Postscript: A short life, long on accomplishments

Candace R. Avents has been described as a visionary - always ahead of her time.

She loved life and lived it with gusto. As a young girl, she would wear a blue sock on one foot, a red sock on the other, and a yellow ribbon in her hair. Vivacious and full of energy, she was an honors student and captain of the cheerleading squad at I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth.

Avents, however, had a serious and thoughtful side. She was a "preacher's kid" and a Christian, who loved children and was in charge of youth activities, Sunday school, children's church, the children's youth choir and praise dance at Suffolk's Little Grove Baptist Church on Old Towne Point Road. Her father, Ralph Richardson III, is pastor of the church.

As an adult, Avents became the director of Children's Youth Education and started the Foundation Learning Center at the church in 2008. Previously an after-school program, she began to provide both before- and after-school care and included academic assistance for young scholars. Her dream was to see the school expand. Then life took an unexpected turn.

Avents was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2012. She was 29 years old.

"Candace had triple negative breast cancer, which seems to affect younger women," said her mother, Lynnette Richardson of Suffolk. "She had surgery and chemotherapy treatments. Then in April 2013 she was told she was cancer free."

Less than a month later, at church on Mother's Day, Avents began to have difficulty breathing. She was taken to the emergency room where the family learned the cancer had metastasized to her lungs. Candace took more treatments, but grew very weak, and passed away Sept. 6.

"Candace often recited the lyrics to the powerful hymn, 'It Is Well With My Soul,' while maintaining a posture of peace during difficult times," Richardson said. "She leaves an unforgettable legacy that will continue through the lives of those who were blessed to be in her presence."

Candace Jamila Richardson was born Dec. 6, 1982, in Portsmouth. She was the youngest of three siblings - including Arminta Richardson Harris of Smithfield and Army Capt. Roderick J. Richardson.

Avents was named an Alpha Kappa Alpha debutante in 2001, and married her high school sweetheart, Detric O. Avents, after graduation from I.C. Norcom High School, in December, 2002.

After the birth of their son, Brendin, Avents earned a bachelor's degree from Liberty University in 2005. A daughter, Breyauna Lynnette was born the next year.

Avents' life was filled with activities. In addition to the family business, C.C. Avents Lawn Care in Portsmouth, she and her husband operated a second business, Simply Avents Inc. Known for "over the top" parties, they assisted clients in planning special celebrations - weddings, birthdays and school events.

Candace joined the Gamma Delta Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha in 2008 and led an after-school Emerging Young Leaders Program for middle-school girls. She prepared the curriculum and was a mentor.

"Darling Divas," presented by Emerging Young Leaders, is for sixth-grade girls at Douglas Park Elementary School and Cradock Middle School, both in Portsmouth. The program focuses on charm, etiquette, goal-setting, raising expectations, volunteering and "lady-like" behavior.

"Candace was a networker, and a business owner at an early age," Richardson Harris said. "She was also a writer. Last April, she sent two children's books to a publisher and one, 'Gimme Will Not Get It,' has been published by Xlibris. Illustrations were done by Clarissa Ferguson, a student under Candace's youth ministry."

The book was dedicated to Avents' son, 10-year-old Brendin, and is about the friendship of two third-graders and the importance of good manners.

Lynnette Richardson was a team captain in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Neptune Park in Virginia Beach in October. More than 200 hours were volunteered collectively by the sorority, the Bank of America, Little Grove Baptist, and Sentara to raise $7,000 to promote cancer awareness and research, Richardson said.

"We started planning for the race last year, and thought that Candace would be here," she said.

The "Smooch Cancer Good-bye" benefit Dec. 7 will feature a night of entertainment with comedian Cletus Kassady, at 6 p.m. at Mount Lebanon Church, 884 Bells Mill Road in Chesapeake. The event benefits the expansion of the Foundation Learning Center at Little Grove Baptist.

"It will be a five-year project," Richardson said. "We want to make sure that Candace's legacy is carried on."

The cost of "Smooch Cancer Good-bye" is $20 for adults; $10 for children. Tickets will be available at the door. For more information, call Detric Avents at 739-6314.

Shirley Brinkley, vptabwriter@yahoo.com

Posted to: Community News Suffolk Community

How to be civil in comments:

 No name-calling, personal insults or threats. No attacks based on race, gender, ethnicity, etc. No writing with your Caps Lock on – it's screaming. Keep on topic and under 1500 characters. No profanity or vulgarity. Stay G- or PG-rated. Read the full rules here.

Daily Deal |  | Promote your business