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was born Lois Cecilia Carby in Kingston, Jamaica, to Cecil Carby, a civil servant, and Yvette Robin Carby, a housewife. Lake-Sherwood attended St. Andrew High School for Girls in Kingston and in the late 1940s and early 1950s studied French and art in Haiti, and art at the Instituto Allende San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She also participated in several art workshops at the Pastel Society of New York City and Phoenix.

Her business career began in 1953 as co-owner of Grace Furniture Store on Orange Street, Kingston, and in 1966 she opened Mahogany House, the first antique shop in Jamaica, with her husband, Rodwell A. Lake. The couple would have three children— Richard, Michael, and Ann Lake—before they divorced. She subsequently married Kenneth N. Sherwood. In an interview with the Sunday Gleaner Magazine in 1969 she briefly stated why she undertook the Mahogany House venture She said with ...