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Monday, August 5, 2013

Remembering Ernest

Editor's Note: For the first time, I asked someone else to write a post for me. As you will read, Dr. Nanette LeCoat graciously agreed to write this tribute following her trip to Ghana.

We are known to others by the people who have loved us.  I can think of no better tribute to the memory of Ernest Ofusu Amoh (Koby as he was known to his family) than the many wonderful, open-hearted people who loved him.

I did not have the pleasure of knowing Ernest. (I would have had that opportunity come this fall: his name is the first to appear on the list of students enrolled in my Intermediate French class.) Instead, I have begun to know Ernest’s family who live in Takoradi, Ghana.  I share deeply with them the regret that we could not have been brought together during Ernest’s lifetime, nonetheless, the pain of his loss brings with it an unexpected and touching intimacy.   

At a time of great personal pain, Ernest’s father and mother, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins welcomed me into their family with unforgettable kindness and warmth. Ernest passed away on June 6th in a drowning accident in New Hampshire, where his brother, Justice, was graduating from Dartmouth College.  His memorial service was held on July 5 at the Bethel Methodist Church. As Director of International Programs I had the great privilege of representing Trinity University.  

It was a profoundly moving occasion.

Bethel Methodist Church is a very large but simple edifice situated on the busy road leading to the Takoradi airport.  The Amoh family filled the first pews.  Presiding at the service were no less than nine officiating ministers including  the Diocesan Bishop, Rt. Rev. Edward Ofori Donkor. Children from Ernest’s elementary school and his friends from his prestigious preparatory school were there.  Music from the Church Choir, and a Singing Band filled the church to the rafters.  So numerous were the admirers of Ernest’s family, that many attendees were obliged to stand for the service in the courtyards surrounding the church.

What struck me was the depth of religious feeling of the congregation and the admiration and gratitude members of the community so obviously felt for Ernest’s family.  Justice Amoh Senior’s  construction company is vital to the growth of Takoradi’s infrastructure and his family’s personal generosity is felt all over the community.  Like his father, Ernest, had the ambition of being an engineer.  Like his mother, Francisca, he took education seriously and profited from her unwavering encouragement of his success. But beyond his ambition and accomplishments, Ernest had personal qualities that endeared him to all who knew him and testified to the deeply spiritual values of his family.  His optimism, gentleness and faith—all so visible in the radiant smile--are vividly remembered by his friends in Takoradi and in San Antonio.

In September, Ernest’s mother accompanied by her father-in-law, Bishop Botwey, will be coming to visit San Antonio. A memorial service is planned in the Parker Chapel at 1 pm on Sunday, September 8.

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