Rosalyn Brenetta McCarthy, age 70, took her last breath, on Thursday, April 18, 2019 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, surrounded by her family. She was born on April 8, 1949 in Roaring River, St. Catherine, Jamaica to Alexander and Zerepath Evadnie (Butler) Brailsford and was the youngest of five children. Being a typical youngest sibling and resident tattletale, her older siblings were not always keen on hanging out with her. So, in her early years, she often amused herself with her best friend and dog, Puppy Douglas, as well as her imaginary companions Mrs. Moncrieff and Little Darling. They would have tea parties, adventures in the yard, and were inseparable.
Rosalyn maintained a strong conviction around the importance of education. She earned a CODE scholarship which allowed her to be admitted to Priory High School in Kingston. She graduated from Priory in 1969 and was an engaged student having participated in netball and track and field. Years after she had birthed her children and established roots in the United States, she decided to further her education. Through determination and admirable perseverance she obtained certification in Diversity Training Studies, First Line Supervision from Montgomery College, and graduated from the University of Maryland University College with a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management and a minor in General Management. While holding down a full time job she attended graduate school at Capella University. In March 2017 she graduated with a Master of Science degree in Human Services. These accomplishments aligned with Rosalyn’s passion for people, especially those who are marginalized and underrepresented. She had a focus on fair employment for all and a desire to support elders in aging in place rather than spending their days in nursing homes or other facilities where they could not regularly enjoy the comforts of home and being surrounded by loved ones. She was also certified as a professional coder with the American Academy of Professional Coders and worked as an accounts receivable specialist and medical claims processor for more than 20 years.
Rosalyn always had great ambitions and dreams for herself and her family. In 1984, she left Jamaica for the United States hoping to create a better life for herself and her young son Aleck. She joined her future husband Cecil stateside in 1984and worked initially as a nanny for a family that lived in Washington, DC. She worked diligently and provided generous support for those around her including her husband-to-be whom she had provided a five dollar bill when he first migrated to the U.S. By 1992 she was able to secure a visa for Aleck to move to the United States and join the rest of her family including Cecil, and their two daughters, Kerrie and Tiffany. She emphasized the importance of education and skills-building to all of her children and invested in the opportunities she knew would help them flourish in their future careers.
In her spare time, Rosalyn enjoyed being involved in the communities around her. She served as a volunteer mentor for young single mothers in Montgomery County, helped cook and served food at the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, and tutored English as a second language student from China through the Literacy Council of Montgomery County. Rosalyn was a communicant member of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and was involved in a Faith Group as well as acting as an usher at the 9 a.m. mass. Just as in other areas of her life, ministry and having a heart for others was at the center of how she liked and chose to spend her time.
Most of all Rosalyn’s steadfast faith in God has shone through. Her faith has been the foundation for her can-do attitude. She always loved to be up and moving, from tending to her garden, to getting out to enjoy entertainment and the company of others. No matter where she went she did it with a smile that so many, including the doctors and nurses who worked with her in recent months, remember and admire. Her faith has been the basis for her awe-inspiring peace. During the roughest times of Rosalyn’s journey with cancer she repeatedly spoke of God’s grace, mercy and power. Even while many who loved her were confused and lost at times, she remained focused on the goodness of the Lord.
Rosalyn is survived by her husband Cecil, three children, Aleck, Kerrie, and Tiffany, grandchildren Aiden and Aquil, siblings, Iona and Leslie, and nieces and nephews, Mark, Sean, Claudine, and Collette, and their loved ones and significant others. Rosalyn is forever deeply loved and missed by all her family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (https://themmrf.org/get-involved/donate-to-the-mmrf/) as we remain hopeful, as Rosalyn did, that a cure will be found for this disease.