Obituary of Icodel Tomlinson

March 11, 2020

Small in stature but, with an easy smile, a big heart and a resolute spirit, she made an impact that extended well beyond her humble beginnings.

Icodel Tomlinson, for 38 years, a confidante and senior staff member to TV's grand dame Barbara Walters, passed away on March 11, 2020.

Ms. Walters, who made history as network television's first female anchor, would refer to Ms. Tomlinson as "my best friend, whom I trust with my life and love with all my heart."

Affectionately referred to as Ike, Ms. Tomlinson passed away from natural causes, after beating the cancer that would eventually force her retirement.

"I've had a good life," she said recently – her time alongside television's first lady affording her the opportunity to meet kings, queens, heads of state, and celebrities of all stripes.

Ms. Tomlinson touched friends and acquaintances alike with her optimism.

"She was my best and favorite patient," said Dr. Jonas Sokolof, of NYU Langone's Rusk Rehabilitation. "She was always so optimistic. I'll miss her warm smile and her bright eyes."

Proud of her status as a naturalized US citizen, Ms. Tomlinson was born in Manchester, Jamaica West Indies, to Daniel Rochester, a farmer and landowner, and Victoria Blair, an accountant.

As a young woman, she had an interest in fashion and would soon start a business as a seamstress after taking up dressmaking, before immigrating to the United States in 1971.

Among her other responsibilities, her expertise in wardrobe care kept Ms. Walters fastidiously pressed and dressed for all occasions.

Ms. Tomlinson is survived by her daughter Yvette Tomlinson, sons Phillip Tomlinson, Mansfield Tomlinson and Colin Tomlinson, sister Evelyn Gardner, niece Andrea Gardner, son-in-law Mark Burns, daughters-in-law Risa Morisada and Nadie Tomlinson, 10 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

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Mom I will always love you. I know you loved me because you showed me. I'll miss our heart to heart talks. I know you are with me, I cant stop crying because I felt that we never said goodbye... but I know you are with me always. Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes, but we love with our heart and soul and there is no such thing as separation. I love you Mom. You told me there was something special about my eyes, so now every time I see my eyes in the mirror I see you and feel your love. Thank you for loving me and thank you for Yvette and Phillip. Rest in Peace, God Bless you until we meet again.

Posted by: Carol Taylor - St. Petersburg, FL - April 18, 2020