Life story and legacy of Rev. Dr. Linda Darnell McField

The content originally appeared on: Cayman Compass

Rev. Dr. Linda Darnell McField

Rev. Dr. Linda McField known affectionally by her family as ‘Darnell’ and friends and members of the community as ‘Miss Linda’ was born on January 21, 1953 in Grand Cayman to her beloved mother Murline Gaynell Dixon (nee Pearson) of East End and father Arthur Ransford McLean of North Side.

Miss Linda spent most of her formative years residing in East End with her mother and grandmother, the late Mrs. Florence Jervis. She attended the East End Primary School. She later moved to George Town in the early ’60s with her mother and her stepfather, the late Mr. Rayas Dixon, and her siblings Ronnie, Marita, Robert, Jessica and Rodrick to Shedden Road where the family home still remains. She attended the Secondary Modern School. Her favourite subject was Mathematics which led her into a carrier in accounts.

She was active in all types of sports, with netball being her most favorite. Throughout her early teenage years she worked in various places, with one of the earliest being that of delivering meals to the prisoners at the George Town Police Station; this due to her being a very fast runner and was able to deliver the meals very quickly.

She was always ambitious and wanted to further her education and enrolled in the Sylvia Gills Secretarial School and went onto achieved qualifications as a paralegal. Her first job at the age of fifteen was at Barclays Bank, and then she moved onto Scotia Trust for 3+ years. She later worked with Casey Gill law firm for 3 years, then onto Vampt Motors for 4+ years where she became the first and only female in the Cayman at the time to be Certified as an Auto Parts Technician.

Miss Linda then changed employment to go work for the Fire Department for 10 years, followed by almost 15 years at the Department of Education and lastly at Cayman Against Substance Abuse (CASA) for 15+ years until she had to retire, due to ill-health.

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At all of these places of employment, she earned the recognition and respect of her colleagues. All those who came into contact with her admired her strong work ethics and her tenacity to share her opinion on her strong beliefs of fairness and equal treatment for all regardless of their age, gender, nationality, race or background.

She met her husband, Henry (aka Bunny) McField in 1968, and as their relationship blossomed she always said that she could feel the warmth of his smile in her heart and she knew then that they would share something special many people only dreamed of. He was her love partner, best friend, and confidant for life. Their first child, Delbra Natasha was born in January 1975 after which they dated for another four years prior to getting married in October 1978. Their second child and only son, Eric Estrada, was born in March 1979.  Their third child, Sybil Samantha, was born in July 1982.

She was also a devoted mother to her stepchildren Sarah, Julie, Henry, Thorna and Carson, and never hesitated to refer to them as her ‘children’. She made sure they were involved in family activities and celebrations with their father (Henry B.) along with their siblings Delbra, Erick and Samantha. In her heart, attitude and actions, they were all members of one family.

She attended Chapel Church of God under the spiritual guidance of Pastor Thesill and made the decision to serve the Lord and was baptized in late 1981. She believed that God had plans for her life and she was dedicated to serving Him in any way she could. She allowed her passion to serve others to become her guide for living a purposed driven life and held many different roles in her church family for many years. She served as a Sunday School Teacher and Youth Leader; she sat on the Church Council and serve in many other different roles for almost 2 decades.

In all of her endeavors and travels, she walked side–by-side with her husband and rarely travelled or attended any function, locally or internationally without him being present. She called him her American Express Card, because she would not go anywhere without him. They travelled to Israel, Australia, England, Nashville Tennessee to visit Graceland, Louisiana, Tampa, Houston, Texas, Atlanta, Georgia, Canada and many other parts of the world.

She fondly spoke of their travels to Israel where they both were baptized in the Jordan River and renewed their wedding vows in Jerusalem.

She enjoyed participating in sports, however she had a passion and a strong love for netball. In 1968 she alongside Ms. Lucille Seymour and the late Jean Pierre had their first attempt at forming a charity for the sport of netball.  Despite being unsuccessful, they persistent and in 1977 she was instrumental in the formation of the Netball Association to become an official charity and recognized as a competitive sport for young women. She was an advisor as it pertains to the writing of the bi-law and regulations. Competitions in this sport led the Cayman Islands to compete in England and Australia. She was elated at the level of exposure the young ladies received from their travels and interactions with others, and mostly the opportunities where she could mentor. She not only believed that through sports one builds character, but also through education and the building of self-worth one can be molded, and that was the key role she proudly played. In 2016 she once again was instrumental behind the scenes in assisting in registration of the Cayman Islands Netball Association as a Not-for-Profit Organization. In 2017 she was awarded a Pioneer metal from the Cayman Islands Government during the Quincentennial Celebrations for her contribution to the sport of netball.

In 1978, Miss Linda joined the Grand Cayman Business and Professional Women’s Club and she stated that she believed in its Mission, Goals and Objectives in particular the vision statement which stated “To achieve a just and equal status of women in all levels and areas of society where decisions are taken in true relationship with men, based on mutual respect, for a more balanced and peaceful world.” She strongly believed this organisation could equip her to meet the needs of those who were socially excluded, those who other organizations and service clubs may have ignored from membership. She embraced the opportunity to develop and enhance her mentoring skills to be able to help other women, girls, men and boys to believe in themselves, to hold up their heads and be able to maintain full time employment and become model citizens in her beloved home, the Cayman Islands.

She was very much involved in some of the championing highlighted activities of the BPW, such as the establishing of the Family Resource Centre, the Crisis Centre, Office of Gender Affairs, as well as several local legislations protecting the rights and safety of vulnerable members of our society.

She joined the Special Constabulary when it was established by law on 1 October 1981, along with the late Capt. Theo Bodden, Tommie Hurlston, John Gunter and Rex Crighton.  The purpose of this Special Constabulary was formed in response to growing concerns of criminal behaviors and the police did not have the resources to increase patrol in concerned neighbourhoods. She was sworn in as the SC002, indicating she was the second recruit to be sworn in under the Special Constabulary (SC) and the first female officer. She, along with her colleagues, was trained in first aid, in the use of handcuffs and batons. She was the last of this initial group to serve up to April 2021, when she retired due to her ill health.

During the period of 1986 to 1994, she served as a CASA VIP (Volunteer in Prevention). CASA (Cayman Against Substance Abuse) was a Not-for-Profit grassroots organization that provided substance abuse prevention training free of charge. In 1995, she retired from the Civil Service and took up full time employment as the Executive Director/Counselor. She delivered training to the general public, including schools, churches and the prison.

She was dedicated to the ethos and community-based services values associated with CASA and its programmes and for fifteen years did not take a sick day from delivery services to all of the clients of CASA until a car accident on May 30, 2010 impacted her ability to continue with full-time employment.

Along with her other areas of interest, some of her commitment to community-based initiatives included but were not limited to assisting in the establishing of the Department of Children & Family Services National Parenting Programme to promote responsible parenting; Prison Fellowship; Silent Witness March with BPW; and so many others. In addition, she chaperoned students on a college tour and numerous youth conferences, from Rhode Island to Claremont, California.

Miss Linda had many opportunities to minister to the youth who were incarcerated in Eagle House and Fairbanks, or those who were placed in care at Frances Bodden Girls Home and Bonaventure Boys Home. Over the years, she and her husband assisted family and friends by having some ten teenage girls to stay in their home at various times for up to one year.

Miss Linda always shared that she did not want to live an effective life but to live in the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit. She did not want to be a spiritual underachiever and she wanted her life to be defined by her Lord and Savior. Her heart desired to grow in her faith, so that she could become a whole, properly functioning, contributing, productive child of God whose will was manifested in her life.

With this faith and purpose, for over forty years, she dedicated her life to serving children and was appointed Guardian Ad Litem by the Courts as a child advocate. In collaboration with Acts of Random Kindness (ARK), every Christmas she assisted with providing food, vouchers, and gifts for hundreds of families throughout the Island, to ensure the children in those families would have a truly happy Christmas.

Miss Linda was instrumental in a school-based and individual programme – Kids Helping Kids for Kid’s Sake! ‘Enough Stuff’. The mission of this programme was to help children recognize when they had enough and encouraged them to share their good fortune with those less fortunate than themselves and to change the purchasing habit of the next generation.

Her academic qualifications included a Doctorate in Psychology; Master of Science Degree (Major: Counseling Psychology) and a Bachelor of Theology (Major: Counseling); and she also studied two years at the Cayman Islands Law School.

Some of her lifetime achievement awards included an Ordained Reverend, Pioneer Award for Sports (Netball), Queen Police Medal; Cert. Honors; Certified Protocol and Procedures Officer; Certified Proctor for Walden University; Certified Master Facilitator for Parent Resources Institute on Drug Information; Certified Master Facilitator for Too Good for Drugs and Violence; and Child Month Award.

Although she was admired for her strong contribution to the people of these islands and represented the Cayman Islands with dignity and respect, she would often share that her greatest accomplishments in her life was being a wife, mother and grandmother to her children and being blessed to know her first great grandson.

She was so grateful for the blessings she received in her life and was humbled in accepting the many opportunities she was able to embrace in her lifetime through serving others and allowing God to lead the footsteps of her path.

She loved laughter and never failed to share a good joke every so often.  She truly enjoyed celebrating with her family and close friends, whether it was at a birthday party, festivities at her home, spending Easter weekends on the public beaches, or attending various family activities throughout the islands.

She cherished her friendships with many persons, and consider them to be some of her true friends, namely Debbie Webb-Sibblies, Feleicia McField, Langston Sibblies, Donna Forbes, Lorna Median, Captain and Mrs. Dale Banks, Dr. and Mrs. Courtney Cummings, June Marie Jacobs and Brenda Ebanks, Sharon Smith, Mr. & Mrs. Lavine, Officer Bandfield, Paulette Conolly, Lucille Seymour, Claudia Welds, Brenda Rivers, Ellen Peguero, Beulah McField, Diedre Carmolla, Jen Dixon, Jenny Powery and many others whom she placed close to her heart and prayed consistently for their lives and the lives of their families.

She held on strong to her purpose and even when she was experiencing excruciating physical pain, she always found time to focus on helping someone who turned to her for any type of assistance. She truly believed her purpose was to serve others, to inspire, mentor, uplift and encourage others to reach their full potential.

In all true sense, she was a Royal Highness and Cayman’s Rose, whose light showed strong and consistent, she was not afraid to speak up on behalf of others or for the societal issues impacting the strong Christian values of her beloved Cayman Islands.

On May 26, 2020, she wrote these words:

Our trials and suffering are not in vain, they serve a purpose. God uses them to test and develop our faith. Trials are like a refiner’s fire which removes all our impurities, when we endure it to the end, it proves that our faith is genuine and real, and without real faith, we have no real hope for this life or the next. Furthermore, our trials build our character to conform to the image of Christ. Being like Christ is our goal.

Many of us might find ourselves facing huge storms in life right now. Maybe our storm is caused by circumstances that are out of our control. Maybe our storm is caused by people, broken relationships, and betrayal or hurt that has wounded us deeply. Maybe the biggest storm we faced is caused by the enemy, whose main goal is simply to bring us down, stop us in our tracks from being a light into this world. God reminds us in His word that the enemy’s intent is always to steal, kill and destroy. He will do all he can to prevent truth from being shared, and he is ruthless and cruel. But the storms never have full reign, for right in the midst of it God reminds us we are secured by a mighty God. We may feel some wind, we may hear the loud thunder and see darkness or rain all around us But His covering of protection and love surrounds us and we do not have to face it alone. And in just a short time the storms will pass, the light will shine again and we will be strengthened for a greater work ahead. Brothers and sisters, who are facing hard times – press on. God knows your way and He has a plan. He is with you, Keep on pressing on and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and forever, Amen (2 Peter 3:18).

Left to mourn the passing of this gracious and beloved lady are: Her mother Mrs. Murline Gaynell Dixon, father Arthur Ransford McLean, husband Henry B. McField, children Delbra McField-Jackson, Eric McField, Samantha McField, Thorna Douglas, Mequita Denal, Julie-Mae Brown, Henry W. McField, and Carson McField, sisters Mareta Smallings, Jessica Dixon, Chastine Campbell, Zeta-mae McLean, Anny-Ruth Clark, brothers Ronnie Dixon, Robert Dixon, Rodrick Dixon, and Adreian Rivers, Allon McLean, Alvin McLean.

Sisters-in-law Carlene Davis, Pellar Dixon and Isabel Dixon.

Daughter Candice Forbes and son-in-law Lamar Jackson.

Grandchildren Thomas McField-Brown, Kaitlyn McField, Tristiano McField-Jackson, Ethan McField, Samiya Forbes, Kayla Scott, Rolly Bodden, Chester Bodden, Nathalia Douglas, Tevin Douglas, Cameron Rivera, Elda Green, LaSara Frederick, Mario Dinnall, Denise Brown, Jerry Brown, Betty Brown, Denis Brown, Gauge McField, Gianna McField, Rick McField, Shenique McField, Lydia McField, and Lucas McField. Special aunt Janilee Dixon, many nieces and nephews, cousins and many special friends. and their families

May her soul rest in peace.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The family of the late Rev. Dr. Linda D. McField, we gave thanks to those who visited her at home and maintained contact with her over the last few years, months and weeks during her illness, for those who prayed for her and with her, her physician Dr. C. Cummings, the Doctors, Nurses and Staff of the Health Services Authority, Health City Cayman Islands and Moffit Cancer Center.

Our heartfelt thanks to dearest friend Debbie Webb-Sibblies, Scott at Bodden’s Funeral Home and other staff of Bodden’s Funeral, Pastor Ellen Peguero, RCIP & Police Special Constabulary, Business & Professional Women’s, C.I. Netball Association, Intec, 5 Star Events and Crown Events Rental & Services, and the many other persons who provided care and support to the family. With your help we were able to honor our mother and wife to a high standard as she gave and honored others throughout her lifetime.

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