Mr. Joseph Wesseh Teh, My Friend and Brother for 37 Years

By Joe Bartuah*

The Late Joseph Wesseh Teh

On a very somber occasion like this, what more can one say? I must first of all, acknowledge the presence of everyone here and immensely thank you all for identifying with us at this tough, tough hour.

If I had the fluency, if I had the eloquence, I would have better told my Joe Teh story. My Joe Teh story is a story of exceptional courage amid adversities and a story of virtue and abundant love. My dear brother who lies here was a great man. You know greatness, the sages have told us from millennial that, is not necessarily measured by the height one attains in life, but mainly by the depth from which one rises.

Like some of us here today, Joe was born in the remote part of Liberia, a starkly under-developed country, yet he came to the city and made his marks. Joseph Wesseh Teh was a great man because he was a powerful gentleman. Most often many people tend to misconstrue being powerful as possessing the capacity to intimidate others, to inflict pains and sufferings on innocent people or simply being inhumane and brutal.

If that is your definition of being powerful, then my dear brother was not a powerful person from your perspective, because he was a man of peace and serenity. Of course, possessing the capacity to inflict harm on others is not my definition of being powerful. For me, a person being powerful means a person possessing the capacity to positively influence others and that’s how powerful Joe Teh was.

I can boldly say with certainty that by being contagiously friendly, my dear friend and buddy, Joe Teh was very powerful. By being all-embracing, by whole-heartedly welcoming everyone that came in his life without any reservation, Joe Teh was powerful. By accepting every child in his home, whether biological or not, by treating everyone with utmost respect, my dear friend and brother was powerful.

He was powerful because he conscientiously set good examples for others to follow. He was powerful because he was a man of abundant love for his fellow human beings. And because he was imbued with abundant love and kindness, the Lord Almighty blessed him with a life partner who unquestionably demonstrated her TRUE LOVE for her beloved husband until the very end. When Joe passed away on February 17th, we issued a press release, in which we indicated that he had been very active in the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA), the umbrella organization of Liberian journalists here in the United States.

What the press release did not say is that his dear wife, Mrs. Jemima Teh had been the crucial facilitator of his participation in ALJA activities, especially in the last four years of his life. It has been Jemima, along with their boys, especially—Josh—who has been pushing and pulling the wheelchair.

In other words, my sister never said, “This is America; don’t bother me” or “America that equalizer.” Put another way, she never quit, despite the difficulties. Instead, she went the proverbial extra mile to make her dear husband happy.

You know, I still have a vivid memory of the pivotal question that triggered this enduring courtship and partnership: It was like: “My man, who is that fine girl?”

My buddy posed that question to me more than 35 years ago. You know, this gentleman was a sharp shooter and he had an eagle’s eye; he knew what he wanted and he was determined and resolute. Those were the days when my sister’s pearl was sparkling, glittering; we all were in our twenties then and everyone was bubbling with vigor and enthusiasm. In response to his question, I told him that my sister was a professional nurse, a product of TNIMA (Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts) and she was single and the rest is history.

You know, the Holy Bible, in Proverbs 12:4, says that an excellent wife is the crown of her husband. Folks, in as much as we have gathered here to reflect on the life of our brother, we must also acknowledge TRUE LOVE. Thank you so much, Aunty J, for holding on, in spite of enormous adversities. You have been a courageous and faithful life partner. And to you my dear brother,

Thank for being the gentleman you were.

Thank you for being a man of peace you were.

Thank you for being the lovely husband, father and grandfather you were.

Thank you so much for interweaving so many lives of diverse backgrounds.

Thank you for bringing together so many people through the exemplary life you lived.

Now as you take a rest among our Ancestors, the entire family joins me in saying, rest well until we meet again.

Visited 80 times, 1 visit(s) today

Comments are closed.