Obituary of Ava Claire DeVine
“Compassion Has No Limits & Kindness Has No Enemy.” Ava DeVine
On November 20, 1998, God blessed us with our sweet Ava Claire DeVine. Ava was the happiest baby, sweet, so smiley always, and so content. She slept through the night early and easily…until her baby sister Liza came along 20 months later. Nevertheless, the pitter-patter of Ava’s steps from her big girl bed to Liza’s crib gave us unadulterated joy no matter the hour. You see, Ava’s steps were taken in wonderment - always - as she constantly asked, “What’s Liza donin” (doing). Ava was always a light (often times literally!) in our late night hours with our little “monkey” Liza and then later in “helping” with our “who-needs-sleep” Finn. She was the light.
Speaking of “donin,” oh did our Ava so destroy some of her words throughout her life. But incredibly, these instances gave Ava and our tight-knit family joy. The harder she concentrated to get it right, the more she laughed. And once a word was butchered, it stuck. Dyslexia wasn’t a curse. She made it a joy. She and we loved those words one and all. They were pure Ava.
Another oft-repeated phrase from Ava while visiting Liza and then, our Little Finn, at night in their cribs (often before we got there and with the light turned on) was “why’s she/he cryn’n?” Our Ava did not like crying. It hurt her differently. Only as she grew and began to encounter the world would we understand the gift God had given to those who were hurting who encountered Ava. One of Ava’s friends shared with us this week that “Ava was a friend who loved deeply and pursued people who were hurting.” Ava was God’s light in every dark room she entered.
Depending on one’s perspective, Ava’s trip during her Trinity Episcopal School years to Mother Theresa’s Home for The Dying in Haiti could be deemed either darkness or lightness. Babies are there to be cared for as they pass from life to death. Once there, Ava couldn’t leave. She wanted to hold them all and she tried. Ava described trying to hold more than one baby at a time because as soon as she held one, the baby was soothed and as soon she laid one down, the baby cried. From that day, Ava was devout in her plan to give love to the least among us. We thank God for our Angel Ava and for the other saints who are a light in a dark room.
At the conclusion of Ava’s time at Trinity, her peers and teachers bestowed on Ava Trinity’s “Spirituality Award.” Our Ava shyly and humbly accepted what many believe to be Trinity’s highest honor. Trinity believes that true success comes from discovering your unique path. At Trinity, Ava set upon her path and began to focus her light in service.
From Trinity, our Ava went on to Myers Park High School. Her choice. Into the deep end went our beautiful and shy Ava, with few friends coming over from her small school. While there, Ava excelled in and graduated from the International Baccalaureate “IB” program. For some, academics comes naturally. Our Ava had to move mountains. The emotional and intellectual effort she sustained moved us as she methodically applied her unique learning process developed early on at the wonderful Fletcher School. On those many late nights, when we insisted that she had studied enough and had done her best, her sweet refrain was always “just a few more minutes.” It never was. Grit. Pure Ava.
For Ava’s Senior Exit Project at Myers Park, Ava chose to focus her light on sex trafficking. Kiersten and I found Ava’s research so, so difficult to read, but Ava’s light was becoming ever more powerful and she sought out the pain. Due to Ava’s work, Myers Park added sex trafficking to their curriculum. Shining her light in the darkest of rooms. Pure Ava.
While in high school, Ava joined Playing for Others “PFO.” PFO is a service organization where you ask yourself “Who Am I?” and “How do I give of that?” While in PFO, Ava was awarded the Mitzi Corrigan award for those who give time to others in service. Ava’s PFO family continued to help her focus her Godly light in service. She loved her PFO family.
Ava was a photographer extraordinaire and she received awards for her work. Many a friend endured Ava’s photo sessions. She sought deepness. Her walls were covered. Entering Furman University, Ava was awarded with both Art and academic scholarships. This year was her senior year as a Health Sciences major. She was an active member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and was a Best Buddy’s volunteer (which filled her with such joy!). She was in a deep and loving relationship with her boyfriend, Grant Garrett. Grant, you were a strong, warm, handsome, and exceptionally perfect dream of a best friend and boyfriend for our sweet Ava. We could not be more proud of you and we love you so.
One of our sustaining memories of Ava has always been - even from her earliest years - that she so, so loved nature. It was a magical fascination. Ava’s drawers of rocks were comical (don’t think shiny). We couldn’t go anywhere without a rock or a flower, or a photograph of something nearly anyone else would surely miss. It was all wonderment and beauty for our Ava.
Her favorite colors have remained purple, pink, and blue. When asked about colors, she would reluctantly give her preferences, and then quickly add that she loved all colors. Our Ava could never make a decision because it required leaving something out. She did not like leaving anything or anyone out. It hurt her differently. Ava sought out those who were different. Just like her with her rocks, she saw God’s shiny beauty in people, however obscured. Wonderment and complete acceptance of God’s creations. Pure Ava.
Ava was a powerful force in our family and led by example. She has raised up two incredible forces for good in this world in her younger siblings Liza (watch out!) and sensitive and strong Finn. They are already carrying the light for our Ava. Ava loves them so.
On October 11, 2020, instead of Mommy and Daddy holding our sweet, newborn Ava in our arms, it was God’s turn to swaddle her in His loving Arms. The source of all Love. Ava’s first steps with God we know were in wonderment. She was smiley and content. She added her powerful, sweet light to the source of all light. We know that she is telling Mommy, Daddy, Liza, and Finn and all she touched “oh, if you only knew the joy…”
Ava would sweetly and humbly thank those who, if you are called to do so, shine a light in a dark room. Donations in honor of Ava are humbly accepted to the following: playingforothers.org; bestbuddies.org; and Thompson Child and Family Focus (6800 Saint Peter’s Lane, Matthews, NC 28105, memo line: in honor of Ava DeVine) where a designated fund has been established to directly benefit the lives of the girls in the Adira Program who have been released from human trafficking.
Ava is survived by her parents, Paul and Kiersten DeVine; her siblings, Liza and Finn DeVine; her grandparents, Tom and Beverly DeVine, Carol Goode, Danny Goode, and Alice Hoogenakker; and numerous devoted and loving aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
The family will receive friends from 10:00a.m. until 12:00p.m. Saturday, October 17, 2020 at Hankins and Whittington Funeral Service, 1111 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203. Ava loved bright colors especially pink, purple, and blue. She would love nothing more than for you to wear something bright and colorful. Due to COVID safety requirements, a private, family-only memoral service will be held on Sunday afternoon, October 18, 2020 at St. John's Episcopal Church.
A livestream link to the service is https://www.stje.org/funeral beginning at 2:00 pm.
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