At the 2006 Independence Parade, Cybil and Frank Baron
At the 2006 Independence Parade, Cybil and Frank Baron

Sybil Eva Baron was born on April 2, 1929 to John Norbert & Mary Evalina McIntyre, and was the couple's third out of nine children. Growing up in a large family, Sybil learned at a young age the value of sharing and the strength of family bonds. She attended the Convent High School and upon graduation, entered the colonial civil service. Sybil held many roles throughout her life: devoted daughter, beloved sister, loving wife, nurturing aunt, and best friend.

Sybil was one of those people who just made things happen; when she put her mind to something, rest assured it would be accomplished. So, when she and others had the idea back in the mid l950's to form a netball team for Dominica, there was no doubt this would happen. Fast forward a few years later, Sybil and a team of young and proud Dominican women traveled to Trinidad to participate in their first netball tournament. In a similar vein, she saw a need to broaden the carnival experience for all Dominicans and helped to develop Dominica's annual carnival celebrations by serving as chairperson of the national Queen Show Committee and helping to select the annual carnival queen.

Throughout her professional career, Sybil served in many government positions, including, Secretary to the Government's Housing and Loans Board, Senior Executive Officer in the Government Audit Department. Training Officer in the Establishment Department responsible for coordinating all government training in the public service and Assistant Secretary to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education. In the latter position, Sybil made prodigious efforts to obtain scholarships for Dominican students to enable them to pursue a university education and took great satisfaction when advised of their success in their chosen professions.

But, if you were to ask Sybil, her most important "job" was her contributions to the church. Whether it be raising funds, organizing events. chairing committees, Sybil was always there, willing and ready to help. She was a member of the Sacred Heart and Mount Carmel Societies, and she placed her considerable business savvy in the service of the Church and served as the head of the Cathedral's Fundraising Committee, its Finance Committee and spent many years volunteering at the parish office. She was a woman deeply rooted in faith and service. Other organizations also benefitted from Sybil's generosity. For many years she served as an executive member of Dominica's Red Cross helping to dispense aid to our most vulnerable citizens.

Sybil Baron was married to husband Frank Baron, Dominica's first Chief Minister for over forty years before his death on April 9, 2016. The two kept up a busy schedule but Sybil always made time for her siblings, nieces, nephews and her wide circle of friends. She opened her home to family members at all times. Many of her nieces and nephews recalled the wonderful times they spent splashing in her pool. For many of these nieces and nephews their first job was working in Aunty Sybil's boutique in downtown Roseau. She treated them as if they were her own children and loved them dearly.

Sybil had a passion and abiding love for all members of her family. She cared for her mother for many years in a house she owned on King's Lane. She enjoyed hosting family functions including an annual Christmas dinner. She enjoyed listening to stories about younger family members whom she cared for deeply. In later years, she mastered the mysteries of WhatsApp to call her family members to interact with them and to be updated about their work, education and family.

Sybil seamlessly juggled the virtues of love, devotion, faith and charity throughout her life. A fitting tribute to her would be to continue her legacy of caring and giving with little or no expectation of anything in return. Love is the currency of the heart, caring and compassion its legal tender.

Sybil has enriched the lives of all those who were fortunate to have known and be touched by her. Ever mindful that the day would come when she would be called to meet her maker, she kept telling her family for many years that she was already in the "departure lounge:'

Ah Sybil Eva Baron! You have now left the departure lounge and you are well on your way to the celestial kingdom. We can picture you on your final journey, as you walk towards Heaven to be reunited with your late husband, family, and friends, while humming the words of a memorable hymn:

Just a closer walk with Thee

Grant it, Jesus, is my plea

Daily walking close to Thee

Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

May you enjoy perpetual rest.