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Alvin James Donalds, 81, of Overland Park, Kansas passed peacefully at home on Saturday (Sabbath), August 1, 2020. He was surrounded by beloved family and friends and basked in a sweet ambience of love in the presence of angels and our Heavenly Father.
“Danny” as he was affectionately known in his early- to mid-years, and “Uncle” in his latter retirement years was divinely positioned as the second and last child into the marital union of Joseph and Adeline Donalds. He was born on Saturday (Sabbath), April 22, 1939 in the town and parish of Falmouth Trelawny on the beautiful island of Jamaica West Indies. As a boy, Danny and his family moved to the parish of St. Ann, then later relocated in various cities in St. Catherine.
To his mom, Danny was a charming boy with early characteristics of a caring, loving, empathetic, and compassionate soul. Adeline could depend on him to complete chores and tasks around and outside of the home. She quickly identified and nurtured these gifts by connecting and commissioning him to read and memorize the Word of God, especially the Psalms. This early training would set Danny apart and prepare him for what would become a long life of ministry of encouragement, teaching, hope, healing, and love.
Danny attended the Brittanville School and later succeeded in his local junior exams. He was a hard worker at heart and developed a strong work ethic very early. At the age of 14, he was offered his first job at the Jobson Rio Magna Estates with 1,066 acres of produce. His main duties stationed him in the office where he maintained the company’s accounts receivables and payables as a Bookkeeper. His secondary duties included making weekly deliveries of bananas with the company’s truck to the railroad loading station. At 10 shillings per week, Danny was able to support himself and contribute to the economy of his home. He worked hard and long hours for many years. At around 19 years old, Danny became very ill for lack of eating on time. During this period, his family and community thought they would lose him, but through nourishment and much prayer and fasting from family and community, God gave grace and favor and restored him to full health. At age 20, Danny re-entered the workforce and began working with Stanigar Hardware and Furniture Department in Linstead, St. Catherine. Here, he worked faithfully and wisely, incorporating new disciplines that guided him to create a balance between his workload, taking 15-minute breaks in between lunch and departure time.
About a year and a half into this position, a wealthy man by the name of Canute Lawrence, a long-time customer of Springvale Estates, noticed his keen and adept skills, warm and charismatic personality, and attentiveness to details. Mr. Lawrence was so impressed with his work that he felt compelled to offer him a contract as his Accountant with a third more pay, and a promise of an increase of one to three pounds each year. Danny felt thrilled with this proposal, mused on it for weeks, then accepted it. With perks of an estate vehicle and other favorable benefits, it almost seemed as if he had won the lottery! Soon, his life felt like new money—having a polished appearance, strutting with confidence, and becoming a favorable suitor among the ladies. A few years after, Springvale Estates became the well-known Rice Mill in Spanish Town, St. Catherine where Danny coded the company’s books. Notwithstanding his humble beginnings, Danny could not have imagined how these early foundational jobs and mastery of skills would later become the stepping-stones toward a coveted position with the Ministry of Agriculture long before it became a large governing body for the Agri-sector in Jamaica. It was here that Danny would spend the rest of his work life, starting from a position of Area Pool Officer and climbing the promotional ladder to that off an Administrator in the Engineering Department, spanning over three decades before retiring at age 65.
In the early 1960’s, Danny met Hermine Eccles (who pre-deceased him). The two got married in 1964, and from this union they produced five children: Richard, Marvelette, Christine, Michael, and Andrew. The couple went on to live many years together in St. Catherine, Jamaica. It was here that they established their new home together in Meadowvale, St. Catherine. Danny, being a lover of nature, created a garden paradise at the home that was surrounded by diverse flowers and fruit trees. He would carefully tend to them—they seemed to have been an extension of his family. So, it is not unusual to hear him having conversations with his plants as he watered them daily with much care and love.
Then in the late 1990’s, Alvin met Lilieth Nelson and the two fell in love. They got married in the year 2000, and the union produced a daughter they named Caelia. After spending many years together in Jamaica, the family relocated in 2011 to Overland Park, Kansas. This became their permanent home. It offered them, not only job opportunities but a strong family support system of siblings, cousins, and other relatives and very close friends. Alvin so endeared himself to this new family that he was called “Uncle.” They embraced him as their own. His way of being dissolved distinctive lines of difference . . . hardly anyone felt uncomfortable around him. He was always attentive to their needs.
Though he had retired, Uncle ran errands and kept up with an exercise routine well into his 70’s. The do-it-yourselfer in his character would spur him to engage in various projects in and around the house. You see, Uncle believed in not only keeping his mind engaged, but also committing his hands in service. You know, for example, there was not a watch or a clock that was beyond repair for him. As a matter of fact, if the part were never available, he would manufacture it himself . Additionally, he could not resist the temptation of fixing an electric iron that stopped working although it was cheaper to purchase a new one. He had quite a remarkable amount of energy that amazed those around him. No one had imagined that Uncle would have gotten sick.
In late 2015, Uncle was diagnosed with end stage multiple myeloma. This began a lifelong struggle with the application of multiple therapies, traditional and alternative treatments, a wholesome diet, continuous intercessory prayers, and the emergence of advocacy from his loving and supportive family and friends. It is worth noting that the initial prognosis gave him just six months to live. However, his spiritual tenacity did not allow him to accept that reality. Rather, it engendered in him a fighting faith. He would go on to outlive the premature death sentence on his life. As he navigated the reality of this disease, Uncle did not stop his passionate work for the Lord. He found ways to continue ministering to others amidst his infirmities. He would share words of inspiration, well-needed advise, hope and encouragement even as he was confronting death. His spirit remained unbroken as his body bore the marks of the battle through the journey.
After many bouts with the disease, multiple hospital admissions, rehab centers, physical and occupational therapies, holistic care with alternative treatments, and much prayer, Uncle’s physical health bounced back and forth and stabilized multiple times. With the onset of COVID-19, nursing homes integrated a no-visitation rule, restricting access to loved ones to prevent the spread of the virus into facilities where vulnerable adults resided. But Uncle’s health soon declined (again). Though his spirit remained strong, his body grew weak.
Family members were alerted and between May and June 2020, Uncle had two emergency admissions, received aggressive treatments, then was stabilized. But exhaustive treatments had come to an end. Recommendations from hospital clinicians concluded that Uncle be discharged into palliative care. As limitations from the pandemic continued, the family decided that Uncle would come home instead of transported back to the nursing facility. At home, there was an intimate atmosphere of love and meaningful support. He was daily nourished and attentively cared for by his wife, Lilieth, and family. Of course, this called for great sacrifice and adjustments on their part. Clinical attention was coordinated with a local hospice service and all took turns to administer moment-by-moment care. Uncle was happy to be home and near to his family. He felt their love but soon he began to feel and see just one set of footprints in the sand—He knew that God was lifting and carrying him for the next six weeks.
As the final moments rolled down, Uncle endured much pain and pondered openly, “Am I going to die like this?” Amidst this discomfort, he was able to impart returned sentiments of love to his children. Soon after he deliberated again and asked God to “release him.” He thanked his beautiful wife, Lilieth, for taking good care of him. Like a sweet cherry on the top of an ice-cream cone, Uncle lavished her with his last breath the sentiments of his heart, “You’re my sweet 16.” Then, he closed his eyes. On hearing and seeing these signs, Lilieth called her son-in-law, Noel, asked for prayer while Caelia’s voice echoed the sweetest melodies, surrounded by love and support from family and friends who gathered to bask in the blessings afforded them by his presence.
So, on Saturday (Sabbath), August 1, 2020 at 3:10 p.m., Alvin took his last breath and went to his rest. He is now free . . . from pain and suffering. We now temporarily lay a brother, husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, colleague, confidante, and Heaven’s manservant and friend to rest in the HOPE and certainty of the resurrection promise of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Alvin is survived by his wife, Lilieth; six children—three sons: Richard, Michael, Andrew; three daughters: Marvelette, Christine, Caelia; sons- and daughter-in-law, Dennis, Noel, Kimone; eight grandchildren: Zia, Nassor, Dontae, Dominique, Alexander, Dominick, Abriel, Azalea; one sister, Ione and beloved children, Karen (Kay), Collie, Dwight (Barry) and wife, Marie; sisters-in-law: Pearl, Verna, Christine, Velene, Tania, Lena, Sharon, Luna, Hazel; brothers-in-law: Hylton, Andrew, Howard, Sylvester, George, Bernard; many more in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, extended relatives, church family, and a whole host of friends in Kansas, New York, Florida, Canada, Jamaica, and other parts of the world.
Viewing starts at 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Memorial Service from 1:00 p.m. to 2:55 p.m. Both will be live-streamed on Monday, August 17, 2020 from the Johnson County Funeral Chapel in Overland Park, Kansas. Internment on said grounds in the Johnson County Memorial Gardens—The Good Shepherd.
Due to social distancing, Chapel seats only 45 persons. If you intend to attend, please coordinate your visit with a family member and wear a suitable, protective face covering.
In lieu of flowers, the family seeks contributions for the Alvin J. Donalds Memorial Fund. Send via Zelle or $CashApp or through GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/f/alvin-donalds?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet .
Monday, August 17, 2020
12:30 - 1:00pm (Central time)
Monday, August 17, 2020
1:00 - 2:50pm (Central time)
Johnson County Memorial Gardens
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