William R. Dewalt Dies

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The death is announced of Mr. William R. Dewalt, a farmer and Agriculture instructor at the Euphemia Barclay Elementary and Junior High School of Bensonville, Montserrado County.

This sad event occurred on Sunday, January 12, 2020 at the ELWA Hospital at six o’clock a.m.

He was in his in his 72nd year.

Mr. William R. Dewalt worked for many years as an executive assistant to Mr. Benjamin Green Garnett, a prominent Liberian banker and rubber planter who runs a number of other businesses, including Provident Hotel, Provident Transport Service and other holdings.

William Richard Dewalt was born on February 18, 1948 to the union of Mr. John Isaac Aaron Dewalt and his wife, Mother Maria E. Tolbert Dewalt, eldest sister of President William R. Tolbert, Jr. and all his siblings.  This means that Mother Maria E. Tolbert Dewalt was the second child and eldest daughter of Oldman William R. Tolbert, Sr. Oldman Tolbert first had two children, the first being Mr. John Tolbert.

Mother Maria E. Tolbert, Dewalt’s mother, was a Lorma woman named Ms. Gorma Togba.  John and Maria were born long before Oldman William Richard Tolbert, Sr. married Mrs. Charlotte Hoff Tolbert, who hailed from Grand Cape Mount County.  These first two Tolbert children, John and Maria, lived in the home with Oldman Tolbert and his wife Charlotte, and took care of all the younger siblings by Mrs. Charlotte Hoff Tolbert.  And these younger Tolbert siblings were Frank Emmanuel, former President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate; Mrs. Florence Tolbert McClain, matriarch of the E.B. McClain dynasty; Rev. Dr. William R. Tolbert, Jr., former President of Liberia and president of the Baptist World Alliance; Steven A. Tolbert, former Finance Minister, R.L. and founder of the Mesurado Group of Companies; and Mrs. Elfrieda Tolbert Dennis, a mother and businesswoman, whose grandson, Richelieu Dennis, Jr., has become the first Liberian billionaire, based in New York City, USA.

William Richard Dewalt obtained his early education at the Euphemia Barclay Elementary School in Bensonville, and later entered the Booker Washington Institute in Kakata, Margibi County, where he received his high school diploma, majoring in Agriculture.

He commenced his professional life as a teacher at the Euphemia Barclay School in Bensonville, while at the same time managing his father’s rubber and citrus farms near Gbarnga, Bong County.  William later became engaged with Mr. Benjamin Green Garnett.

In the early 1970s Mr. Richard Dewalt met and befriended Ms. Aletha Bailey, who at the time lived in the Bensonville home of Deacon Wesley Bailey and his wife, Mother Edna Bailey, eldest sister of the Rev. Dr. William R. Tolbert, Jr., former President of Liberia.  Deacon Bailey and Mother Bailey, like the Tolberts, were members of the Zion Praise Baptist Church, where Aletha also attended.

On March 29, 1976, Mr. William Richard Dewalt took the hand of Ms. Aletha Bailey in marriage.  This union was blessed with six children, Ollen, Terrence, William Richard Jr., Frederick, Maria and Richelieu Dewalt; and many foster children.

Mr. Richard Dewalt’s siblings were Mrs. Ina Horace Gbessagee, Mrs. Teleather Bonner Walters, Texanna, Mrs. Edith Kpehe, Jeannie and  Christine Dewalt Goll.  The brothers were Frederick, Aaron, Michell, John Isaac Aaron Dewalt, III.  Mrs. Gbesssege, Frederick and Aaron are now deceased.

William Richard and all his siblings grew up in the McIntosh Grove United Methodist Church of Bensonville, one of whose founding members was their father, Mr. John Isaac Aaron Dewalt, Sr.  Among the church’s other founding members were the Boyce family, from which Mr. Benoni Urey and all his siblings hail—their mother Emma was a Bensonville Boyce; the Richard Holders of Bensonville and the Parkers.  Mr. John Isaac Aaron Dewalt donated the land on which the church was built.

It is important to make a distinction concerning Richard Holder of Bensonville because there was another Richard Holder of the adjoining Township of Crozierville, Mr. Richard Nathaniel Holder, who ran unsuccessfully for president of Liberia in 1943.  He was the father of Lans, Esli, the Kakata rubber planter, Harry, grandfather of Mrs. Wilrusha Fernandez Kemokai, Ossiel Holder and other children.

Mr. William Richard Dewalt served in many capacities in the Bensonville United Methodist Church, including chairperson of the Administrative Board and the Board of Trustees.  All of the children were baptized there.

Survivors include the widow, Mrs. Aletha Bailey Dewalt; children, Ollen, Terence, William, Jr., Frederick, Maria and Richelieu; sisters, Mrs. Teleather Bonner Walters, Texanna Dewalt, Mrs. Edith Kpehe, Jeannie  and Christine Dewalt; brother, John Isaac Aaron Dewalt, III and many other relatives.

Funeral Arrangements:

On Thursday, February 13, 2020, a silent wake keeping will be held at the residence of the deceased at the Steven Tolbert Estate on Somalia Drive, beginning at six p.m.

On Friday, February 14, 2020, at two o’clock p.m., the body will be removed from the Samuel Stryker Funeral Home and taken to the McIntosh Grove United Methodist Church in Bensonville for a night of wake keeping.

The funeral service will take place at the same church on Saturday, February 15, 2020, beginning at 10 o’clock a.m.  Interment will follow immediately at the cemetery opposite the church.

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