The Grand Banquet Hall at the Grand Masonic Temple on Benson Street, Monrovia, where members of the Order of the Eastern Star (OES) assembled last Friday, reverberated with the reflective and sober hymn, “My Time Is in Thy Hands,” one of the greatest masterpieces of Charles Wesley, brother of the founder of the Methodist Church-John Wesley.
The OES members had gathered to pay their last respects to an illustrious daughter of Liberia and one of the greatest leaders the OES has ever had, Elizabeth P. Roberts, who died in her 81st year. Also in attendance were members of the Masonic Craft, the OES’ male counterparts.
The deceased was the past matron of the Ruth Chapter No. 8, past general Grand Matron and past general Grand Royal Matron of the General Grand Chapter of the OES, of the Republic of Liberia.
Many of the members gathered at the Masonic Temple could not hold back their tears as they sang the hymn. What started as sobs or weeping burst into wailing as mourners remembered the many contributions she made to the revitalization of the organization that went totally dormant as a result of the Liberian civil crisis.
The ceremony was the Memorial Amaranth of Mother Roberts, whose funeral was also being held at the same time at the St. Paul-On-Green Episcopal Church in Norwalk, Connecticut, United States.
The homily was delivered by the Venerable father Elijah Harris, Archdeacon, Grand Bassa Archdeaconry of the Episcopal Church of Liberia. He said the deceased truly lived an impactful life, indicating that he is a testimony to her kindness and generosity. “She was a beloved mother to me and many of the children who were under her tutorship as a teacher.
He preached on the theme: “Taking a Positive Decision,” with text taken from 2 Corinthians 4:6-10. He said that he is of the strongest conviction that Mother Roberts has a crown of righteousness. Quoting the bible, father Harris said, “Death to a good man is his/her relief from the suffering to heavenly enjoyment of eternal life.
He remembered how she had told them in their 2nd grade class at the Buchanan Demonstration School that amongst them were great, great people – a prophecy he said has actually come to fruition as many of his colleagues, including himself have lived up to that expectation.
In a eulogy, Rev. Dr. Lawrence K. Bropleh, a former student of the deceased, described her as an absolute timeless icon. Quoting Philippians 1:21, he said, “For me to live is Christ and death is gain.”
He asked rhetorically, “what do educators get? For me, ‘to live is Christ’ was solidified by mother Elizabeth – an educator par excellence. We at the Demonstration School in Bassa were not just students, but her students and children,” he added. “Instructions were of quality, care a priority and teachers were dedicated
He also said that Mother Roberts was his mother’s best friend, even serving as Mrs. Bropleh’s Maid of Honor during her wedding. He described both women as earthly saints. “They walk without you hearing their steps. She didn’t make mistakes by association with people.”
The son of the deceased, Augustus Roberts said his mother was an amazing woman of great faith, while also describing her as an extraordinary woman. “Her love for people and children makes her a true star,” he said. “She never separated my father’s children.”
He also said, “She was a woman of principle; was never late. My mother lived her life and has earned her place in heaven so it is now left with us live exemplary lives too and make this world a better place for humanity. ”
According to Cllr. T. C. Gould, the late Elizabeth Clarke-Roberts joined the Ruth Chapter No. 8 of the OES in Lower Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, at the tender age of 18 and her dedication and hard work led to her election as Worthy Matron, and subsequently General Grand Worthy Matron in 1989 and in 1990.
The deceased was a renowned educator. She was Vice Principal and Principal of the Philips Preparatory School and Principal of the Buchanan Demonstration Elementary School. Affectionately called “Taryee by her friends and associates, Mother Roberts was born on March 17, 1936 in Hartford, St. John River City, Grand Bassa County. Her parents were Rev. and Mrs. Joseph Clarke.