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`Ava Mary McIntyre-Roach was born on the 1st of September 1956, the first of seven children from the union between John Irving McIntyre and Ruth Theresa Lancelot McIntyre. She grew up in Fond Canie where her parents moved soon after marriage. Ava loved the life they created for her and her siblings there. In fact, she so loved her childhood in Fond Canie that Ava later moved into the house she had first grown up in to create a life full of warmth and laughter for her own family - Donavan, her beloved husband of 28 years, and her children Marsha, Darcelle and Josh, whom she cherished. The firstborn, Ava enjoyed spending time with her parents who would often take her on family outings with her younger siblings and close family friends. One of her favorite activities was river bathing, and her siblings recall how it was almost impossible to get her out of the water. Ava learned caring for others, hard work and responsibility from an early age, being raised on the family farm. This would help nurture her life commitment to service and caring for others.

In her early school days Ava was the protector of her siblings and would quickly jump to their aid. Her love and loyalty for her family knew no bounds. In her later years, she would continue to be both a sister and a motherly protector, springing into action when, even as adults, a brother or sister faced challenging times. This innate nature to defend those in need or without protection would manifest in Ava's lifework as a relentless advocate for the underprivileged and vulnerable children of Dominica. She was a woman of deep faith who loved her church and dedicated herself fully to the mission of helping those in need, demonstrating her religious beliefs indeed.

After first working as a teacher at the Trafalgar primary school and at the Welfare Division, Ava joined the staff of the Youth Development Division in 1978, soon after it had been established.

Over the course of her 20 years at the Division, Ava was a critical force in shaping it into what it is today. In the early 1980's, Ava pioneered the Summer Day camp programme in all districts where she worked.

She brought to this programme her strong organization skills and creativity and was renowned for her ability to quickly spin up resources to make something out of nothing. Today, prominent leaders in our society can all attest to the contribution Ava made to their development as a Youth Development Officer through their participation in these programmes.

Ava was deeply involved in the Youth Division's multidisciplinary leadership training courses, the Youth Skills Training Programme and the Saturday morning Youth Programme, SEARCH. She rejoined the Welfare Division in 1998 as Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator with great energy and passion. r She pioneered Operation Youth Quake to serve the troubled teens of the island and served as a member of the board for several years. The many foster children she worked with all regarded her as their mother as she cared for them as her very own. She was relentless in her pursuit of safe homes for their permanent• placement and her commitment to securing their well-being were unsurpassed.

Ava loved her work on the ground, traveling far and wide across the island districts, listening with her heart and head to help all whom she could. Through these travels, countless communities and individuals have come to love Ava, all of whom she called friends. They could see her generous and caring nature and were drawn to it. Smart and full of wit, she would often utter the clever and unexpected. She was known to make you laugh in an instant, followed with a flash of the signature smile we'll all remember. Ava most recently dedicated herself to children in need of protection in her role as Managing Director of CHANCES.

Ava lived and breathed for her children--Marsha, Darcelle and Josh--and was their true guardian. She ensured she was a sterling example of strength and resilience, compassion and caring that they could look up to as they grew into adulthood. She nurtured them tenderly and supportively to become the remarkable individuals they are today. She enjoyed a profound closeness to her children, sustained by her abounding motherly love which she also showered upon her granddaughter, the apple of her eye.

Ava loved life and brought a joviality and humour to the lives of all those she touched. She drew so selflessly from her own self to give and guide so many of us to better lives. As we look back with longing for her, our mother, our wife, our sister, our aunt, our friend, we marvel at the great privilege it was to be in her presence and the profound comfort it was to be in the loving embrace of her love. Though our hearts are heavy, we take comfort in the knowledge that God has called her to eternal peace and rejoice that she has been called to his table.


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