Paul Okoth Owuor (27th September 1927 to 1st September 2010), the practical man who never made a fortune nor noise but left a rich legacy
There is nothing that I can say to fit everything that my husband Paul did for me and my children. He gave my children the best education he could afford and took great care of me.
Until today I have a lot of pain in my heart and my only consolation is that we shall meet again in heaven! Rest In Peace my beloved husband. Theresa Wanjiku Okoth
Standing at the railway station in Turbo in what is now Uasin Gishu County one fine afternoon in the year 1956, Paul Okoth Owuor saw a beautiful young woman who had just alighted from a train. Being the practical man he was, there and then Paul made up his mind that this was the woman he was going to share his future with. The lady – Theresa Wanjiku Rogara- was returning home from Bura Girls in Tana River where she was a student.
Buoyed by his natural born self-confidence and the fact that he was a brainy chap, he followed up this movie-like love at first sight real life drama by offering to help the lady carry her bags home. There Paul met Theresa’s elder brother and introduced himself. This established a long lasting friendship between the two men and Paul would get to see the love of his life as often as he wished whenever he visited the brother.
A man born with a lot of humour in his bones, Paul would retell this story with a lot of flourish over and again because it ended in marriage for the two lovebirds and from it came nine children- Agoro (RIP), Isabella, Monica, Bernard, Lucy, Clement, Agnes, Irene and Fidel Castro plus fourteen grandchildren including Tracy, Doreen, Lorraine, Claire and Amanda Ragumo.
Paul was born on the 27th September 1927 to Mikaheli Owuor and Rosaliya Nyaweni of Mahero in Alego Kaugagi. He attended Mahero Primary School, St. Mary’s Yala and Makerere University in Kampala Uganda graduating in 1969.
Paul was the pillar of his family. He cared deeply for the well being of all his family in particular and all other people who sought his guidance especially in academics. He was a very humble and friendly person.
He resided with his family and took it upon himself to teach them what he thought would do them well in life. According to daughter Agnes (Alecki), “My dad taught me how to eat fish and in particular obambo, alongside my brothers. Whenever fish was cooked (often) he would always share his plate with me. (My mum and some of my siblings, cannot and will not eat any type of fish to date).”
There were evenings for Geography and History lessons in the home and the good man even introduced his children to Shakespeare’s plays at a very young age. He loved quoting famous writers and was capable until his demise of reciting large sections of Alexander Pope’s work.
One of his favorite quotes was, “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep or taste not the Pierian Spring. There shallow droughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again”, among many others. He could recite Macbeth like a joke – off head!
Universities in America and Britain not to mention locally have both current and former students who credit their success to his wise mentorship. He sought and got scholarships for many.
He worked with the Ministry of Cooperative Development, Shell Company and lastly Egerton College because he wanted a job that could put him in close proximity to his family.
Paul Okoth Owuor passed on 1st September 2010, 26 days short of his 83rd birthday. His loving wife of 55 years Theresa Wanjiku Okoth was by his side when he took his last breath. He actually asked her to go cook eggs for him. When she returned he had gone!
I admire the relationship my parents had. My dad was a very humorous person. He gave my mum pet names which he used whenever she was upset. One was Obwogo (surprise) and the other Oguyo (butterfly) among others. My mum struggled with pronouncing some Luo words. (She speaks fluent Luo – RESPECT!!). He would make her repeat the word for ages until she would rebel and refuse to continue. And at that moment he would start praising her until she laughs.
Paul Okoth Owuor May have meant something to each and every single one of you who knew him personally; to us, his family, he was our EVERYTHING. A father, a brother, a loving husband, a friend and a confidant.
Dad, it’s been 10 years since that fateful morning that you went to be with the Lord. We remember you with great nostalgia. We remember the selflessness you portrayed throughout your life with us here on earth. The sacrifices you made for all of us to get quality education. You extended this to even relatives. You were a great provider, you gave your all. The advice you gave so lovingly and freely. Always putting us first in everything you did. You were a great Dad, brother, uncle and grandpa and a friend to many both young and old.
We lost Baba 10 years ago but it feels like yesterday. There was so much kindness, simplicity and goodness in him. Baba you had a cheerful spirit that carried the day no matter how grave a situation it was!
Everyone mattered to you, bringing in many people from all walks of life into our lives. The door was always open. You made many friends. We remember your great sense of humour. The many times you made us laugh. Your endless stories of growing up in Alego in dire circumstances, the long walk to and from school bare foot. Many dropped out but you endured and of your better days in Makerere University.
Dad, you were a walking encyclopaedia. You hated spelling mistakes and wrong grammar. Something my siblings and I strive to maintain and uphold. But death did all that death can do and you are now resting in eternal peace. We will always miss you. You may be gone but you live in our hearts forever. Continue resting in peace.
This month is also your birthday. But you are not here…. you are long gone….It is well…. Jalego was a rare kind of man. Once in a lifetime experience. A walking dictionary. A Shakespeare die hard fun. Polished yet humble. Fondly remembered by your loving wife Theresa Wanjiku Okoth (USA) children Isabella Brown (USA), Monica Sigei (USA) Bernard Okoth Odongo (USA), Lucy Kasure Abungu (Kilifi), Clement Ochieng Okoth (USA), Agnes Achieng (Nrb) Irene Kamau (USA) and Fidel Castro Odhiambo, grandchildren, relatives and friends. NInd gi kwe Baba. Forever missed and loved.
TRIBUTES—AGNES ACHIENG OTIENO Née Okoth
Our daddy bequeathed us many gifts and things in life. They range from spiritual gifts to wisdom of life lived in the light and spirit of God. This saintly man shared with his family and community whatever God let pass through him to others. Among these was the love of education, love of neighbour, and the vocation of family. I have borrowed from some of the writings I know he loved to share with us and in particular, I, his first born daughter. I hope that they give you a glimpse into the richness and blessings of his life together with his family.
“Matter is the kingdom of the Earth,
which in time passes away;
but the Spirit is the Kingdom of Light.
In this body I offer sacrifice, and my body is a sacrifice.”
………. Adopted from The Bhagavad Gita.
“Jesus alone IS; the rest is NOT”
……… Adopted from St. Therese of the Child Jesus
“Saint Paul says that he that is joined or united to the LORD becomes one in Spirit with Him and that for me to live is CHRIST and to die is GAIN”
……….. Adopted from St. Teresa of the Holy Face.
“The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.
Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
For thou art with me;
Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life:
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD FOREVER.
……………… Psalm 23 (A Psalm of King David)
May our daddy a saintly man enjoy divine LOVE, LIGHT, AND A TRANQUIL LIFE IN GOD’S HEAVENLY ABOARD FOR ALL ETERNITY!!!
In the love of Christ always,
Isabella, Aziz, and Courtney (on behalf of the Brown Family).
He never made a fortune, or a noise
In the world where men are seeking after fame;
But he had a healthy brood of girls and boys
Who loved the very ground on which he trod.
They thought him just a little short of God;
Oh you should have heard the way they said his name–‘Father.’
There seemed to be a loving little prayer
In their voices, even when they called him ‘Dad.’
Though the man was never heard of anywhere,
As a hero, yet you somehow understood
He was doing well his part and making good;
And you knew it, by the way his children had
Of saying ‘Father.’
He gave them neither eminence nor wealth,
But he gave them blood untainted with a vice,
And the opulence of undiluted health.
He was honest, and unpurchable and kind;
He was clean in heart, and body, and in mind.
So he made them heirs to riches without price–This father.
He never preached or scolded; and the rod–
Well, he used it as a turning pole in play.
But he showed the tender sympathy of God
To his children in their troubles, and their joys.
He was always chum and comrade with his boys,
And his daughters–oh, you ought to hear them say ‘Father.’
Now I think of all achievements ’tis the least
To perpetuate the species; it is done
By the insect and the serpent, and the beast.
But the man who keeps his body, and his thought,
Worth bestowing on an offspring love-begot,
Then the highest earthly glory he has won,
When in pride a grown-up daughter or a son Says ‘That’s Father.’
Poems of experience. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Dedicated to Dad by Bernard Odongo Okoth -Son
Mom, Brothers and Sisters, Uncle Sebastian Aunts Alice, Kezia and Rebecca Cousins , our children Ladies and gentlemen,
Whenever I talked to Dad which was quite often, a feeling of helplessness, fear and worry would overcome me.
Vincent, Irene,Clement and Emmah would always remind me that God is great and that he did not need my help in healing baba.
That all I could do is trust in the Lord and lean not on my own understanding and boy, was it hard!!
On September 1 , 2010 my world crumbled when I heard that Baba was no longer with us. The day I had dreaded so much was here.
I asked myself how I would go on without you Daddy. I wept and cried and wept some more. I still have my moments from time to time, but it is getting better each day.
I started rewinding conversations I had had with Dad lately and I realized that he had said goodbye to me in very subtle ways and i thank God for that.
I would like to thank God for giving us an opportunity to have such an awesome Dad!!
Our Dad always kept his palm open. As it was given unto you, you gave to others.You were such an inspiration!!
You had a great sense of humour and a devoted love for Mama and us.
You were strong smart and thoughtful.
Thanks for believing in our dreams and desire to further our education.
Although you are gone your spirit lives on!
I will forever hold on to my childhood memories with you and cherish and celebrate each memory with great fondness.
I will share a few of them now.
I remember you listening to Benny and I read the ‘hubayas’ ( monsters) story.
You singing with us songs we had been taught at school.
I remember you and Mama listening attentively as I practised my pieces on my recorder over and over and when I got tired, I would forget a key and start rattling !! You and mama would laugh in unison and ask me to take a break and start again when I got back from playing with my friends.
For parents day and Prize giving day, thanks Daddy for showing us support by attending with Mama.
You are the first one along with mama who introduced us to Jesus .
I remember kneeling down along with my siblings and you and Mama would be on either end of the pew sandwiching us in the middle!
Although we would have sore knees from prolonged periods of kneeling, it was time well spent! ‘kongoi Baba’.
I could go on and on. I guess what I am trying to say is thanks baba for learning with us, playing with us and goofing of with us.
You are the best and I love you to bits and pieces,I always will.
I want to thank Mama for always saying as little as possible,there for making it possible for Baba to get our undivided attention, which he so much needed.
Baba you did not just live you thrived!!
When all is said and done and this life is gone all that matters, is how well we loved.
Baba you had a gift to love and you loved well.
I will miss you dearly but I am comforted that we shall meet in eternity.
For now I can only wait for God to heal my heart and only time will bring about that healing.
Romans 8:38-39 (King James Version)
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
From Monica Sigei & Family.
We are reminded to be thankful to God – Always ……!!!
The bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT): “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
In Isaiah 40: 6-8 (NIV), the same bible which is the Living Word of God further enlightens us that:
“All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
Therefore, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”(Ephesians 6:10 – NIV) . (Jeremiah1:12 – ERV): “Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I watch over my word to perform it.” For surely, as – He said to Jeremiah, “I watch over My Word – the living Word to perform it, He shall surely, do the same for you, and your loved ones, in – all your circumstances much more so, in these unprecedented times the World is, and, will be facing, in the coming days.
Therefore, Only, Trust and Obey Him, in – in all your circumstances for it will be your sure ticket to success. To death: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55 – NIV).
Father we Thank You, not just, for the gift, of our earthly- dad, whom, you knew better than ALL of us, and in your foreknowledge, you predestined to us, as the perfect choice for us, as – our earthly father. But, much more so, for the awesome God – you are, to – ALL of US – as your children – World Over!!! You who is a “Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy.” Ps. 68:5 Father we take nothing for granted, and ask you receive our thankfulness and – As – The Sea Of Humanity, We Give You – ALL – the Glory and Honour!!!
Your loving Son, Clement Okoth
This is my tribute to my most wonderful daddy
My greatest fear was to lose my dad because I did not know how I would handle it or what impact it would have on me. But I can say that with God’s grace I am stronger than I could ever imagine.
Dad, you were full of life and humour and we will all miss you dearly. You were the best dad anyone would ever want. You believed in giving your children the best education which is the reason we are what we are now. No words can even express you well enough. You touched so many people’s lives in so many ways and changed them for the better.
Throughout my dad’s illness I kept on ministering to him and my mother up to his final moments. I kept encouraging him and giving him hope. I was very strong for him through the strength that only comes from knowing God. During his final moments and not even once did I show him fear! I told him not to look for any comfort in man but only in our Jehovah God who is our God of all comfort.
When I received the news of dad’s passing on I was not shattered as I thought I would because God had given me the strength to endure.
All the same I thank God for everything for his mercies endure forever.
This leaves us with one question- who do you turn to in your darkest moments in life? The answer is our lord Jesus Christ who can never leave you nor forsake you.
For what then if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed let God be true but every man a liar, as it is written in Romans 3:3-4
Dad, I know you were very proud of all of us and I will make you even more proud all the days of my life. You instilled very valuable qualities in each one of us and I thank God for all the years he gave you to us.
My final words to my dad was that he would live like a king when he would be crowned in heaven.
Dad, you have now received your reward in heaven! Even though you are physically gone, spiritually your life continues in us.
Death is not final for it is through death that we are born into eternal life.
I will always love you daddy!-
Your loving daughter Irene.
Until We Meet Again
My loving Uncle Paul, those special memories of you will always bring a smile.
If only I could have you back for just a little while. Then we could sit and talk again, endless wise talks we always had, just like we always did.
You always meant so much to me and always will. Your empathy, selflessness and above all rekindling lost hopes was unmatched; making you a rare fine man.
The fact that you are no longer here will always cause me pain, sweet pain because you are forever in my heart. You had all answers, even for your imminent departure.
The wisdom and courageous heart you instilled in me makes me a strong shoulder to lean on today.
But you’re forever in my heart until we meet again.
Nephew Charles Thakanio Kaharuka
I had a wonderful grandfather. a man with a heart of gold. My earliest memory of him is of how open and jovial he was, like Santa. He loved books and we spent many evenings learning something new from his encyclopedias. Me, reading aloud excerpts as he corrected my English. I loved that most about him, his unquenchable thirst for knowledge. He was also the only grandpa I knew who was learned. He graduated from Makerere University when Makerere was Makere. He spoke the Queen’s English and I loved listening to him talk.
To the greatest grandfather, there ever was. May I honour your memory in all that I do by staying true to all that you taught me.
You will always live in our hearts. Love, Granddaughter Tracy Otieno
This week, we are commemorating a decade since you left us. I lived under your care for the entire 18 years that our lives coincided. I recently realized that 18 years was not enough time, and I wish I got more. But God saw you were tired and needed to rest.
But in this short time, I learnt a lot from you. You made me love Geography at an early age. Also, I could spell words that most of my age mates couldn’t.
At 83, you had reached a proud and honorable age. You had an iron will, and you remained tenacious even in challenging situations. You had sufficiently proven that you valued me, and I thank you for that.
Without you, dear grandpa, none of us would be where we are today. Yes, as your grandson, I have to say it today.
You showed courage, grandpa when you laid the foundation stone for our family. Thank you for your effort.
Rest well. I will never forget you. Your loving grandson Paul Owuor
You were strict and you loved books. You instilled in me the culture of reading since you always made me read to you whenever I visited you and corrected me when i was wrong. Thank you grandpa for being a role model to me at such a young age. Rest in eternal peace.
Loving grandson Joshua Abungu
Although I was young, I still remember how you used to make us read for you books and teach us correct pronunciation. With love you showed us how. You were such a disciplinarian and you have moulded me into what I am today.
Thank you grandpa. May you continue resting in heaven- Dorcas (Dodo} Abungu
A giant pine, magnificent and old
Stood staunch against the sky and all around
Shed beauty, grace and power.
Within its fold birds safely reared their young.
The velvet ground beneath was gentle,
and the cooling shade gave cheer to passers by.
Its towering arms a landmark stood, erect and unafraid,
As if to say, “Fear naught from life’s alarms”.
It fell one day.
Where it had dauntless stood was loneliness and void.
But men who passed paid tribute – and said,
“To know this life was good,
It left it’s mark on me. Its work stands fast”.
And so it lives. Such life no bonds can hold –
This giant pine, magnificent and old.
This touching funeral poem reminds us that even though he may be gone, our Grandpa will always be with us. Every beautiful thing that we see and experience will remind us of his eternal love.
Your loving granddaughter Claire Lashaun Otieno
Although I may not have many memories of you, I know for a fact that you were A good loving and kind father to your children especially my mother; and that I am very grateful for.
I wish I had more time to get to know you but I know for sure that you are still watching over us everyday. We miss and love you a lot Grandpa.
Granddaughter Amanda Ragumo Otieno