Marva Espeut had two passions in life — the wide open sea and football.
It was hard to tell which she preferred as she pursued both with seemingly equal vigour.
The sea, for her, was the source of her bread and butter, venturing almost daily into its deep in her canoe hoping for the prize catch.
She was a fearless seagoing fisherwoma', the captain of her vessel of male colleagues, who had nothing but respect for their fearless leader as she led them weekly to the distant cays.
On the football side, her dogged life at sea has prepared her to be a champion in a male-dominated world. Marva Espeut was no pushover.
She was known to speak her mind and to defend those principles she thought to be right. She rarely loses a cause, unless it was not one capable of being won from the outset.
When Espuet's body would have settled in its final resting place today in her home parish of St Thomas, her legacy of hard work and unflinching dedication will be engaging talking points for a long time to come.
Espeut passed away on August 30 from a heart attack — and only something as massive as that could have brought this tireless mother of three to such a pre-mature end.
At only 52 years old, it would not be considered out of turn to say she was cut off in the bloom of her life.
Apart from spearheading the development of women's football in the parish, Espeut was coach and manager for Lyssons Football Club, which she guided to two Major League titles, plus other cups and honours.
While she clearly showed a commitment to the overall development of football in the parish, her true love was Lyssons FC.
Whenever she launched her fishing boat from the white sandy shores of Lyssons, she was not only setting sail to earn a living for her family, but also her beloved football club which she helped to sustain with proceeds from her catch.
As the story goes, there are times when family ran a close second to the interest of football. Still, commitment to family was beyond question as she was mother, father, brother and sister to her flesh and blood.
To her football family, she was everything to everyone.
With fishing and football a family business, Espeut's daughter Camille Gray appears to be the one who looks likely to pick up where her mother left off.
"I am doing everything to follow in my mother's footsteps... I am involved in football, plus I am involved in the fishing business. When my mother couldn't go to sea, I am the one who goes and take care of the business," said the 21-year-old.
And she remembers her mother this way: "She was a very rough coach, very determined to do well. She's a fighting woman, always working hard to look after us."
Gray is the outstanding player of St Thomas Strikers, the parish's team that competes in the Sherwin Williams Premier League.
Though St Thomas Strikers did not impact the women's league in terms of victories since coming on stream in the past couple of years, Espeut found great satisfaction in the single fact that her hard work paid off, because she transformed a dream into a reality. Finally, St Thomas had its women's team.
At the time of her death, Espuet was working to expand female football by strengthening the programme within the schools. Also, the visionary had proposed to align St Thomas Strikers to a club instead of it being directly accountable to the St Thomas FA, lessening the burden of the latter.
With her two Captain's Bakery and Grill Major League titles won with Lyssons in 2008 and 2010, no one dared doubt that she could single-handedly bring success to the women's programme.
That mission was well underway until fate intervened in a cruel way.
In recognition of her work, she was appointed to the Elaine Walker-Brown-led JFF Women's Committee.
"What can we say about Marva Espeut that is not positive from a football perspective? She was a champion for St Thomas football on a whole, and there are great stories of the personal sacrifices she had made for the development of the sport.
"Also, she must be recognised for leading the charge, along with president Wayne Thompson, in developing the women's programme in the parish... the St Thomas FA as an honour to her work must immortalise this woman in a substantial way, because, trust me, there may never be another Marva Espeut," said JFF president Captain Horace Burrell.
Espeut's eldest child, Dwayne Thompson, said his mother was his first football coach and mentor. "She was very passionate about everything that she did. If she can't give it 100 per cent or more, she would not do it," said the 32 year-old corporal in the Bristish Army.
Her other child is Ramona Gayle, who is 29.
St Thomas FA boss Thompson had no difficulty finding words to describe Espeut's good deeds, for they were so numerous.
"Marva's contribution to the development of football, particularly the women's programme, is unquestionable. Since her appointment as a director to the executive of the St Thomas FA in 2009, she has worked tirelessly and gave generously from the proceeds of her business to support the football at all levels.
"Marva's contribution to the development of the women's programme in the parish was the primary reason for her appointment to the national women's committee for almost two years. Marva's contribution will be missed and the void that is created cannot be easily filled at this time," Thompson told the Sunday Observer.
Speaking on behalf of fellow St Thomas FA past president Alfred Pennant, Anthony Hewitt said Espeut's passing had come as a surprise.
"The passing of Marva Espeut is very shocking to us. She worked with us in the football community for many, many years and she was dedicated to working with the youths in the Lyssons community through football," said Hewitt.
"She loved the sport and was not concerned with getting any form of rewards. Her greatest joy was to see the game develop so that the players and the community could benefit," he added.
Espeut's body will go to Mount Olivet of the Living God at Seaforth for viewing between 10:00 am and 11:00 am today. The memorial service will commence at Lyssons Pavilion at 12 noon.
Interment takes place at the family plot in Johnstown, St Thomas.