Cavel Andrea Beckford Melbourne
October 10, 1947 - June 21, 2021
12800 Veirs Mill Rd, Rockville, MD 20853
Cavel Andrea, was born on October 10,1947, in Blackness District in Westmoreland, Jamaica, West Indies. She was the third child of Mildred Amy and Sydney Oliver Beckford. She had a very strong cry, a portent of things to come. Her paternal great grandmother, Ann Palmer (Nana), who was fond of her and gave her good care, predicted that Cav (as she was affectionately known) would be a "bright and shining” person when she grew up. Nana was right.
As Cav continued to grow, her special skills enabled her to hold her own among her older relatives and peers. Cav attended Mother Gordon's Christian nursery school. The program there helped her to progress socially, mentally, physically, and spiritually. While there, Cav exhibited a strong tendency to organize and lead her peers. A teacher from the start, she is remembered as teaching the plants, her cousins, and the neighborhood children. This skill continued to grow and served her throughout her multi-faceted career.
Cav went on to Mount Grace Elementary School, where, although she was physically among the smallest in her class, her strong voice, pleasant mannerisms, sense of humor, and body-language, commanded attention and an audience. She enjoyed books and delighted in sharing them with her classmates. She loved the outdoors and nature. Her creativity was evident as she designed the most attractive varieties of paper clothing for her inexpensive two-dimensional cardboard dolls, and happily shared her unique ideas with her peers. At Mount Grace, Cav excelled academically, and at age 11 took the High School Entrance Exam and got a full government scholarship to Manning's High School.
“Respect” was now a word fully linked with Cavel. She was a self-respecting young lady who respected all human beings and had the respect of her peers. She was responsible and conscientious in her school-work and progressed smoothly through each grade. Though Cav was not the athletic type, she participated enthusiastically in several extra-curricular activities. She was an ardent Girl Guide, displaying leadership by helping to guide the younger girls in her unit. At this time, a huge part of Cav's life was spent with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. There was an array of opportunities for the young people of the church to get involved and to participate. Cav sang in duets, trios, quartets, junior and senior choirs. She taught Sabbath School. She was also an ardent Missionary Volunteer, now Adventist Youth.
Before starting college, Cavel decided to take a pause and earn some funds to prepare for college. While looking for a job, Cav opened a free, after-school, remedial class, at her home, for elementary students. In the short time before she found a job, she helped those students to radically elevate their academic skill levels. She then got an offer to teach at the Springfield SDA Church School in the parish of St. Elizabeth. This would be a difficult assignment because the school had several grade levels, and Cav would be the only teacher. She accepted the challenge and took the job. After some time in the position, she was evaluated as effecting outstanding progress in her students, and was rated an excellent teacher.
Cav next went on to Shortwood Teachers’ College, which she chose because it was a college for young women. Her two-year program was made more manageable by her deep friendships with her peers and faculty. She finished her studies successfully and went on to Porus Junior Secondary School in Manchester to do her internship.
In the summer of 1970, while home on vacation, Cav met young Pastor Bertram Melbourne, who was then teaching at Savanna-la-mar High School and interning in the Savanna-la-mar Pastoral District. After a whirlwind courtship, they were married on October 17, 1971. She served with her husband in the Darliston and White Hill circuit of churches, where she was an exceptional first lady who had very good relationships with the members. She developed some lifelong friendships while there, among them June deRoux and her family. While in the White Hill district, the Melbourne family expanded with the birth of Yolande. It was also during these days that her genuine love, empathy, compassion and caring character shone even more brightly. Despite teaching all day and accompanying her husband for his evening evangelistic campaigns, she took on the additional task of caring for his mom, who came to live with them due to her increasing blindness.
In 1974, they were ordained to the Gospel ministry, and Bertram was elected Youth Director of the West Jamaica Conference. While in Montego Bay, Cavel worked as a teacher at Harrison Memorial High School, where she had great rapport with staff, students, peers, and administrators. Her students loved her. Truly, each member of her famed 1979 class desired to speak today, but time would not allow it. The years in Montego Bay saw additions to the family. Anella, Cavel’s baby sister, graduated from college and came to live with them while she worked at the Conference headquarters. So, too, did their son, Alanzo Smith, who had just graduated from college. It was during this time that a second child, Maurice, was added to the Melbourne family. These were wonderful years of friendships, fellowship, and faith.
In 1978, the family moved to Mandeville, where Cavel joined Ian Kelly and the staff of the West Indies College High School. She developed new friendships and endearing relationships. While there in Mandeville, she had her third child, Launice, and she completed her bachelor’s degree in History with minors in Education and Religion. Her friendships with Shezarah & John Carey, Joan Francis, Olga Knight, Claudette Harding, Janett Jackson, Winifred Nugent, Elaine & Newton Hoilette, Lola & Vassel Kerr, Halsey Peat, Owen Roberts, to name a few, were real, sustaining, and invigorating.
In 1982, the Melbournes left West Indies College for Andrews University, where Cavel received a full academic scholarship to complete her MA in History; she published her research on the history of the Pathfinder Club. Her commitment to Christian education is seen in that though the family had scarce resources as graduate students, Cav worked to ensure that the children received a Christian education. She picked strawberries, blueberries, apples and peaches, and did substitute teaching in Benton Harbor, Niles, and St. Joseph School districts to help support the family budget. Cavel trusted God to see them through and saw God’s leading hand in her life. Treasured memories for her were the Sabbath afternoon potluck retreats in the parks adjoining the St. Joseph River, Lake Michigan, and the Sand Dunes.
Cavel cherished her continued friendships with the Smiths, Hoilettes and Gardeners during those years when going to Detroit or New York for holiday breaks was the enjoyable highlight. Additionally, the help and prayers of her sister Cecile, her husband’s sister Sonia, and their mutual friend and brother Ian were among the blessings that helped them to successfully navigate those difficult years.
In 1985, the family moved to Takoma Park, Maryland, where Bertram worked at Columbia Union College and Cavel began working at John Nevins Andrews School in1986. She spent the next thirty years there going from 7th & 8th Grade Teacher to Vice Principal and finally Principal. During some of those years, she also worked as an adjunct professor in the Education Department at Washington Adventist University (WAU). After a long and productive career spanning some forty years, she retired from fulltime teaching in 2015 but remained an adjunct professor in WAU’s History Department.
In addition to her professional career, Cavel also served in the local churches where she held member-ship. At the West Indies College Church, she was as an elder in the Junior Church and served in the Pathfinder Club. At the Wheaton Church she worked in the Sabbath School Department and in the Pathfinder Club. At the Rockville Church, she served in the Sabbath School Department and was known for her intercessory prayers as a strong Prayer Warrior. Even until the end, while in the hospital, Cav joined in the early morning prayer sessions on Tuesday and Thursday and prayed with and for others.
Shortly after 8 a.m. on June 21, Cavel took her final breath. As an accomplished educator, committed churchwoman, devoted family nurturer, and trusted friend and confidante, Cavel was a fitting example of a life well lived. She leaves to mourn, her husband, Bertram; children, Yolande, Maurice and Launice; siblings, Cecile, Velma, Gertrude, Anella, and Keith; nieces, Kadine (Eddie), Kerrian (Alfred), Anielle, Shivonne (Josh), Teegee, Tobo, Terri; nephews, Michael (Cheryl), Christopher, Rafer, Ysa (Marisa), and Nicholas; grandnieces and grandnephews; a host of cousins; adopted children, Alanzo (June), Jackie, Sharon (Andrew), Helen (John), Kenise (Glen), April (Thierry), Ron (Dana), Clausyl (Jackie), Dana, Karohn; adopted grandchildren, AJ, Analise, Pierce, Noelle, and Kaylin; other relatives and friends. Rest in peace, my love. See you in the morning!