Beryl Ethelinda Roach was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, on October 20, 1922, at 39 Greenwich Street. She was the second oldest daughter of the late James H. Roach and Ethelinda A. (Niles) Roach of Barbados, West Indies. She was sometimes affectionately known as Sister or Aunt Sister to countless friends and relatives.
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In 1937, the family moved to Haskins Street. Beryl attended the Boston Public Schools—Asa Gray, Hyde School and in 1941 graduated from the High School of Practical Arts dressmaking program. After graduation, Beryl attended the National Youth Administration and was trained to run several machines. She worked as a machine operator at the Charlestown Navy Yard and was a member of the American Rosie the Riveter Association.
After World War II, as a gifted seamstress, she worked in the garment industry for over 25 years and sewed for family and friends. In the mid sixties, when the garment industry began closing down in Boston and moving to the south, Beryl took civil service courses at Boston Clerical. In 1969 she began working for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Revenue as a clerk and retired in 1991 as a Tax Examiner I.
Beryl devoted her life to family, church and community. She loved to travel and always wanted to know “where are we going next”. She also loved to grow plants. Beryl was raised in the St. James African Orthodox Church and was a devoted member and tireless worker. She taught Sunday School for many years, was a member of the Vestry from 1983 and became treasurer in 2005. After the closing of St. James AOC in 2015, she joined St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church and was a faithful member until her passing.
A life-long resident of Roxbury, in 1969 as a result of the City of Boston’s urban renewal plans for lower Roxbury, she became a founding member of the Madison Park Lower Roxbury Community Development Corporation. For over 40 years she worked as a member and for over 20 years a board member of that organization to fight for not only better, affordable housing but for home ownership for the residents who were displaced as a result of urban renewal. As one of the original members, in 1997 the Madison Park LRCDC and its affiliates honored her for her many years of service by naming their first rent-to-own property after her. Beryl Gardens, located on the corner of Shawmut Avenue and Madison Park Lane in Roxbury, consists of 20 new, limited equity cooperative town houses. The first cooperative and owner occupied facility to be developed by MPDC.
Beryl received an award from Boston’s former Mayor, Thomas Menino, for her work with MPDC; three awards of recognition from MPDC for her years of service, a Legacy Award and an Ambassador of Peace award from the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace.
Beryl was predeceased by two sisters, Emy Louise Marshall and Phyllis M. Donelan, and a brother, Horace L. Roach. She is survived by her devoted daughter, Diane M. Davis; two grandsons, John A. Davis (Lynette) of Boston and Jeffrey A. Davis (Angela R); of Cambridge; three great granddaughters, Angelica D, Jeffiany A. and Sarah L and a niece, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.
There will be a Viewing on Saturday March 30, 2019 from 10:00 to 11:00 followed by Funeral Service at 11:00 at St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church 1073 Tremont Street, Roxbury, MA 02120
Interment: Oak Lawn Cemetery