Mrs. Victoria Dunn Tolbert Dies

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The death is announced of Mrs. Caroline Victoria Dunn Tolbert, widow of Mr. Wilmot Tolbert of Bensonville, Montserrado County, Liberia.

Born in Monrovia, Liberia November 16, 1927 (on a Wednesday at 4:30 a.m. as recorded in her father’s family Bible) to the union of Clara Victoria Harris Dunn (Jan. 5, 1906-1929) and Edward Lysander Dunn (Aug. 13, 1902-1984), Caroline Victoria’s mother died at age 23 when Victoria was only 2 years old. She was thus raised by her maternal grandmother, Miranda Harris Bruce.

Victoria’s maternal background is in Harrisburg, Montserrado County, the home of her mother and grandmother, Miranda. Miranda Harris Bruce was the sister of Joanne Rebecca Page Morris (married to Daniel Webster Morris, father of the late eminent musician, Baromi Morris of Clay Ashland and Monrovia.

Her paternal background is in Grand Bassa County where her father was born and raised in Hartford, St. John River Corporation, Grand Bassa County before relocating to Monrovia where he completed his education and entered service in the Government of Liberia including appointment as Superintendent of Grand Bassa County in 1936. [Father’s parents were Wesley Stephen Dunn, Sr. and T. Caroline Wayne-Dunn.

Young Victoria was raised in Monrovia where she received her early education at the Trinity Parish Day School. At this time her father served a Chief Clerk at the Department of Justice under the Attorney-Generalship of Louis Arthur Grimes. Shortly before her birth in late 1927, her father suffered a mishap as he was shot by a recently-arrived immigrant from America called John Hall but dubbed “Sweat Candy” because the small businessman’s personality and voice attracted customers with the advert “Sweat Candy” “1 cent, 2 cents.” His market stall along Water Street was broken into by unruly soldiers of the Militia. As narrated in the Memoirs of Ambassador George Padmore, “When several of the men raided his “Sweet Candy’s stall, it is reported that he pulled his gun and shot one of the men, who dropped dead. He may have fired after others, racing away, when they saw their comrade fall.

A brave young officer, Edward L. Dunn, who still believed “Sweet Candy” was not a serious type, approached him and inquired: “Sweet Candy”, “Why did you shoot this man?” Mr. Hall replied with a bullet to the side of the officer.” Edward Dunn survived the bullet wound to witness the birth of his first daughter, and to go on to raise her to adulthood.

Not too long thereafter, Victoria and her father relocated to Lower Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. In 1936, her father decided to send her to the famous House of Bethany, the Episcopal girls school in Grand Cape Mount County. But having been stung by a bee injuring her eyes, her father decided to withdraw her from Cape Mount and enroll her at another Episcopal school, the Julia C. Emery Hall Bromley near Clay Ashland, Montserrado County.

There she was in 1945 when she was joined by two Urey girls from Careysburg, Early and Katherine Urey. Kate, her lifelong and faithful friend narrates this story: Apparently Edward L. Dunn was driving through Careysburg in 1945 and his car broke down. He found himself engaged in a conversation with one of the town’s fathers (RD), Robert Douglas Urey, Kate’s father when the conversation moved to Bromley. Dunn had a daughter there and Urey was about to send two of his own daughters there as well. As the Urey girls took off for Bromley they were told to seek out one Victoria Dunn. Indeed they found Victoria Dunn who had been a student there a few years earlier, older and two classes ahead of Kate. A fast friendship was sealed. Victoria even asking Kate to stand with her in her wedding, though transportation logistics did not make that possible.

Victoria was joined in Holy Matrimony to Wilmot Arnold Tolbert of Bensonville on March 30. 1951. The wedding took place at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Lower Buchanan, Grand Bassa County. Edward L. Dunn gave away his first and beloved daughter in grand style.

Wilmot took his bride to Monrovia where they began their life together. The union was blessed with many children including Wilmot A. Tolbert, Jr (deceased), Caroline (deceased), Nathan, Dee (died as an infant), Feemour, Queeta, Edward, Arnold, Wilma, Erickson, and Myrma Tolbert.

At the time of her death, Victoria had 24 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren and many foster children. Victoria, a cradle Episcopalian, joined her husband’s Church as they both became members of the famous Zion Praise Baptist Church of Bensonville, now Bentol. Her hobby of sewing, especially quilt-making, occupied her, as did her affiliation with such sororities as the Order of Eastern Star where she became Past Matron of Martha Chapter number 10, Monrovia, Liberia. She affiliated as well with the Household of Ruth and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten. But her greatest engagement was with raising her eight children, only one of which predeceased her in infancy.

Victoria was also a teacher at the St. Theresa Convent in the 1960s. Victoria’s husband of almost 40 years, Wilmot A. Tolbert, predeceased her in 1990 at the height of the civil war in Liberia. She relocated to the United States in the early part of 1994 to be with her daughter Queeta and her husband, Rev. William B.K. Harris, whom she had first visited in 1984. Not too long after her arrival in the United States, she had to return to Liberia to bury her father, Edward L. Dunn.

Additionally, after coming back to the States in 1994, Victoria returned to Liberia to give her beloved husband a proper burial because he had been hurriedly buried during the war. For almost a quarter of century, Mother Vick, as she was affectionately called, lived in Buford, Georgia with William and Queeta. She was very helpful for the care and upbringing of her precious triplets granddaughters (Wilneka, Wilmonia and Wiletta).

In 1994, Victoria joined the International Christain Fellowship Ministries of Atlanta, Georgia. In April, 1997, she was ordained a Deaconess of the Ministry. Until her health began to slow her down, Vick was active in various aspects of the ICF Ministries. She served as chairperson of the ICF Holy Communion Table where she personally purchased the needed supplies for Holy Communion, faithfully scheduled the taking of the Holy Communion to the sick and shut-in. She was one of the Mother’s Day coordinators who planned and executed the annually elected mother of the Church. Vick also served on the Anniversary Committee where she worked closely with Rev. Victoria G. Harris and Deaconess Hilda G. Graham to receive banquet ticket donations.

Her unique quilt making skills were a blessing to many new born babies, children, married couples and adults alike. She demonstrated love by giving and caring for people from all walks of life. Mrs. Caroline Victoria Dunn Tolbert was predeceased by several siblings, Roland A. Dunn, Edwin L. Dunn, Joseph Edward Dunn, James Alexander Dunn, Louis Arthur Dunn, Edith Victoria Dunn-Samu, Elbert Dunn and Edmund Dunn.

Survivors include her siblings, Nathan Tolbert (Victoria), Feemour Tolbert (Maitta), Queeta Tolbert- Harris (William), Edward Tolbert (Barbara), Arnold Tolbert (Janice), Wilma VS Tolbert, Erickson Tolbert, and Myrma C. Tolbert; 24 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren. Her siblings are but not limited to: D. Elwood Dunn (Matilda), Edward L. Dunn, Jr. (Elaine) Mary Dunn-Gedeh, Ellen Dunn-Perkins, Ellen Dunn-Walker, Edna Dunn, Rev. Emmett Dunn and Emanuel Dunn.

Vick also leaves to mourn her loss many dear relatives, including cousin C. Gustav Barnard of England and friends including Mrs. Kate Urey White Dennis, the Brandys, and others in Liberia, the United States and other parts of the world.

The funeral of Mrs. Caroline Victoria Dunn Tolbert will take place on September 15, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

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