Amb. von Ballmoos Laid to Rest

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The mortal remains of Amb. Rudolf P. von Ballmoos was on Saturday, January 9, buried at the Kaiser Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Brewerville, outside Monrovia.

He was Liberia’s Ambassador to the Court of Saint James in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. He also had concurrent accreditations to the Vatican and the Sovereign Military Hospitalier Order of Malta.

Before the remains of Amb. von Ballmoos, who was the eldest of six von Ballmoos sons, was taken to the cemetery, a national funeral service was held at the First United Methodist Church on Ashmum Street, in the heart of Monrovia.

Preaching the funeral discourse on passages from the books of Matthew and Hebrews, Rev. Dr. Erlene P. Thompson, read: “It’s appointed unto man once to die, after that the judgment.”

Rev. Thompson told the audience that though the day was a difficult one for every Liberian gathered in the church, they should nonetheless accept it as “the will of God.”

Speaking on the theme, “When the Clock Strikes,” the Right Rev. Thompson admonished the congregation that when it strikes, positions are lost. When the clock strikes, we have got to answer the call of death. When the clock strikes, there is no second chance. When the clock strikes, there is no work to be done.”

She continued, “When the clock strikes, our hands can no longer move. When the clock strikes, our voice can no longer be heard. When the clock strikes, our position is given to another person.”

According to Rev. Thompson, the death of another person should remind those alive that their days are drawing closer, too.

However, what matters, according to the Methodist preacher, is dying in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is giver of life and who has assured His followers that they are sure to live again.

“We must prepare ourselves for Jesus’ coming. Like in Matthew 25:10, He is the bridegroom and could come at anytime without any of us knowing when.”

Following the sermon, Acting Chief of Protocol, Mr. Charles H. V. Allen, read the Liberian official gazette in which the Liberian government described its fallen diplomat as an administrator, a patriot, career diplomat, statesman, devout Christian, dedicated and distinguished public servant.

Paying the official tribute for the Liberian government, the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Elias Shoniyin stated, “The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning,” a verse from the book of Lamentations 5:15.

Min. Shoniyin said that passage of scripture describes the government’s feeling since the passing of Amb. von Ballmoos. He stated that news of his passing was a shock to the government because of the monumental loss of his demise.

“The late Amb. von Ballmoos was one of Liberia’s astute diplomats, who served his country with outmost dedication, commitment and loyalty. He was one of the outstanding new breed of Liberian diplomats, trained in the art and practice of economic diplomacy,” Min. Shoniyin stated.

According to Min. Shoniyin, Amb. von Ballmoos’ performance in the nation’s economic diplomacy was “exceptional, bringing great economic dividends to Liberia and its people.”

The Frist United Methodist Church, the University of Liberia Alumni Chorus, the Nebo, Lavala and Von Ballmoos families, also paid tributes.

In her tribute to her father, Ms. Nicole Tinisi von Ballmoos, the only child of the late Ambassador, bade him farewell. She broke down in tears many times during her tribute.

The late Ambassador began his public service career as a cadet in the Department of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from October 1979 to December 1982. In July 1986, he began his Foreign Service career under the tutelage of Ambassador Willie Givens at the Liberian Embassy in London, United Kingdom, as Second Secretary/Vice Consul and rose to the rank of First Secretary. He was later transferred to Geneva, to the Permanent Mission, as Counselor.

The Chairman of the National Transitional Government, Mr. Charles Gyude Bryant, appointed him Ambassador to Ghana in 2005. He remained in that post until July 2013 when President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf appointed him in 2014 as Ambassador to the Court of Saint James in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

Ambassador von Ballmoos died at the Epsom General Hospital in Surrey, London, on Thursday, December 19. He was 56. He was born on July 9, 1960 unto the union of Mr. Rudolf von Ballmoos and Mrs. Anges Nebo von Ballmoos in Philadelphia, United States of America.

He leaves to mourn his wife, Mrs. Angie Kolue Nyenemah Lavala von Ballmoos; five brothers: DeWitt Ben Bella (Rhonda), James (Mariam), Rupert, Rory (Claire) and Ron von Ballmoos (Anne) and a host of other relatives.

Mrs. von Ballmoos, who didn’t speak at the church, had told newsmen and women on Tuesday, January 5, during the Book of Condolence signing in the Foyer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that her late husband was a servant and a leader.

She stated that her late husband served the nation to the end, adding: “I am a protégée of my husband’s service to nation.”

In his acknowledgment, Mr. DeWitt Ben Bella von Ballmoos, brother of the deceased, thanked the government and others for the enormous outpouring of love, concern and gifts since the passing of the late Ambassador.

Government officials attending the service were led by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, who were the first to view the remains of the deceased when the casket bearing his mortal remains was opened in the church.

As a mark of last respect for the fallen Liberian diplomat, the President ordered that the National Ensign be flown at half-mast from all public buildings in Montserrado County from 8a.m. to 6p.m. on that day; and that while his remains were being borne to the cemetery for interment, his personal salute of 17 cannons be fired at intervals.

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