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Mary Tarley Koon

This is to announce the home going of Mary Tarley Koon (affectionately known as "Borbor-dee") of Greenville, Sinoe County, Liberia. This occurred on October 18, 2005 at 10:30am at the Redemption Hospital on Bushrod Island outside Monrovia, Liberia. She was in her 85th year and spent the last few years at the Kangar estate house in Dwala. Borbor-dee was a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She had several children (four pre-deceased her, including the late Lt. Colonel Isaac Kangar, Sr., the late Sarah Kangar, the late Borbor Kangar, the late Cheanyonnah Koon). She leaves to mourn her children Rebecca M. Teah, Izetta
Kangar Nyemah, Delstina Kangar Siedio, Annie Mannah Jayploh, Nelly Kangar Jarbo, Mary Kangar Saydee, Charlotte Kangar, Nancy Kangar, Robert Kangar, Abraham Kangar, Joseph Kangar.

Borbor-dee's also leaves many grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Liberia and the United States. She will be laid to rest in Liberia and funeral arrangements are currently underway. To express condolences to the family and for funeral details, please contact:

  • Ms. Izetta Kangar Nyemah: 718-287-5406 or (011231-6-468-202 after October 25, 2005)
  • Ms. Delstina Kangar Siedio: 718-978-2248 (or 011231-6-468-202 after October 25, 2005)
  • Ms. Cerelia Jabbah, Granddaughter: 763-560-5851
  • Mr. Henrique Caine, Grandson: 301-834-3744
  • Ms. Sarah Kangar-George, Granddaughter: 763-208-3945

Obituary Note--Remembering "Borbor-dee"
By Henrique Caine

We called her "Borbor-dee", which means Borbor's mom in her native Kru dialect. Borbor was an uncle who pre-deceased our grandmother many years ago, and was her first male child. His name stuck with her for life.

Everyone called her Borbor-dee.

Her real name was Mary Tarley Koon or Ma Tarley to some, and although we do not have a precise date of birth, we estimate that she was about 85 years old, because she always said she was told that she was born when the "German ship came to Liberia." The German ship she's referring to was a German naval vessel that stood of the coast of Liberia (according to historians sometime between 1918-1920 during the first World
War).

Our grandmother had eight biological children, including my mom (four of her children pre-deceased her). She was one heck of a farmer and could plant potato greens and cassava under the ocean and it would probably grow. I couldn't begin to count the grandchildren and great grandchildren. Unfortunately because of the lengthy civil war in Liberia, as is the case with other families, many of us had to grow up apart.

I visited Liberia four times within the last two years and during my recent trip, I was able to spend time with her and enjoyed her company. She even joked with me and said in her broken English, "I wan go with u to merica, take me with you to merica !" Those last moments were precious and I will always remember her. She would do her Kru jiggle dance when she saw me coming, despite the frail state old age brings, she rocked her waste all too well. She would have us dying with laughter with that jiggle dance.

She visited us in the United States in 1988-89 for about nine months, and absolutely hated the elevator in our high rise New York apartment building, not to mention the subway trains we'd take when going to her doctor visits. To poke fun, we would often take her down "for a walk," just to marvel at her in the elevator on the ride up and down. She would threaten to beat us in her Kru dialect--"namu blaa-ho" ! She never did beat us, but my guess is she probably laughed in her heart when ever the elevator ride ended. But more so than the elevator ride to the twelve floor, Borbor-dee hated it when we got home from school and told her emphatically that we were NOT hungry, or worse yet, had some junk food (cookies, etc.) in hand when walking through the front door. She hated that because, as any good grandmother, she loved watching her grandchildren eat a good home cook meal and not the "street junk" kids tend to like. That's a farmer-grandma for you. Rest in peace Borbor-dee!