Regina Blass
  • 71 years old
  • Date of birth: Sep 24, 1943
  • Place of birth:
  • Date of passing: May 1, 2015
  • Place of passing:
Let the memory of Regina be with us forever

The management, staff and students of Africa International University (AIU) wish to announce the promotion to higher glory of Prof. Regina Blass on 1st May, 2015 while undergoing treatment at Nairobi Hospital.

Prof. Regina Blass was born in Wuppertal, Germany, in 1943. She did vocational training in business, and started her career as a business manager’s assistant at Kolb and Company screw factory at Wuppertal in Germany in 1961. She also served as “Au Pair” in order to learn English for the Alford family, in Broadstone, Britain, in 1965.

She then went ahead to work for Wycliffe Bible Translators, Germany. Prof. Blass took training on how to carry out linguistic research, and went to Ghana in 1970 to work with the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) as a linguistics researcher and translator in the Sissala language project in northern Ghana.

After completing her MA degree in 1980, she moved to the town of Leo in Upper Volta (later Burkina Faso) in 1981 to continue working on the Sissala language just north of the Ghana border. Regina continued her academic career, completing her PhD in linguistics at University College London (UCL) in 1988 under Prof. Deirdre Wilson.

Her study on Sissala particles became widely known in the field of Relevance Theory. She continued working in the project until 1991, when she settled in Ouagadougou to serve as a linguistics consultant and Director of Academic Affairs for SIL in Burkina Faso.

In 1995, she moved to Niamey to become the Director of Academic Affairs for SIL in Niger. Here she also taught courses in linguistics at the University of Niamey. The New Testament in Sissala was dedicated in December, 1999. Prof. Blass’ main contribution to the Sissala translation was in the area of the linguistic analysis and description of the Sissala language.

The same year, 1999, Prof. Blass was asked to move to Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST) in Kenya to take up a teaching position as a professor in the Translation Studies Department. She served for sixteen years as a faculty member and research professor, and most recently as Head of Department at Africa International University, formerly NEGST.

At the time of her death she was also Acting Dean of the School of Education, Arts, and Social Sciences. Under her guidance, the department changed its name to the Department of Language, Linguistics, and Communication. She was enthusiastically developing new programs in linguistics, translation, and language teaching at the time of her death.

Throughout her academic career she attended many conferences on the pragmatics of language. She presented and published many papers in this field, and, as was her nature, helped others to attend such conferences. Regina’s work in linguistics is acknowledged world-wide.

Regina was active member of Christ is the Answer Ministries (CITAM) in Karen. Regina was passionate and enthusiastic about her academic career, but she was much more than an academic. She will be remembered in all the places where she lived for her generosity and hospitality. She helped educate many children, and was active in helping HIV-positive women. She will be sorely missed by the children she had taken into her home, and by all her friends and colleagues.

Burial will be on Monday 11th May 2015, a memorial service will be held the same day at CITAM Karen at 10.00am.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Enoch Opuka on 24th September 2016

"One of the greatest persons i have ever met. Always ready to help."

This tribute was added by Josue teme on 2nd May 2016

"Twelve months have gone by; but the memories of you are still like fresh roses . Time will not be able to trample them. RIP, Prof."

This tribute was added by Clene Nyiramahoro on 1st May 2016

"It is now a year since you departed. As you rest the other side, just know that your memories will always be with us and we celebrate each moment we spent with you. Rest in Peace dear Friend!"

This tribute was added by Clene Nyiramahoro on 28th September 2015

"It's now about four months that you have left us. Everyday there is something to remind us that you are no longer here with us. Your voice is still as clear in my mind as it was few months ago. I miss you but Rest in Peace."

This tribute was added by Flo Kagwamba on 25th September 2015

"I celebrated you yesterday! Your birthday was a very special day as you shared this special day with my daughter. I miss you neighbor!"

This tribute was added by Josue teme on 24th September 2015

"Memories of you are still fresh in our mind. Rest in peace, Prof."

This tribute was added by Renata Ullmann on 14th May 2015

"Regina, my dear friend! I have known you since 38 years. Whenever we met, we discussed and shared problems and hope, and we loved to laugh together! In a time that was hard for me you helped me a lot. You enriched my life. And I will never forget those days in Niamey and Agadez... Thank you for everything! I miss you! See you in heaven!"

This tribute was added by Matthias & Tanja Liebrecht on 13th May 2015

"It is with great sadness and prayers that we are sending our condolences for the home going of our sister in the Lord, Regina Blass! May God bless you all and strengthen you, may her funeral be a place where more people will be drawn closer to our Lord Jesus Christ! I, Tanja Liebrecht (previously Rimpo), had been living and working with Regina Blass in Niamey, Niger, from December 1996 to March 1999. She did many good things and always had a wonderful heart for people in need, may she rest in peace and remain in our thoughts as an example of doing good to others. We appreciated her hospitality and help in many things, especially when I started to work in Niger without any support and she helped me with the living situation and bought a computer for me, gave me good advices in many things, too. In Niamey she had a big house and frequently invited many people. My husband and I got to know each other in Niamey in 1998. We pray for you all and wish you God’s richest blessings and comfort, we also pray for the 4 children she had living with her. Thank you for everything!

Matthias & Tanja Liebrecht
Velberter Mission
Working on the Bible Translation of the Songhay people in Gao, Northern Mali"

This tribute was added by Clene Nyiramahoro on 12th May 2015

"Dr Blass,
Never had I met a person with a bigger heart than yours. I want people to remember me the way they did you. I've known you my whole life; I view your departure as a temporary break. Till we meet again in heaven, I love you! I will never forget you.
See you soon.
                                                                            Christine Rubera"

This tribute was added by Clene Nyiramahoro on 12th May 2015

"Professor Blass, what should I say? For I find no adequate words to express who you really are. In behalf of your students and mentees, and in my own behalf, allow me to pay tribute to someone so special, so simple and selfless.
As a friend, you cried when we cried. You laughed when we laughed. You visited us when we were sick. You fed us when hungry. You met us at our point of vulnerability.
As a teacher, you were our candle and lit the way for us. You did not just dictate, you explained, you demonstrated, you inspired.
As a mentor, you did not speak all the time, by just watching you we learned. You changed most of us by your stimulating spirit. In your eyes, everyone is a winner though at a different pace and ability. Losing is never in your vocabulary. It was your desire to see all of us grow and expand. You pushed us out of our comfort zones. You always talked about your students with pride.
Professor Blass, you are our pride, our hero, our best teacher. Just as Henry Books Adams said:
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
Your influence is limitless and endless. As you rest the other side, just watch our pace. Someone said once:
“Teachers who inspire know that teaching is like cultivating a garden and those who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers” (Author Unknown).
Professor Blass, we will not be scared by thorns. When we finally join you, we will bring home beautiful flowers. You have showed an example. You fought the good fight, you finished the race. Rest in Peace."

This tribute was added by Patrick Byekwaso on 11th May 2015

"I remember meeting you in my first grace group at AIU, and always enjoyed listening to your perspective on several issues that were discussed. Two things i will never forget are your wisdom and generous heart. You will surely e missed here on earth, but heaven is joyful for your promotion to glory"

This tribute was added by Timothy Nyamgero on 9th May 2015

"We will miss the integrity,commitment,good leadership, love,compassion and the joy that we found in you.We celebrate you and we are happy to have been part of your life..."

This tribute was added by Margrit Frempong on 9th May 2015

""Regina, I enjoyed your hospitable and willing spirit in Ghana and Burkina, and many good meals.
I also admired your amazing linguistic achievements, and I believe you are now enjoying the Father's 'Well done' and a good rest!"
Margaret Langdon"

This tribute was added by Moses Luri on 8th May 2015

"Prof. Blass is an invisible friend, mother,  mentor and an inspirer to me personally and an advocate for Sisaali and Sisaala culture. As maiden scholar in Sisaali linguistics you carried out several research works in Sisaali including doctoral research in Sisaali, post doctoral research in Sisaali and pre doctoral research in Sisaali.
On behalf of the Chiefs, eldeŕs and the youth of Sisaala; on behalf of SILDEP and on my own behalf I present this tribute.

It is our saddest news to hear of your call to glory especially at the time that we needed you most. But our hope is that our maker needs you most and knows why He acts the manner He does things. May your soul RIP.
For an on behalf of SILDEP and the entire Sisaala community in Ghana and Burkina Faso.

Moses Luri"

This tribute was added by Walter Andhoga on 8th May 2015

"Prof.Regina Blass, your death is a big blow to AIU community. I remember your humility and dedication to nurturing talents in the lives of your students.RIP"

This tribute was added by Frallystone Omusula on 8th May 2015

"What a sad day for the AIU fraternity again. The passing on of our dear sister and friend Prof. Blass has hit many of us by surprise. Prof. was a very charming person to all who new her. She was very loving and caring to all. Africa International University will miss you greatly Mum. Thankful, you are with your make whom you served faithfully. RIP Prof."

This tribute was added by Samuel Mubbala on 8th May 2015

"Prof. Blass, treated students as friends, was soft-spoken but so supportive, always ready to go an extra mile to help one understand. Her warm hospitality and generosity left a permanent impression on people who knew her. She lived a humble love life despite the academic engagement and all responsibility around her, a real model!"

This tribute was added by Elijah Kingori on 8th May 2015

"Rest in peace Prof Blass. Just as you opened your house to me and many others, I believe the Lord has done the same to you in His everlasting Home. We have a legacy to follow that you left behind to us."

This tribute was added by Tobias Omollo on 8th May 2015

"Prof. Blass I will remember you always. I recall the first time I had an encounter with you was in February 2000 when you were presenting a Paper on Relevance Theory at the NEGST Cafeteria. You will be missed and you life has impacted many lifes."

This tribute was added by Abiola Mbamalu on 8th May 2015

"My Amazon, an amazing woman, boundless in energy, in optimism, in possibilities, a one-woman army of the Lord, dedicated and fully-given over to any cause she believes in! You were an inspiration, you set the pace of what it is to believe in others. You were amazing, your love was wihout limit. I owe you a lot, but I hope to repay the debt a little by giving back to my students whatever I can in honor of you. You left a legacy that is hard to rival, the world is poorer on account of your exit! You fought well and deserve your rest! Adieu my mentor, my friend, my sister, my mum!"

This tribute was added by Margrit Frempong on 8th May 2015

"" Regina, you came to join me in the translation work in Northern Ghana amonst the Sisaalas in 1968. We stayed in the samesmall  house together day and night and continually worked together until I got married in 1974. . You worked hard on a Sisaala dictionary. It was published. You also created many literacy booklets together  with me.
You were very disturbed about my marriage because we expected to finish the translation of the Sisaala NT together. But this opened the door to you to dive into another Sisaala dialect in Bukina Faso. you made it possible and helped that another New Testament got tranlsated and got published. It also gave you the freedom to study linguisics in England.
The Ghana New Testament was dedicated in 1984, and you came from Burkina Faso to celebrate with us. We were rejoicing together. I invited you to be present at the dedication of the whole Sisaala Bible last year, but it was too far for you to come, and you also were too busy.
The neglected small child we met in 1968 convinced you that we should take her to us and care for her. We did this, and she is living with us up to now.
We had many joys and worried together. Thank you Regina for your endurance to stay and work with me for 6 years. We learned a lot from each other and leaned to love each other, even when we felt  low and when things were difficult. I hope to see you in a few years when my time on earth will also come to an  end too.
We will happily hug each other !""

This tribute was added by Ed Fischer on 8th May 2015

"Prof. Blass you will be missed.  Your example of servant leadership and hospitality are without rival.  You were such an encouragement to many.  We know you are in a better place but we miss you here on earth.  I was stunned when I heard the news having just arrived at AIU.  Will be praying for your family during this time of grief and loss.  I know you are singing in that heavenly choir with our departed brother, Douglas Carew."

This tribute was added by Manase Ogola on 7th May 2015

"I will personally remember Prof Blass for her generosity. Two weeks before she was promoted to glory, she had agreed to make a cake for my wedding of June 2015. She was a dedicated member of my Grace Group. Rest in Peace dear Prof, will fondly miss you."

This tribute was added by Manase Ogola on 7th May 2015

"I will personally remember Prof Blass for her generosity. Two weeks before she was promoted to glory, she had agreed to make a cake for my wedding of June 2015. She was a dedicated member of my Grace Group. Rest in Peace dear Prof, will fondly miss you."

This tribute was added by Rosemary Mbogo on 7th May 2015

"I will miss you Prof. Blass – your passion, energy, creativity, warmth and love. Your first ever sermon at AIU (as you confessed), on 27th January this year, is still in my memory as you urged the community to live in Love because GOD IS LOVE. I will miss your professionalism and ability to tangibly balance it your humanity. You were thorough in your academic pursuits and in expressing your love for people. I will definitely miss your generosity, and the cakes that you baked for all meetings that you chaired! Your entrepreneurial spirit was amazing – I enjoyed your cakes and your jewelry sales. And how about your motherly love – the children you took care of hence becoming a mother to the orphans – and 45 years in Africa!  I can go on and on – you are indeed my hero! It pleased the Lord to have you rest from all your labors on Labor Day. May you rest in eternal peace with the one whom you have always loved and served."

This tribute was added by David Gichuru on 7th May 2015

"What model of hospitality, bravery and diligence you were! What a sacrifice you offered - living for the kingdom all you life in a foreign land! What an inspiration you were to many! Fare thee well, Prof. Regina!"

This tribute was added by Olivia Razafinjatoniary on 7th May 2015

"I thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to sit at Prof. Blass' amazing classes. Her gentle voice, smiling face, and loving heart were like a stamp to each class we had. Always caring and encouraging, her door was always open when I needed some advice or just wanted to visit. To me, she was a professor, a colleague, a friend, and a sister. She will be greatly missed but the sweet and precious memories we had together will remain. See you in the house, Professor Blass."

This tribute was added by Lemargeroi Saruni on 7th May 2015

"Prof Blass.

Powerful force that witness to the care, love, harmony and kindness of Christ to those that came your path. In your journey of faith in world of anxiety, suffering and violence, you stood out as perfect as example of an ever obedient servant of Christ.

In shortest time i knew you at AIU, your ever smiling and contagious affection brought light even to those discourage. In your statue you stood high as tower of hope and reconciliation through your engagements with cross cultures.

And as a professor of linguistic your unspoken words to all you share life was incredible and pro-founding. You implanted in us the true essence pf servant-ship to the Academy, Church and Community
And with a reality that you are gone to be with your Savior and our Savior, we will journey on with what demonstrates love and kindness that emanated from your lifestyle.
We celebrate your commitment not only to attain highest level of scholarship and excellence service to the University-But also your true words and deeds that forever will remain implanted in our hearts

You join many others, who have preceded us home and you are now a symbol of courage, hope and persistence to all of us, who have continued to follow the footsteps of our Savior.
We pray for peace and comfort for your family, which we as AIU were privileged to be part.

Go Thee A Faith-full Servant

Lemargeroi Saruni
Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology"

This tribute was added by Hellen Muuo on 6th May 2015

"Prof Regina Blass. I am glad to have interacted with you. Your servant heart was great. Your love for mankind is well known to many. We loved your Coconut cakes and meals prepared by your team. My family  never knew our  last time was meeting you at Galleria  but God knew it better. "You have fought a good fight, you have finished the race, you have kept the faith"(2 Timothy 4:7) Rest in peace till we meet again. We will dearly miss you."

This tribute was added by Rhoda Ambola on 6th May 2015

""Prof Blass, you were a great scholar, yet so humble. I will forever remember the warmness with which you received me during my research and the type of encouragement you gave me. That gave me courage to move on even when it seemed difficult. You will surely be missed!""

This tribute was added by Neddy Nanjowe on 6th May 2015

""Well done good and faithful servant",  are the words that come to mind when I think of Prof. Blass."

This tribute was added by dagalou teme on 6th May 2015

"Prof. Blass,
Thank you for being a role model and for showing us the way in servant leadership and Christian virtues. Rest in peace. You will be greatly missed."

This tribute was added by Mary Ogalo on 6th May 2015

"The hopes you kindled as you sheltered the needy, the faithfulness with which you carried your academic duties and your love for your Lord - will keep memories on! Rest with angels"

This tribute was added by Flo Kagwamba on 6th May 2015

"Prof.  words fail me at this time. What a wonderful friend and neighbor you were to me and my family! You loved my children as your own and they so loved you back. I will miss your stories, your encouragement, our Kazuri beads trips and mostly your laughter! You showered everyone you knew with love, care and your hospitality was out of this world!  I remember when we moved in, you provided lunch for my family and the movers and that night, we ate dinner in your house. What an angel you were. On 24th September 2011 when I gave birth to my daughter, you were elated! You were happy to have a birthday mate! And in 2013, we had the most beautiful party of a 2 year old and a 70 year old... Beautiful moments I will always keep of you! Fare thee well my friend! Rest in Jesus arms!"

This tribute was added by Jacob Njagi on 6th May 2015

"Prof Blass, you will forever remain in my memory as a passionate and lovely teacher. Your humility was always touching. Your understanding to relate with people from other cultures especially Africans will go down history as one who had a big heart for missions in the African continent.
You trained and mentored me into translation and linguistics. Through these skills, I believe I have been able to touch many more lives. I am sure this is true about many who went through your hands in your many years of your service in Africa.
I therefore cerebrate you, in that though you have been taken away from us for a moment, your legacy lives on. And soon or later, many will join you at the throne of God as we glorify Him for your fruitful service.
My prayer is that the Lord God comforts your family members along with your friends at this difficult time. May He use this moment to touch many more lives for His own glory."

This tribute was added by Esther Nyagah on 6th May 2015

"Prof. Blass, we have great memories of you as a smart, humble, caring, hardworking and God-fearing person. You made so much difference and this will continue to be manifest through the lives that you touched. You did your best, RIP."

This tribute was added by Margaret Muhia on 6th May 2015

"Prof. Blass, I still think death cheated us by taking you away!! You have finished the race though. Thank you for setting a pace of a true christian by your humility and service. So, now you will not be coming to check on us at faculty boardroom? Sad! You are forever in our thoughts and wishes we could negotiate with death you come back."

This tribute was added by Fridah Maluki on 6th May 2015

"Rest in peace Prof. Blass. Your passion, humility, enthusiasm, resilience and generosity is something that will always linger in the minds, hearts and souls on the lives of the people that you impacted. Condolences to Evelyn, Mercy, Alex and the rest of the family. May you be comforted by the thought that your Mommy as you dearly referred to her is praying for you in Heaven."

This tribute was added by Nathan Joshua on 6th May 2015

"The legacy of generosity, understanding, patience, acceptance of all types of people, humility, and joy that Prof. Regina Blass has left with us will be our valuable inheritance for as long as we live and remember her. We are sure that we will meet again to live together forever, with no other painful departure."

This tribute was added by James Nkansah-Obrempong on 6th May 2015

"Prof Regina Blass, we will forever miss your love, care and concern for the needy. We appreciate your dedication and commitment to your Lord which was reflected in your unreserved service to Him all your life. May all your works follow you. May your example of through Christian love and hospitality inspire us to live a true Christian life. We love you and may God comfort your family and all of Us- your AIU family."

This tribute was added by Michubu Jonah on 6th May 2015

"Prof. Reginah Blass was a true demonstration of love. living a life for others. In my knowledge, she gave her everything, including her identity. Just like Moses, she refused to be called a European and choose to be an African; all because of love. God rest her soul in eternal peace"

This tribute was added by Faustin Ntamushobora on 6th May 2015

"We've lost a dear sister in the Lord, a great scholar, a friend,a hard-working faculty member, and a visionary leader. I will personally always remember Regina for her friendship and her compassion for those who are suffering, especially children. May the Lord comfort us as a community in general and her family in particular."

This tribute was added by Enoch Opuka on 6th May 2015

"I received the news of the passing on to glory of Prof Regina Blass with shock and disbelief.  For just a weak earlier she had asked for a lift from me to take her to her house from the car park. I gladly did and when we reached her house we continued to talk. She loved AIU and she was passionate about language. For this reason she had suggested that we start a BA Development studies with language as minor. We were still finalising this new exciting course when she passed on. I have admired her leadership skills and her deep Christian principles.
As my Dean I knew her as meticulous person who was time conscious and who made sure everything was clear to those she supervised.
The University has lost a great woman of God, a wonderful teacher and a servant leader.
May God rest her soul in eternal peace."

This tribute was added by Lydia Kamau on 6th May 2015

"Indeed the Memory of the righteous is blessed.
You inspired in your humility,generosity,wisdom and Christ-likeness.
Blessed be the name of the lord,even during this time;promoted to glory.
I thank God for knowing you and I know It is well for the righteous i.e those you have left behind."

This tribute was added by Enoch Opuka on 6th May 2015

"Prof - you inspired me and encouraged me as my Dean. I will ensure that I live a life worth to be emulated. You were an exemplary leader and a good Dean. God rest your soul in enternal peace"

This tribute was added by Timothy Gicharu on 6th May 2015

"Thank you for leaving an indelible mark in the Department of Language, Linguistics and Communication. For God, For generations to come, and For transformation.

This tribute was added by Timothy Gicharu on 6th May 2015

"Prof. Blass, you were a candle that lit many other candles, that will in turn light many others. You were a true disciple of Christ. We are certain we will meet you again through our eternal hope in Christ and by the power of God for our salvation. We therefore choose to celebrate your life as we learn from your great character. May God comfort your family and always give them peace, and most especially, a smile, when they reflect about how they miss you. To God be the glory, forever and ever, Amen!!!"

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