The Caine, Johnson, Ware, Fahnbulleh and Kiazolu families of Jundu, Grand Cape Mount County announce the peaceful transition, on August 18, 2016, of Mrs. Lydia Zoe Caine, loving mother and Aunt at the Duport Road, Paynesville residence of her children, Molley and Clarice Johnson. Ma Lydia was 99.
A family spokesperson said Ma Lydia was “the matriarch of the family and the ‘glue’ that connected us all.”
Born on May 6, 1917 in Jundu, unto the union of Augustus and Kpandi Caine, Lydia, at age 7 was brought by the Episcopal missionaries to Robertsport, where she entered the House of Bethany, the girls’ dorm at St. John’s Episcopal High School. She graduated in 1941.
In 1942 she practiced teaching at the J.D.K. Baker’s Elementary Community School in Robertsport and in 1943 she entered the Bromley Mission for training as a teacher.
The following year she returned to Robertsport as Principal of the St. John Episcopal Elementary, where the late Fr. Edgar Bolling Robertson was St. John’s Principal. She signed the certificates of the first group of Junior High students from the Episcopal village school. Members of that class included Dr. Abeodu Jones, the late Henry B. Fahnbulleh, Sr. and Hilary David.
In 1947 she enrolled at Liberia College and in 1952 obtained the BSc degree in Education from Teachers College in the now University of Liberia (UL).
She later obtained a USAID scholarship to attend the Western Michigan University, where she took the Master’s degree in Elementary Curriculum Development. She returned home and was employed in the Central office of the Ministry of Education as Deputy Director of Higher Education and Textbook Research. She worked with Dr. Doris Banks
Henries and a team of energetic young workers to develop several instructional programs to boost the school system in Liberia.
She was a member of the Association of Liberian Authors and in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, established a writing program with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UNESCO and UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Ms. Lydia Zoe Caine worked for many years at the Curriculum and Materials Center of the Ministry of Education with Madams Edna Wordsworth and Maude Major.
An outspoken, strong willed and “no-nonsense” person, Lydia Zoe lived a distinguished life, serving her country rather than choosing to leave Liberia during the civil war.
The President of the Republic of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, conferred on her the Grand Master of the Order of Distinction, a national honor, in recognition of Lydia Zoe Caine’s long years of service to the Republic of Liberia.
President Sirleaf was quoted as saying that it was necessary to “give honor to those whom honor is due and to those who have stood the test of time in the principles for which they hold dear and sought to make their country a better one.”
A family spokesperson further stated, “We thank God for Ma Zoe’s love, long life and the contributions that she made to her beloved Liberia and the Liberian education system.”
“Aunty Zoe,” or “Ma Zoe,” as she was affectionately known by all, was a staunch member of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church. She was honored at the “Giving Back” program in November 2009 by the Liberian Chapter of the EHS/EES (Episcopal High School and Episcopal Elementary School) of St. John’s and House of Bethany, along with Mr. William Bruce, Justice Gladys Johnson, Dr. Emmet A. Dennis and other alumni.
Among her children and family members whom she nurtured and raised are Clarice Johnson, Roselyn Caine Egun, Etta, Irene, the late Victoria Caine Maxwell and the late Nina Wai Ware. Ma Zoe also helped to raise Augustus Fahnwullu and Miatta Caine, the children of her beloved brother, Augustus Feweh Caine. Fahnwullu and Miatta both lived with her during periods of their lives.
Ms. Lydia Zoe Caine was predeceased by her parents Kpandi and Augustus Caine, her sisters, Zoe Caine Ware and Tata Marlee and her brothers George Caine and Dr. Augustus F. Caine.
She is survived by her children Molley and Clarice Johnson, Florence Caine, lifelong friend Mother Mary Brownell, many nieces and nephews, including George and Margaret Caine, Gbour Wilson, Augustus Fahnwulu Caine, Miatta Tata Caine, Roseline Samuteh Caine Egun.
Others include George B. Caine IV, Elis Caine, Edwin and Bettie, Eugene Sando, Augustus Feweh Caine and many other relatives and friends, including Mrs. Cornelia Greene and John Hillary Tubman, son of President W.V.S. Tubman and Mrs. Jocelia Cranshaw Rancy.
The body will be removed from the Samuel Stryker Funeral Home at 4:30 p.m., Friday, September 16 and taken to St. Thomas Episcopal Church for an evening of wake keeping.
The funeral will take place at 9 o’clock a.m. Saturday, September 17th, 2016, following which the cortege will depart for Jundu for interment.