Merva Lee Rochester- Buchanan, age 52 of Westfield, Wisconsin, passed away at the Marshfield Medical Center on Friday, January 1, 2021, where she was surrounded by her loved ones. Merva was born in Mandeville, Manchester, a calm parish located on the beautiful island of Jamaica. She was the first child of Daisy Wright- Orridge and Kermit Augustus Rochester.
Merva worked as a teacher for twenty years at the Kidd’s Basic school, where she got promoted to principal. In 2008 she earned her diploma. Merva then went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College. Caring for children was her passion. She also took delight in helping those in need in her community. Merva enjoyed traveling to different countries, crocheting, going to church, interior decorating, cooking, playing the keyboard, and spending quality time with children, grandchildren, and friends.
Merva felt strongly about education, and from a very tender age, she excelled academically and displayed exemplary conduct. She got featured in the local newspaper for having one of the highest exam scores, which landed her a spot in the prestigious high school known as DeCarteret College. Merva was a woman of many talents. Throughout her high school years, she was not only a scholar but a talented runner. Merva has seven siblings and she was a vital part of her family. She would tend to her six younger siblings while her parents ventured off to work, and she did several odd jobs to generate additional income to help meet the rising needs of her family. Merva was close to her siblings. She had a special attachment to her charming, younger sister Cherine. They would often converse on the phone for hours at a time laughing uncontrollably.
At the age of twenty-one in the year 1990, Merva welcomed a booming baby boy named Troy Buchanan. Shortly after the birth of her first child, Merva relocated to a neighboring parish known as St. Catherine. Life as a young mom was challenging, but she remained steadfast. There she started as a cook at a small, underprivileged school. Seeing that there was a dire need for improvement, Merva began reaching out to different organizations to raise funds. She raised enough funds to renovate and expand the school. Upon receiving the proper certification, Merva began working diligently as a teacher at this elementary school.
In 1998 Merva married her first love with whom she had her first child. That following year in 1999, they welcomed a beautiful baby girl named Rajeana Buchanan. Merva was passionate about having a career guiding the youth, and she took great pride in being a mother to two lovely children. She encountered multiple obstacles along her journey. Her motto was, “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward through the night”- Henry Longfellow.
Merva traveled to college two hours away in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica. She endured arduous nights of traveling and studying, all while working a full-time job as a teacher and caring for her two children. She emerged victorious with her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She earned an award for being the advanced reading specialist of her graduating class. It was not easy, but after the battle, Merva reaped the rewards of her hard labor. She had a strong Christian faith and was an active member of the Linstead Baptist Church.
In 2010, Merva was diagnosed with breast cancer. With a heightened zest for life, she traveled to Canada and Florida. She migrated to the United States in 2015. In 2016 Merva had her second battle with cancer. She had been through so much, nevertheless, she did not let her struggles define who she was and how she lived life.
Merva loved her grandchildren (Alexandria, Aleeyah, Amiyah, Troyana, Mellina, and Landan). She was known as a superhero grandma because she always had everything they needed in her handbag, like extra clothes, a pacifier, wipes, diapers, and food. Merva began working as a certified nursing assistant at the Lakeview Rehabilitation Center in Westfield, Wisconsin in 2019. There she held a special place in the hearts of many residents and workers. She was a hard worker. Merva’s smile was as bright as the morning sun and one could witness a glimpse of her soul when she smiled. Those who met her could feel the intense sense of unconditional love that she generated through her mannerisms.
Merva had a welcoming spirit and she believed that God gave the hardest battles to the strongest soldiers. 2020 was the hardest year for Merva. She had two major surgeries in the space of ten months. Merva gave cancer hell, she fought with everything she had. She spent Christmas with her children and grandchildren in her cozy home filled with love, laughter, and the aroma of delicious food. She never wanted to stop taking pictures. Merva was deeply loved and she will be sorely missed.
Those that left the Earth before Merva are her parents Daisy Orridge and Kermit Rochester. Survivors include her two children Troy (Katie) and Rajeana (Kobe Mulcahy), six grandchildren, seven siblings (Keith, Cherine, Charmaine, Clive, Orville, Garfield, Ronald), cousins, uncles, nieces, nephews, other relatives, and close friends.
A private visitation and service for Merva will be held at Faith United Methodist Church in Westfield with Rev. Joan Frost officiating. Burial will be in Westfield South Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials would be appreciated to the family.
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