On Saturday, December 12, the late Singbe Gerald Flomo Johnson, Jr. was buried following his sudden death two weeks ago. It is reported that ‘SJ,’ as he was affectionately called by most of his colleagues in the Liberian media, went to bed Friday night and never woke up.
He was born on May 13, 1970 and died on November 28, 2015. According to family members, he didn’t report being sick or showing any signs or symptoms of being sick the days before his death. SJ’s death was just so sudden that it shocked the media landscape of Liberia. Although he was not active in the mainstream media in recent times, SJ was one of the staunch members of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL). The election of a new Secretary General of PUL, which SJ had planned on attending the day of his death, had to be cancelled in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, when the news of SJ’s sudden demise was announced.
The church, The Lord’s Strong Tower Ministries, Inc, in the Duport Road Community, where the funeral service for SJ was held, was jammed pack so much so that most members of the PUL and others had to stand outside the church and outside its premises. His death brought Liberia’s entire media sector in one place as never before.
It was a good time for picture taking as journalists who hadn’t seen their colleagues in a long while shared moments together.
Preaching the funeral discourse, Rev. J. Maxwell Seh, Sr., asked the audience “What will you be remembered for?” which he used as his theme. Rev. Seh, who is Bishop of the World Sanctified Cathedral of Faith, said that death comes as a reminder to those who remain alive that one day they, too, will die, but that the question is “What will you be remembered for?”
“Everyone has spoken of the humble character of brother Singbe. He was never a big and proud human being. He didn’t pass anyone he knew without saying ‘hello.’ If he was not at work, he was at the church attending prayer meeting or in service,” Rev. Seh said.
He took his sermon from the book of Acts 9:36-41. In this passage, a certain woman called Tabitha died. The bible described her “full of good works and alms deeds.”
According to the Bible, all the widows who wept Tabitha’s death remembered her for something she made for them while she was alive.
Rev. Seh, asking the audience about what they would be remembered for when their days on earth are over, stated that Singbe can’t be remembered for breaking another man’s home, corrupting people of their finances or involved in something untoward.
Tributes were paid by the Liberian government, through the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Supreme Court of Liberia. Tributes also came from the Renaissance Communications, Inc., Press Union of Liberia, the Church and Family.
In her tribute, widow Bernice Suwah Miller-Johnson stated that as she usually did before SJ went to bed every night, she had spoken with her husband on Friday night. “I called him and we talked on many things. He then said, ‘Honey, it’s almost 12 midnight. I have to sleep because I have to go to Buchanan early tomorrow morning to take part in the PUL election.’ He then asked me to wake him in the morning.” Mrs. Miller-Johnson, who lives in the US, said she had promised to transfer credits to her husband’s mobile phone so that they would talk in the morning. That was the last conversation SJ would have with his wife.
The funeral service was attended by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, who was the first to view the remains of SJ when the casket was opened. He was followed by police chief Chris Massaquoi. SJ’s last place of work was at the Supreme Court of Liberia, where he served as Director of Communications.
Former directors of the LBS, including Professor Alhaji G.V. Kromah, also attended the service.
Among positions SJ held in the Liberian government and elsewhere, included Assistant Director for Press and Public Affairs at the LNP, Director-General, Liberian Broadcasting System (LBS) and General Manager of Renaissance Communications Incorporated, owner of Real TV and Truth FM.
After the service, the casket was loaded onto a hearse by members of the LNP and driven to Totota, Bong County, where he was buried beside his late father.