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.


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