The funeral of Deaconess Mother Winniedel Suakweli, at the St. Peter Lutheran Church in Sinkor on Saturday, January 20, brought together members of seven parishes, other organizations, family, relatives, and friends.
For three long hours, mourners delivered tributes to her memory. Deaconess Suakweli was described as one of the strong auxiliary members of the St. Peter and Barnersville Lutheran churches for many years.
A discourse delivered to an emotionally charged congregation by Rev. Isaac Sando Dowah, Pastor – in – Charge of St. Peter Lutheran Church, on the theme: ‘Life in Christ Makes the Difference,’ said “Every second, minute, and every day that passes, brings us closer to death.”
He said, “No one grows younger but older. We experience a lot of signals that point us to the eventuality of death. We are no more the way we used to be. There will come a time that you and I will die. If death is the end of the human story, then life in Christ makes all the difference. If you have a faithful relationship with Jesus Christ, it will make a difference in your life,” said Rev. Sando.
The late Winniedel Suakweli departed this life in her 70th year on January 1, 2018 at the JFK Hospital in Monrovia. She was laid to rest in Haindii, her home town, in Bong County.
Mrs. Suakweli, was popularly known as ‘Normal Days’ to the motorcyclists in her community, her friends, the youth, and many others across Liberia, because of her pastry business and for constantly reminding everyone about the standards, values and good upbringing of the pre-war years referred to as ‘normal days’. She was the eldest child of Pastor Ezra Dahn Keller, Sr., first bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia, and Mrs. Louise Keller, both of whom predeceased her. She was born on November 6, 1947 in Palakwelle, Fuamah Chiefdom (now Fuamah District) in Bong County.
Mrs. Suakweli was nurtured under the guidance of her devoted Christian parents, along with her brothers and sisters in Haindii.
She received her elementary education at Kpolopele Lutheran Mission, and graduated from Suehn Mission. She got married to Mr. Philip Suakweli in 1970 and they lived together for 43 years. They were blessed with two girls: Aania and Meneta, but they raised several other children, most of whom are now in high positions in the private and government sectors. Her husband predeceased her in May 2013.
Mrs. Suakweli worked with the Public Utility Authority (PUA) that later became the Liberia Electricity Corporation. She served as executive secretary for over 30 years and was retired with honor. She was always involved with the work of the Lutheran church where she served in many auxiliary posts, especially at the St. Peter Lutheran Church in Sinkor as a senior choir member.
She and her family moved to Barnersville, Beh Wehn Community, where she continued in the ministry as Deaconess at the Barnersville Lutheran Church.
“Normal Days was a human-centered person,” one pastor said in his tribute. “She was a bold and tough Deaconess who did not hide malice in her heart. She faced her pastors and congregation when given the opportunity and told them what they did that hurt her feelings right in the church. At the end, they accepted and reconciled.”
She leaves to mourn her loss, two children: Mrs. Aania S. Seide and Miss. Meneta Suakweli; two grandchildren; several adopted and stepchildren to include: Nyearly Suakweli, William Joypue Guzeh, Eresa Winniedel Keller, Christal Cooper, Morris Massaquoi, Cecelia Padmore, Palay Sumo, Mengaa Brown, Nancy Suakweli, Marcia Thorpe, Monue Suakweli, Klingacia Anderson, Feekpee Suakweli Allison, Jimmy and Chris Suakweli; several brothers, to include Joseph P. Keller, Ezra D. Keller, Jr.; sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, and many other relatives and friends in Liberia and abroad.