black at least twice a year.
As the last of her siblings, she leaves behind not only her legacy but the loving memories that we hold dear in hearts; especially when she would open both arms waiting for an embrace from those who came to see her. She leaves behind her devoted spouse, Santos, her children Hilaire, Suzette, Betty, Victor, and Margette. Her grand-children Evens, Weedler, Eder, Gigi, Adressant, Smith, Adolphe, Jr., Kasandra, Hugues, Amanda, Marsha, Mitchell, Marvin, Abby, many great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and longtime family friends.
The memorial service will be held in the Haitian Evangelical Baptist Church Inc. on Saturday January 2, 2021 and led by her beloved son, Rev. Victor Valdoni. Interment will follow in the Dade North Caballero Rivero Cemetery.
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