Charlene Shine-Taylor knows that describing a loved one as an "angel" is a cliche, but for her twin sister, Amityville resident Corinne Faison-Whitmire, there's no better description.
"She never had a frown on her face," said Shine-Taylor, of Tarzana, California.
Faison-Whitmire died June 5 at Calvary Hospital in Brooklyn after a battle with uterine cancer. She led a life of volunteer work, serving a variety of roles in the Amityville community including helping out weekly at the Amityville Senior Center. She was 64.
Faison-Whitmire was born July 17, 1950, in Manhattan. She was born premature and despite a lifetime of health problems she was optimistic to her last days.
Shine-Taylor said doctor's visits seemed to inspire Faison-Whitmire's interest in nursing.
"She never felt sorry for herself," Shine-Taylor said.
During their childhood in Astoria, Queens, Shine-Taylor said Faison-Whitmire would pretend her dolls had headaches she could treat. Faison-Whitmire, who spent her teens in Amityville, later graduated from Harlem Hospital School of Nursing.
Faison-Whitmire's son, Eric Faison, wasn't thrilled when his mother relocated the family to Reseda, California, in 1988, where she worked at a home for seniors and a community hospital. But he understood it was because she wanted the best for him.
"Even friends I haven't seen in years, they ask about my mom," said Faison, 39, of Tarzana, California.
When health problems kept her from nursing, she volunteered with the Red Cross and at a library, taking multiple buses to get there, said her brother, Bob Valdes, 59, of Mesa, Arizona.
Faison-Whitmire spent her later years traveling, said her husband, Andrew Whitmire of Amityville.
The couple, who met after she returned to Amityville in the early 2000s, visited Italy, Turkey and Greece, where ancient Christian churches fascinated Faison-Whitmire.
"She never had a bad word to say about anyone," he said. "I'm going to miss her dearly."
In addition to her brother, sister, son and husband, Faison-Whitmire is survived by her mother, Corrine Soldano of North Amityville; her father, Frank Valdes of Phoenix; younger sister Victoria Barrett, of Ocala, Florida; seven nieces and nephews; and 12 great nieces and nephews.
A funeral will be held Saturday at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Roosevelt at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Long Island National Cemetery. Friends and families can make donations in Faison-Whitmire's name to the Calvary Hospital fund.