Benjamin Jlay Dies

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The death is announced of Mr. Benjamin S. Jlay, Secretary to President William R. Tolbert Jr., Secretary to the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (LBMEC) and Assistant Registrar at Cuttington University College (now University).

This sad event occurred on January 29, 2016 at 2:15 a.m. at his home at Moulton Corner, Brewerville, in Montserrado County.

A product of Cuttington University and Cornell University, where he took his Master’s degree in Agriculture, Mr. Jlay also served as Secretary to the LBMEC, during which time he authored most of the Convention’s projects.

He also served as Superintendent for the Baptist schools as well as Superintendent for the Kwendin Baptist Vocational Training Center beyond Tappita in Lower Nimba County.

He taught at Ricks Institute and was at Ricks when Charles Taylor was a student there. He remembered Taylor as one of the most troublesome students on campus.

Following the 1997 election in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf lost to Charles Taylor Mr. Jlay also worked with her, writing agricultural project proposals.

Mr. Jlay was married to Mrs. Eudora Nyanford and to this union two children, Bendora and Benjamin Jlay Jr., were born.

Benjamin Slebbo Jlay was born in Tappita, Nimba County, where his father, Dowlor Jlay, was an elephant hunter. His mother was Madam Jayqui (see white people) Jlay. The name was given her because when she was born, a ship landed in Greenville, and there were many white people aboard, who came to the beach.

Both Mr. Jlay Senior and his wife hailed from Taryuwon, between Juarzon and Butaw in Sinoe County. But being an elephant hunter, Mr. Jlay Senior traveled to many places, and while they were in Tappita, there Benjamin was born.

Benjamin started his education on the ENI Mission in Tanneh Weah Town in Juarzon, founded by Mother Elizabeth. Among his schoolmates was Bishop Marwieh.

Benjamin then entered Sinoe High School in Greenville, where he completed his secondary education. In his senior year he introduced Vice President W.R. Tolbert, the guest speaker. The VP was impressed with Benjamin Jlay’s performance and awarded him a scholarship to attend Cuttington College and Divinity School, where he graduated in 1962.

Survivors include his widow, Madam Eudora Jlay; children: Mrs. Bennetta W. Tarr; Claudius Major; Alfred Major; Andrew Jlay; Mrs. Maude M. Daniels; Mrs. Casselia M. Goodlin; Joseph Sherman; Mrs. Lucinda Jlay Payne; Olubi, Timothy, Lucretia Sarah Jlay; Mrs. Bendora Jlay Brown; Benjamin Jlay Jr.; Mrs. Johnetta Jlay Sumo, and Ophelia Jlay.

All of Benjamin Jlay’s brothers, including the famous Albino, Newspaper George, predeceased him.

According to his daughter, Lucinda Jlay Payne (Ma Lue), the general family meeting is scheduled for this Saturday, February 6, at the Jlay home in Moulton Corner, Brewerville.

Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

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