Thursday, July 30, 2009

What a man!

What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man!

Daddy would say “Everything in mercy given” and that’s how we have to take this.

Dad lived a great full life. From his fathers’ farms around the town of Egbe, Nigeria, West Africa to the Christian Mission School, to having his father crowned king when Dad was a teenager, to finishing high school at Titcombe College, becoming a headmaster, journeying to America…he had already lived a lively life, but then he experienced America with her grandeur, opportunity and racism. He learned to barber his own hair when a barber shop in Greenville, Illinois refused to cut a negro’s hair. But it turned to his good as things do for those who are called by God, as his white classmates who admired him, marched down to the barber shop to protest. The barber changed his views that day when he saw all those white kids coming at him, but by the time Dad’s friends returned to take him back to the barber shop, he had already learned to cut his own hair using a two-mirror system. He often marveled in years to come at how much money he had saved over the years, cutting his own hair, and then his son’s hair, and he even did his grandson’s hair.

His exciting life was destined to continue as he met the enthralling, Lillian Winbush, my mother. (O.K. I’m going to brag on my mother for a minute because looking up this word in the Thesaurus, as she had taught me to do, to make sure it was right, there she was! Beguiling, action-packed, riveting, absorbing, engrossing, enchanting, alluring, gripping, fascinating.) Life would never be the same again and there would never be a dull moment. Their marriage produced us four – excitement all by itself. Then he went back home with all of us, to his beloved Nigeria and received a roaring welcome from his people of the town of Egbe; the journey of being a doctor in Nigeria began. He became a well-known and an often requested surgeon, studied to be an oncologist and used native herbs to research cures for cancer; being noticed internationally and getting a World Health Organization grant, brought him to the US again. (we all got to come and stay two years. And that was fun). Now at the top of his game as a doctor, scholar and researcher, with a PhD in medicine and with his research being studied around the world, all that was left, was for him to be head of something. So he was appointed the Director of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Research and Training (PIMRAT) at the University College Hospital (UCH), University of Ibadan, Nigeria. So badly did dad not want to be on show and the head of anything, that he would write on his letterhead, where it said Director of PIMRAT, Acting Director.

How could someone with this much work to do have time to be a missionary for the Lord, but he and my mother did it. Our home was often like Grand Central Station as university students walked in and out for bible studies, counseling and some of mother’s fresh baked cookies. University staff came for bible studies – one night for ladies, another for men, a third for everybody; bible study, bible study, bible study. Then he was the chairman of the UCH chapel. No real church building, just the nurses assembly hall, but he ran it like the Chairman of the Board he was. Mother, just like a church’s first lady, ran the Sunday School, sometimes 300 kids strong.

Daddy was not the type of Christian to go door to door to tell people about Christ; he instead walked with the Lord very closely and people learned about his Savior by watching his life. Whenever asked he would tell it all and loved leading another person to salvation. I can only imagine the throng that greeted him up there. That gentle man could be pushy at times and I’ve seen him push through a crowd to get something he or his family needed, so when he got to heaven, last week, he probably pushed through the crowd in heaven, because the only person he wanted to see was his Jesus.

It has been our great joy to share our dad & husband with all of you, here and in Nigeria. We hope you enjoyed him, because we did.

God bless you. If we don’t meet you again down here, may we see you in Heaven.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thank you to all those interested in more about my late dad, Dr. James Iyetunde Durodola.

Dr. James Iyetunde Durodola, was born on November 14th 1922 in Egbe, Kogi State, Nigeria, West Africa, the second son of Oba Owojaiye, king of Egbe. His early education was received in his home state and later at Wesley College, Ibadan, Nigeria. His professional education was culminated at Greenville College, Illinois; Bellevue Medical Center, New York; the University of Saarbrucken, Germany and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

He was the first medical doctor from Egbe. He contributed immensely to the growing body of knowledge in public and community medicine as a senior consultant in oncology at the University of Ibadan. He was research fellow at Harvard Medical School and the Sydney Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.

‘Dr. Jim’ as he was affectionately called, was a Bible study teacher at Lake Anne Fellowship House, Reston, Virginia, for many years.

Dr. James Durodola departed this life on July 2nd 2009 and leaves to gratefully celebrate his long life and his witness for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, his wife, Minister Lillian I. Durodola, daughters, Carroll Ayo Durodola, Rosemarie Ebun Onwukwe, Lorraine Ireti Durodola-Alston and son, James Iyetunde Durodola II, Esq.; son-in-law John Alston and daughter-in-law Christina Durodola. Another son-in-law Emmanuel Onwukwe is deceased. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, two great grand children; four sisters-in-law, Lorraine Brame, Elvera Williams, Vivian Winbush, Marion Winbush and one brother-in-law, Robert Winbush and many other relatives and friends in Nigeria, West Africa and the United States of America.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My dad passes over!

To say I’ve been on a wild ride would be an understatement. But all gets quiet when someone you love passes over into Heaven. It’s beautiful and sad at the same time. On July 2nd 2009, at about 6 a.m. my dad stepped into Heaven to stay. He was 86 years old. Talk about Independence Day! He loved the Lord Jesus with all his heart and had a wonderful intimate relationship with Him. For a large portion of his life he was a Bible study teacher. And he was a prayer warrior. If you had him on your side praying for you, you had great back up.

My children’s book Tunde, the Little Nigerian Prince is based on his life in Egbe, Nigeria, where he was the son of the king, my granddad. Of course I will go on writing about him. I plan on seven children’s books in the series and the next one Tunde, the Little Nigerian Prince and the Soldier Ants, his favorite, has gone on to the publisher, Sweeties Books. I may even write some adult books about him. His full name and title was Prince (Dr.) James Iyetunde Durodola. He was a surgeon who became an oncologist, studying how native herbs in Nigeria could cure cancer. His writings are extensive and are still being used around the world. He loved his people of Egbe and helped in lots of improvements in the town and fought for their rights when he saw they were being overlooked by the government.

So, I miss my buddy already. He was my father and my pal and that is a very unique and wonderful combination and opportunity. I count myself blessed for having this relationship in my life, causing me to grow enormously over the last several decades.

Well folks, I just didn’t want the days to go by without blogging something about this great man and I will say more in coming blogs. Check out the book’s blog, and see how I tell the children about his passing over.

Bless you all!
Princess Ayo