The Mt. Carmel AME Church, situated on the main street of Arthington in rural Montserrado County, was filled to capacity over the weekend as relatives, loved ones, friends, and sympathizers gathered to celebrate the peaceful home going of the oldest Liberian in the Diaspora, Teacher Parthena Laura Graham Askie.
This outstanding centenarian, one of the oldest Liberians, died on July 6, 2018 in Ellicot City, near Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America. Her body was flown into Monrovia last week for burial, in accordance with her wish.
Parthena Laura Graham Askie, direct descendent of Alonzo and Robert Branch Sr., was born in Arthington on November 22, 1912.
She was the last child of Laura Wright and Richard Graham. Until her death she was the oldest living heir of Hoggard, Branch, Laura Wright and the Stewart families.
She was a mother not only to her one biological child, Mrs. Bernice Eastman, but to many whom by way of nurturing, she adopted along the way. Among those she touched were her many grand, great grand and great-great grandchildren—four generations, a unique privilege granted to few people, only by God Himself.
Pastor Patrick Charles Luke, Sr., grandson of the deceased, delivering the funeral discourse over his grandmother, Madam Parthena Askie, said it was important to know what it means to depart the world at the age of 105.
Preaching from Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians 1:1-20, Pastor Luke said there are two things in the world that Christians need to understand — the purpose of life and of death. When God’s purpose for those who truly believed him and live according to his will is accomplished, there is no need to hesitate, for God will always stand by that person and protect him or her in every way.
Referring to his grandmother, Ma Parthena, the preacher declared that “She lived as a true follower of Christ.”
“My grandmother was a true believer of Jesus Christ. As such, she had lived for 105 years, which means that, according to the Bible, she exceeded by far the three scores and ten. My experience with her was basically in the area of discipline, which made me to become who I am today in the society.
“One of the most important things I missed her for was the numerous pieces of advice to us on how to become a good Christians. She motivated us; and never spared the rod for all those she loved and cared for.”
A good Christian, Pastor Luke told the funeral audience, will always seek God’s face in everything he or she does. That was her major priority. It is this example of hers that we need to follow, focusing on her contributions to the church and humanity. God was pleased with these contributions, and that is why He so richly blessed her with long live and caused her to live so long—105, in good health and a sound mind. This is something that most people will not be able to accomplish.
Mother Askie was exemplary, distinguished woman, a disciplinarian and a God- fearing person. She kept her life very simple and the secret of her long life was the way she carried herself. She lived with dignity and respect; and even at the age of (100) was remarkable, and could still remember names and birthdates as well as telephones numbers of families members.
Her granddaughter, Madam Mcleod Turkett Darpoh, led the family in paying tribute to their beloved grand, great grand and great great grand mother. Many of the grand, great grand and great great grandchildren attended the funeral.
Mother Parthena was married to the late Thomas Charles Askie, until his death parted them. She loved, served and cared for her family with great dedication, and she credited her stepmother, Ma Nancy as she was affectionately called, for her early teachings of learning, a woman Mrs. Askie described as especially kind. They shared closeness up to Ma Nancy’s death thereby, endearing ma Nancy’s children to her: Henry, John Henry, John Winston, Margaret and Margaret.
The Arthington Reconstruction and Development Association honored her with their gifts of love, and a plaque which she truly cherished.
Mother Askie served in civic positions and the church until traveling to the United States with her children in 1991.
She was blessed to have served the AME Church all of her adult life from construction to structural, organization and program development of the Church, pioneering services in every capacity and every stage of development.
She enjoyed entertaining bishops, pastors and all who were in any way connected with the growth of the Mount. Camel Church and school in the Arthington.