Mrs. Selina Garmai-Yuku Lape Nelson
(December 15, 1945 – January 10, 2019)
It is with immense sadness and the heaviest of hearts that the Nelson, Lape, Washington and Randolph families announce and mourn the passing of our family matriarch Mrs. Selina Garmai-Yuku Lape Nelson (lovingly referred to as “Our Ma”), whose soul departed this earth on Thursday, January 10, 2019.
Born unto the union of Paramount Chief Worlorbah Lape and Krubor Solopogee-Lape in Duogomeh, Zorzor District, Lofa County, on December 15, 1945, “Our Ma” spent her early years in the loving embrace of her parents and her extended maternal and paternal relatives in the aforementioned Duogomeh as well as in the surrounding towns of Kahzah and Borkeezah, where the age-old adage “it takes a village to raise a child” was strictly and joyfully adhered to, and throughout her life she often spoke of the profound and lasting positive impact her familial upbringing had in shaping her mindset, demeanor and comportment.
“Our Ma” spent her formative academic years at the Zorzor Lutheran Mission School, where she completed her elementary and junior high requirements. She then matriculated at Ricks Institute, near Bomi Hills Highway in the Monrovia suburb of Virginia. A person of distinguished academic achievement, and great interpersonal skills, she flourished at Ricks, regularly earning scholastic recognition, serving in the school choir and winning a number of beauty pageants. She often spoke nostalgically about her Ricks Institute years as being among the most memorable and indelible. Upon her graduation from Ricks Institute in 1962, she settled into life in Monrovia, continuing her studies at the University of Liberia and pursuing distance learning courses (then referred to as correspondence courses) in management, business administration and human resources, through various American and European universities, as she prepared for life as a professional woman. She began her career at the Trading and Development Bank of Liberia (TRADEVCO) in the mid-1960s, initially serving as a teller and then as an administrator in the human resources division. It was during this period that she met and eventually married (on her 24th birthday, December 15, 1969) the love of her life, and one of Liberia’s preeminent national security and intelligence experts and later a highly regarded foreign service professional (Ambassador T. Boye Nelson, Sr.) with whom she would spend 39 years in holy matrimony, have three sons, and be separated from only upon his death in December 2005.
After six years at TRADEVCO Bank, she transitioned in the early 1970s to a public sector administrative role in the Customs and Excise division of the Ministry of Finance, where she served in various capacities – both at the headquarters of the ministry and at its National Port Authority (NPA) location. She returned to TRADEVCO Bank in 1981 to lead the firm’s human resources division as its vice president. In 1987, the firm expanded her responsibilities to include the vice presidency of its public relations division. She would hold both titles (VP of Human Resources and VP of Public Relations) concurrently until her husband’s poor health and progressive ailment forced her early retirement in 2003. Her husband often commented that his success, both personally and professionally, was due in large part to her encouragement and unwavering support, and that their success as a couple was a result of his penchant for strategy and her talent for implementation and execution. “Our Ma” was a God-fearing woman, who was rarely ever seen without her bible or a stand-alone, fully extracted copy of the book of Psalms. She ended practically every telephone conversation with her loved ones by leading a prayer, and regularly sent text messages replete with bible verses in an effort to remind them of the omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience of God.
From her union with Ambassador Nelson, she had three biological sons and one adopted daughter – Thomas Boye “T. Boye” Jr, Andrew Forkay (Caroline), Charles Sonpon (Lawrene), and Musu. Through them she was blessed with five grandchildren – Michaela Andrea, Kelly Nicole, Thomas Lawrence, Joy Garmai Angel, and Charles Thomas “Cha Cha”.
She was also a proud mother to her husband’s children – Eleanor Munah, Regina Tarlorh, Sophie Teetee, Christian Kofa “Nokofo”, Oretha Jugbeh, Geide-de, Winston Jerboe, Angeline and Mhasnoh – through whom she had twenty-six additional grandchildren, several great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
Additionally she reared or held responsibility for dozens more, including her brother Henry (Annie Kotatie), her nieces Weedor Pluvah (James Sackie), Musu Evangeline (Varney Kemokai), Tina-Mamee, Sonii, Saybah Cleopatra, Blay-Teetee Amba, Medina, and Ina, her nephews Teahgbaeklay-Ku “T-Ku”, Jerboe Teplah “JT”, Kotee and Mendscole, her junior-aged uncle Flomo Geazi, and a host of other family members, all of whom maintained close ties with her throughout her life and are mourning her loss.
In addition to the aforementioned family members, she also leaves to mourn her loss her brothers David, Peter, and James, and her sisters Ophelia (Henry), Kebbeh Talawo, Saybah and Rebecca, as well as her uncle Flomo Washington (Clara), her brother-in-law Blamoh Nelson (Cllr. Elizabeth B. Nelson), her sister-in-law Elizabeth Nelson, and dozens of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends former colleagues and well-wishers throughout West Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. Her sisters Kebbeh Wovlee, and Yongor, and her brothers Moses, Abraham and Kolubah predeceased her, as did her uncle Isaac Randolph, and her parents.
The extended family is grateful for the show of support and the expressions sympathy we have received in the wake of Our Ma’s passing. The many stories of her kindness, unceasing acts of good neighborliness, and selflessness being relayed to us by strangers on a daily basis stand as proof that she was indeed everyone’s mom: OUR MA. We appreciate your continued prayers as we prepare to commit her soul to our Lord and Father God Almighty.
Funeral and Home-going Schedule
Friday, 1st February, 2019
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Quiet Time and Viewing – Open to Family, Friends, and Well-Wishers
St. Moses Funeral Home
Topoe Village (Somalia Drive), Monrovia, Liberia
Saturday, 2nd February, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Ebenezer United Methodist Church
Lynch Street, Monrovia, Liberia
Immediately following service(approximately 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.)
Brewerville, Margibi County, Liberia
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Administrative Town Hall at Tweh Farm
Bushrod, Island, Greater Monrovia, Liberia
Charles Sonpon Nelson – 011-231-886-541-211, 011-231-775-554-819
Blamoh Nelson and Cllr. Mrs. Elizabeth Boryenenneh Nelson – 011-231-777-871-019, 011-231-886-512-519
Thomas “T. Boye” Nelson, Jr. – (301) 806-8461
Andrew Nelson and Mrs. Caroline Nelson – (240) 328-2815
Henry Lape and Mrs. Annie Lape – (301) 758-4717
James Sackie and Weedor Sackie – (857) 417-5882
Christian Nelson – via WhatsApp (301) 367-8067