Glenda Faye Dampier, often called “Gigi” by people who knew her, died on Oct. 22. She was 68.
Born on Oct. 13, 1954, in Jackson, Mississippi, she left for New York at 13 for better opportunities. One of them being education. She found her way to Inwood and went to school through the Lawrence School District. She went to school up until the 11th grade. However, she made sure her children, Demetrious, class of 1993, and Monchell, class of 1998, graduated Lawrence High School.
Dampier worked several jobs after high school but found she had a love for babysitting. “She loved kids and wanted to make that her passion,” Monchell said.
Dampier babysat children from families in the community and her bosses’ children from the comfort of her Stanley Street home. She moved to Clinton Avenue in 2006.
Monchell encouraged her mother to get a state daycare provider license, which allows individuals to start their own child daycare program. She obtained her license in 2007 and launched her own program named “Gigi’s Hands of Love.”
A member at the St. John’s Baptist Church in Inwood referred Laurie Hill to Dampier to babysit her twins; from then on, long-lasting relationship was created. “She became their official unofficial grandmother,” Laurie said. She recalled taking her children, Jade and Kenneth Hill, to Dampier’s daycare center, where she took care of them, played with them and educated them. Hill said her children knew their numbers and colors before stepping foot at the Number Four School in Inwood.
Her children, now 23, remained in touch with Dampier until she died. The Hill family would visit her home to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve together. Hill said her children were heartbroken to hear the news that Dampier died. On Facebook, friends of hers expressed their love for their friend including Roberta Fielcs, who wrote, “She had a smile that could light up the room.”
The Nassau County National Council of Negro Women honored her for being a “Loyal Community Nurturer” in 2010. Her nickname, “Gigi,” was given by one of her children she babysat and stuck.
Dampier ran her daycare up until her death. When asked if Monchell would continue with the program, she laughed, “I don’t have the patience she had with kids.”
Dampier is survived by her son, Demetrious, and daughter, Monchell. The interment was at Zionell Church in Mount Olive, Mississippi, on Nov. 9.