The lives we lost in 2023
Eulogy of Alfred Cecil Leevy (October 16, 1940 – November 15, 2023)
"United to a powerful force by a spiritual cord, not visible to physical eyes. I'll follow this cord on breathing my last"
Alfred Cecil Leevy was born in Montserrat on October 16, 1940. His father, Ira Alfred Leevy, was a Kittitian police officer, and his mother was Dorema Dominique of Soufriere. At four, he travelled with his family to Dominica and was enrolled at the Soufriere Govt primary school.
He attended the Dominica Grammar School from 1954 to 1960, obtaining the Cambridge School Certificate and the Cambridge Higher School Certificate.
He lived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. W O M Pond during those years and saw in Mr. Pond a father figure. He described his influence in a poem: " There's behind me a long long hand".
Pushing me onward
Into the future
This hand belongs to a good old man
It is the hand of Uncle Wil.
From 1960 to 1965, he taught at the Grammar School. In September 1965, he left Dominica for India to pursue further studies, having obtained a Commonwealth scholarship. He graduated from the University of Deli in 1968 with an Honours degree in geography.
Upon his return to Dominica, he began his teaching career as a geography teacher at his Alma Mater. He was the Deputy Headmaster under Mr J K Gough. Upon Mr Gough's return to England, he was appointed Headmaster.
In July 1969, he married Dorothy Thomas, who had recently returned from studies at the University of Toronto. Their four children are Kim, Joffrey, Tara, and Palesa.
He pursued postgraduate studies in Public Administration at Manchester University in England and West Virginia University in the US. In 1994, he obtained a Master of Arts degree from Syracuse University.
He worked in various capacities in the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Legal Affairs. When he retired in 2,000, he had been the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development.
Throughout his adult life, he saw himself as an Evangelist and acted accordingly. He was very involved in his church life, was an Elder and a Sunday school teacher, and served on Boards of various church and community organizations. Dear to his heart were the Dominica Association of Persons with Disabilities, The Christian Union Primary School, of which he was a founding member, and his Gideon Ministry. He was president of the Dominica Camp of Gideons International. He was always happy and excited when he left the house to distribute Bibles to schools and institutions. For several years, our home served as the meeting place for the monthly meetings of the Gideons and provided storage space for the Bibles.
Writing was his main hobby, and he contributed several newspaper articles. He published a book of poetry, "The Mountains Sing", and four other books in which he reflected on life, expressing his deep faith and trust in God. He was bothered by what he described in his poems as society's "UBIQUITOUS GODLESSNESS, AND GROWING WORSHIP OF MAN BY MAN." In another poem, he described himself as "UNITED TO A POWERFUL FORCE BY A SPIRITUAL CORD, NOT VISIBLE TO PHYSICAL EYES." HE emphasized his mission: "I'LL FOLLOW THIS CORD ON BREATHING MY LAST ( FROM "THE MOUNTAINS SING.")
In his poem, "Things to be righted", he lamented,
" The wheels of materialism rotate.
With rasping , grinding cacophony
Drowning the voice of peace and love."
Each day of life brings us a day closer to the end, but the evident mental decline began after the stress associated with Hurricane Maria.
On the night of December 30, 2021, while he was wandering through the house, he fell and fractured his hip bone.
Though he underwent surgery in January 2022, he never regained mobility and remained confined to bed.
Despite dementia, his faith in God was unwavering; his hands were often clasped in prayer so that, usually, when Nurse Julie Frampton, our neighbour, came to check on him or I would attempt to feed him, he would not hesitate to tell us, "Please don't disturb me, I'm praying."
Every morning, I would play for him while I fed him breakfast, the Daily Reflections sent to my phone by Noeliva Leblanc. I was never sure how much he heard as he kept his eyes closed. The Reflections begin with the sound of church bells. However, one morning, I did not receive them at the usual time, and I started feeding him. He stopped eating and asked, "No Church today?"
On October 29, 2023, he was admitted to the hospital with a chest infection after he had been examined by his cousin, Vivian Moise, and he breathed his last on November 15.