The fallen Liberian media giant, Professor James Kpateh Wolo, who died on September 9, was a man who used his creativity to unify Liberians, Mr. Moses Sandy, president of the Association of Liberian Journalists in Americas (ALJA), said in a tribute at a memorial service on October 1 at the Devine Mercy Catholic Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Mr. Sandy narrated to the gathering of former Liberian journalists, how in the 1990s, when the civil-war raged and hope was dim, Prof. Wolo, using a platform through the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), gave positive thoughts that gave encouragement and hope to Liberians that all was not lost.
“He was inspirational on the radio program with his ‘Thoughts for Today’, which was aired to the comfort of his listeners at such a difficult time in Liberia,” Sandy said. “He also used creative writing skills to educate, entertain, and unify Liberians during the civil war when peace was most needed.”
Sandy said, “We, like the Wolo family and the families of other deceased journalists, are distraught, but we take consolation in the immeasurable contributions Mr. Wolo and the others who predeceased him made for the betterment of our native Liberia.
“We are proud of the outstanding services they rendered our people and country. They were the voice of the voiceless in our country.”
The ALJA president told the gathering of mourners that the Liberian society has lost a towering development communicator and an erudite writer; and that Prof. Wolo, like his colleagues who recently predeceased him, including Oscar Dolo, Togar Lawrence Randall and Mamadee Diakite, helped bridge the communication gap in Liberia.
“They played meaningful roles in shaping the Liberian political landscape. By Liberian standards, the late Wolo was an accomplished journalist, writer, administrator, and professor. He reached the pinnacle of his journalism career,” Sandy noted.
He recalled that Prof. Wolo opened doors for many Liberian journalists, “including me, who passed through his hands. At LBS, when Mr. Wolo was Director General, several LBS staff, on the basis of competence and commitment, got promoted to various managerial positions in the news and radio departments.”
Prof. Wolo was humble, jovial, supportive, caring, and knowledgeable in the performance of his duties and he hated bigotry, arrogance and a condescending attitude, Sandy told sympathizers.
Sandy said while saddened by his demise, it is comforting to know that his time spent with those he worked with was memorable and he would always be remembered for his humanity to all he met.
“We empathize with your agonies, but all is not lost. May the Almighty God grant the entire bereaved family the strength and courage as you mourn the home-going of our beloved boss and professional colleague,” Sandy stated.
Prof. Wolo died on September 9 at the JFK Medical Center after a brief illness. He held several high profile positions in the Liberian media, including Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT); Director General, Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS); Professor, Development Communications, Mass Communications Department, University of Liberia, among others.
He was buried in Johnsonville Cemetery on Saturday, October 1. He leaves to mourn his widow, Priscilla B. Wolo, eight children, several grandchildren, brothers and sisters, nephews, nieces and a host of other relatives and friends in Liberia, the United States, Ghana and other parts of the world.