Myrtle Estelle DunbavinJanuary 15, 1930 ~ November 27, 2017 (age 87)
Myrtle Estelle. Dunbavin, beloved and loving mother and grandmother, fell asleep in death in Washington, DC on November 27, 2017. She was born January 15, 1930, in Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI as the only child to Theophilus Dunbavin and Carmen Tutein. She spent most of her formative years in St. Croix under the care and tutelage of her “Auntie”, Theodora A. Dunbavin, a renowned US Virgin Islander and honored educator. Under her Auntie’s care, she developed a thirst for knowledge, an adoration of literature, reading, and poetry, as well as a love for music - especially when singing, playing the piano, or composing original music.
Her childhood years in St. Croix were divided between two well-known areas: La Grand Princesse (“Princesse”) and Gallows Bay. School days in Princesse were mostly spent with Auntie as well as her paternal grandparents, John and Louisa Dunbavin. Most weekends found her running around in Gallows Bay with her maternal grandmother, “Mudda”, Albertha Ingerman, her Great Uncles, her many same-age uncles, aunts, cousins, and her maternal grandfather, “Daady”, Alvariz Tutein. She is preceded in death by her parents, her Auntie, and most of her childhood playmates from the Tutein family.
Myrtle graduated with the Christiansted High School Class of 1947, of which she was the Class President and musical composer of the Class Song “Adieu Dear CHS”. After graduation, she went to New York where she earned her nursing degree, the first degree of many. During those early years in New York, she also joined the highly regarded Octavia Morris Glee Club and became a classically-trained soprano. In December1953, she performed her first “Song Recital” in Manhattan, NY.
It was during this period with the Morris Glee Club that she met a young, handsome, and equally talented Joseph Amos Blyden from St. Thomas, USVI. They were married on March 26, 1951, at the 4th Moravian Church, NY, NY, and had two children a girl and a boy. She is survived by her daughter, Joanne M. Blyden and her only grandson, Geoffrey Dunbavin Eaton. She is survived by her son Michael J. Blyden, his wife Marlene Anne Blyden, and her two granddaughters, Breauna Dominique Dunbavin Blyden and Carmen Micayla Dunbavin Blyden.
Myrtle began her early professional career as a Registered Nurse at the esteemed Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, NY. She was beloved by all the doctors, nursing colleagues, hospital administrators, and especially the many patients for whom she cared. In addition to nursing, her thirst for knowledge led her to follow in her Auntie’s footsteps to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and subsequently, a Master of Arts degree in Guidance Counseling. In the late-1960s, she was employed by the VI Department of Education as an English Literature teacher at Central High School, Kingshill, St. Croix, where she helped mold many young minds to be critical thinkers. From 1972 through the mid-1990s, she continued her career in education as a Guidance Counselor at the Pearl B. Larson Elementary School. Thereafter, and until her retirement in 2004, she continued helping to develop and guide young minds throughout the entire island of St. Croix in her capacity as a Diagnostician with the Educational Diagnostic Center in Princesse.
In addition to her immediate family members mentioned above, Myrtle is survived by numerous first, second, third, and fourth cousins of the Tutein Family, including Willard and Jenny, John and Kendall, Andreas and Debbie, Marilyn “Myree” and Saturnino “Ning” Ramos, Girda (California), Rebecca “Becky” Cornelius, and Dr. Ruth Beagles. From the Dunbavin Family, there are two known cousins, Mavis Hennesey of Sion Farm and Donald Thomas of Brooklyn, NY. She is dearly remembered by childhood friends from the Francis Family of St. Croix, Josephine Francis Clark and family, Bronx, NY and Larry Francis, Brooklyn, NY. Her life course is also memorialized by dear friends Carolina Slater (Chicago, IL), Noelina Donaldson, former colleagues from the Educational Diagnostic Center, her caregiver/friend Junie Williams of Continuum Care, Inc and Junie’s children Anisha and Ajaha who learned to love her as a grandmother. She maintained friendships with many others in the community such as Miguel Figueroa, Cauldric “Cal” Jones, Patrick George, Alphonso Brewster, Shirley Boyce, and Stewart “Lloyd” Wilkinson; friends that supported her in various ways.
While visiting the U.S. mainland she also developed close relationships with many including Michael and Barbara Givings, Jennifer and Madison Givings, Kenneth and Francine Nowlin of Virginia , Cynthia James of California. All of these friends acknowledge that Myrtle was a very kind-hearted and loving soul. Her spirit was willing, her mind was sharp, and she was quite the comedian throughout her entire life. She is missed by all who learned to love her.
A memorial service is scheduled on January 3, 2018, at the James Memorial Funeral Home, La Grande Princesse, at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation for hurricane disaster relief to the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands | Donate to a Fund We invite all of Myrtle’s family and friends who wish to comment to post a “Tribute” on the Everly Wheatley Funeral Home, Alexandria, VA. web site.