ForeverMissed
Faith K. Nzelibe (nee Filipiak), age 79, died on July 7th, 2021 in Euclid, Ohio where she resided for the past 10 years. Born in Cleveland, Ohio she lived in Orange Village, OH; Washington D.C.; Hyattsville, Maryland; Nigeria (Ihiala and Enugu) and Cleveland Heights, OH. Her husband of 45 years, Joseph O. Nzelibe, preceded her in death.

She was the daughter of Thaddeus Konrad Filipiak and Roberta Vance Filipiak and sister to Zofia Sykora (Keith) of Chagrin Falls. She is survived by her 4 children: Adaora Nzelibe Schmiedl (Eric) of Cleveland Heights, OH; Jide O. Nzelibe (Uzoamaka) of Evanston, IL; Chika Nzelibe (Sally) of Catonsville, MD; and Sobechi Nzelibe of Baltimore, MD. She was grandmother to Ezekiel Schmiedl, Arthur Schmiedl, Shanthi Nzelibe, Nnamdi Nzelibe, Raluchi Nzelibe and Lotanna Nzelibe; and aunt to Maxine Sykora and K.C. Sykora. She was also dear aunt by marriage to Emmanuel Anozie, Nnamdi Nzelibe, Ikenna Nzelibe, Chiedu Nzelibe, Lilian Nworah, Obiageli Nwabugo, Ifeanyi Nzelibe and many others.

Faith graduated from Orange High School and went on to Hiram College to study microbiology. She attended graduate school at the University of Michigan - where she met her soon-to-be husband, Joseph. She then worked for the US State Department in Washington, DC for a number of years. After the family moved to Nigeria in 1977, she worked as a medical technologist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu, Nigeria.

Faith was a cancer survivor and struggled with mental health issues most of her life. She loved her 4 amazing children and her husband and enjoyed reading - even on the day that she died.

Visitation will be at Our Lady of Peace Church at 12601 Shaker Boulevard Cleveland, OH, 44120 from 10:00AM to 11:00AM on Saturday July 24th followed by a mass at 11:00AM.
Mass will also be streamed at https://olpchurch.com/.

A Celebration of Faith’s Life will follow at the church hall from noon to 4:00PM.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made in Faith’s memory to NAMI Greater Cleveland (namigreatercleveland.org); Hospice of the Western Reserve (hospicewr.org) or Towards Employment (towardsemployment.org).

Posted by Chinelo Nzelibe on July 24, 2021
Mama Jide was an excellent home maker. Virtuous woman, dedicated and loyal to the husband, very generous and hospitable. Very devoted to the entire Nzelibe family. Her kitchen fed the entire Umunwajiobi village as her husband Dr Joseph Nzelibe was a rallying point for the Ihiala community and trained thousands.
.Faith rest in perfect peace. You have lived a life worthy of emulation and I'm sure God reward you abundantly. Adieu till we meet to part no more. sleep on in the Bosom of Christ Jesus.
Posted by Brian Roman on July 24, 2021
Dear Nzelibe family,
I am sorry to hear of your mother's passing, but I am assured that she is finding a place of rest with our Lord. I will always remember her for her kindness and gentleness and dedication to her family. May her soul rest in peace.
Posted by Ogechukwu Uchechukwu on July 23, 2021
Mama Jide, the news of your death came to me as a rude shock, but I’m rest assured that you are with the saints because your kindness and love cannot be overlooked....Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

From Lady Lilian Nworah (Née Nzelibe)
Posted by Grace Nzelibe on July 22, 2021
Dear Jide and siblings

I am very sorry for the passing of your mother. May the Almighty God comfort you all. Eternal rest grant unto her oh Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul rest in peace Amen.
Posted by Ifeanyi Nzelibe on July 22, 2021
TRIBUTE TO A MOTHER IN A MILLION, A RARE GEM - MRS FAITH K NZELIBE

Mummy, it's not easy for me to write a tribute to you. Where do I start from, and how do I even start? Right from the minute I heard the sad news of your passing away words left me, coherent thoughts disappeared from my head.
Mom you were a great woman; selfless, compassionate, caring, humble, motivating, listening and eminently adaptive. Talking of adaptiveness the effortless way you adapted to our culture here in Africa and particularly in Igboland Nigeria is unprecedented. You relocated at some point in time from America to Nigeria and lived in Ihiala for some years and exhibited high level of love, openness, humility and generosity. You blended well with the Ihiala traditional society that one would wonder if you were born there. You never discriminated against anyone not minding your exalted social class. You were a strong member of St Silas Cathedral Ihiala and you bonded well with the women and became a prominent member of the Mothers Union and Women's Guild of the church till your recent call to glory. You were unarguably the Ruth of our time; you loved your husband late Dr J. Okechukwu Nzelibe and accepted him wholly following him wherever he went, you accepted his people as your people, and his culture as your culture. Mummy, I say a very big THANK YOU. You were an epitome of peace and trust. You were really a very good definition of a virtuous woman as captured in Proverbs 31 verse 10 following. I recall how you and my late mom would always sit and gist for hours on end. You were always eager to learn Igbo culture and language from her. You bonded well with her %. I love you mummy Faith.
You were a great cook in your right; how can I forget your delicious rice-pudding, pan-cake with gravy, delicious cakes & other pastries, Easter eggs adorned with many beautiful colours, etc. Christmas was something to look forward to as you would spice it up by ensuring that Christmas gifts for everybody were placed under the big Christmas tree. It was fun and I'm indeed grateful.
You were a good mother and you did not condone indiscipline, especially from your children. Adaora liked reading a lot and would constantly hide in my room to read her very fat novels. You would scream down the house with your shout of Adaora, Adaora. Mischievously Adaora would generally keep quiet and when you found her eventually you would simply chide and correct her with love. Wow! Same goes with Jide; when Jide and I would engage in a fight (or rather when I beat him for being mischievous or naughty - he always was) you would simply stand by and watch the drama and sometimes laugh it off without uttering a word. You trusted me and my sense of judgement. Great mother!
I recall with nostalgia the T-shirts you gave me back then in my university days; one with the inscription "Hiram College" and another one "Oberlin College". In school I wore them with style as if tomorrow 'no dey' with an air of "imakwa ndi anyi bu". That was how we used to roll in those days. Those T-shirts added value to my social life back then. Who wan try? Hahaha. Thank you ma.
When you moved to Enugu your house automatically became an extension of the family house. You welcomed all and sundry. I equally remember how you used to take us to your office/laboratory at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu. You were always eager to explain some scientific breakthroughs especially in Mycology to us. Honestly I don't think this tribute alone can contain your many attributes.
I was delighted and flattered when you, Chika and Sobechi in company of Obiageli visited me in Lagos on your way to relocating back to the United States. You guys spent some time with me and it was really enjoyable. At the end of the visit I drove you to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport to catch your flight. In the Departure Hall it was difficult to bid you guys fare well because all of us especially you, Obiageli and I were close to tears obviously because we were going to miss each other more so we didn't even know when we would see again.
Fortunately enough I was opportuned to again in the United States a couple of years ago. My family and I were on vacation in America (at Emma's place in Maryland) and we had a very beautiful big family reunion at Adaora's place in Cleveland, Ohio with you in attendance and as guest of honour. At the end of the party we all drove to your place to drop you off, and I promised to visit you again in no distant time not knowing that that would be the last time I would ever see you. I'm greatly saddened, mom.
You touched lives in so many ways. Our people back there in Ihiala and around Nigeria as a whole have been singing your praises since the breaking of the news of your passing. Our village has been in a pensive mood. You were really a most wonderful person and I'm proud of you. Your humanity is puzzling and beyond limits. You always had mankind in mind and your last wish before your call to glory clearly demonstrated the extent you could go to help mankind. Even in death you still sacrificed for mankind. You were different and one of a kind. Go well dear mommy Faith. Heaven has gained yet another angel and the earth poorer by the same margin.
May your beautiful soul rest in peace. Amen.
&
Commodore (Dr) Ifeanyi Nzelibe (Rtd)
Posted by SeniorWarden St John's Ep... on July 17, 2021
On behalf of the St. John's Episcopal/Anglican Church, Mount Rainier, MD family, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Nzelibe family on the passing of Ms. Faith. We thank God for her life here on earth and we pray that as the Angels have welcomed her home, may Mother Earth rest gently on her brow. May her soul rest in perfect peace and may God comfort and console you all as you mourn.
Posted by mirian kachikwu on July 17, 2021
Dear Jide, may your mum’s soul Rest In Peace. She was a formidable woman who loved her husband, children and community so well. May God grant you all the serenity to accept her loss and the solace to bear it with courage and thanksgiving. May the power of the Resurrection and the light of the Holy Spirit remain a consoling focus for you in your grief. God bless you all immensely.
Posted by Chigozie Orogbu on July 15, 2021
Dear Jide and family,
My deepest condolences on the loss of your dearest mum. Only God knows the beginning and the end and understands why he designed it so. Please take heart as He gives you the fortitude to bear your loss. Hang on to those memories for the days will come after the tears, when you look back on what you shared and the privilege of sharing.
May her gentle soul rest in peace till we meet again in the House that our Father has prepared for us. AMEN.
Posted by C Hazlewood on July 13, 2021
Our Dearest Best friend and loved one! We will certainly miss you dearest Faith.....Especially since Desiree and I were planning to visit later this year. But God wanted you more......rest in the arms of Jesus alongside your Husband and friend of many years. St. Johns Mt. Rainier MD Bible Study group will grieve, however, we shall all meet again by and by. Now take your well deserved Rest my friend.
Posted by Gateway Family House on July 13, 2021
Faith inspired her Gateway Family through her kindness. Every day she greeted each one of us by name wishing us each Good Morning. She was always thoughtful of other Residents. We will miss her grace and benevolence. Through Faith we all learned to be a little kinder to each other. She will be dearly missed.
Posted by HENRY ETTA on July 13, 2021
Dear Jide & Siblings,

I truly understand the pain of losing a Mother having lost mine since 1999. Just like GOD granted my Siblings and I, DIVINE CONSOLATION then, I PRAY HE does same for you and yours now.

Above all these, may GOD grant your Mum's Soul eternal rest, AMEN.
Posted by Charles Ivenso on July 13, 2021
Dear Faith, I never met you but through your son Jide who became my family when he married Uzoamaka, I can say I have experienced the kind, compassionate and truly loyal person you must have been. Our Lord who loves you more has called you to himself, to a better place, as a reward for your good work and fidelity to His will. Please keep us in your prayers as you contemplate His loving gaze.
Posted by Ikenna charles Nzelibe on July 13, 2021
As you are born into the great world beyond , with your new vibrant and active body . May you receive help and come to realization of numerous helper made available to illuminate your path . May you awaken in joyful activities Amen.
Posted by ROSEMARY ILOGU on July 13, 2021
Dearest Aunty Faith, we've always had confidence in each other over our telephone conversations. We would call each other and talk about anything that was on your mind and would always conclude with a prayer. When you called me on July 7, 2021, and left a message, while I was at my doctor's appointment, little did I know that it would be the last time. I was so shocked to learn of your passing. I will treasure that message, though very devastated that I cannot chat with you anymore till we meet again. I realize you're now with your husband, our dear "Onyenkuzi", Uncle Joseph. May your gentle soul rest in perfect peace. Let perpetual light shine on you. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Chinelo Nzelibe on July 24, 2021
Mama Jide was an excellent home maker. Virtuous woman, dedicated and loyal to the husband, very generous and hospitable. Very devoted to the entire Nzelibe family. Her kitchen fed the entire Umunwajiobi village as her husband Dr Joseph Nzelibe was a rallying point for the Ihiala community and trained thousands.
.Faith rest in perfect peace. You have lived a life worthy of emulation and I'm sure God reward you abundantly. Adieu till we meet to part no more. sleep on in the Bosom of Christ Jesus.
Posted by Brian Roman on July 24, 2021
Dear Nzelibe family,
I am sorry to hear of your mother's passing, but I am assured that she is finding a place of rest with our Lord. I will always remember her for her kindness and gentleness and dedication to her family. May her soul rest in peace.
Posted by Ogechukwu Uchechukwu on July 23, 2021
Mama Jide, the news of your death came to me as a rude shock, but I’m rest assured that you are with the saints because your kindness and love cannot be overlooked....Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

From Lady Lilian Nworah (Née Nzelibe)
her Life

Beginning - 1942 to 1962

Faith was born in Cleveland and started her life on 1888 East 66th street, first daughter of Thad (Thaddeus) Filipiak and Roberta Vance Filipiak. At that time, their marriage was challenging for their families - unions between Polish Catholics and Scottish Presbyterians were not that common. Faith was a premature baby, spending several months in an incubator before coming home. This may have contributed to health conditions that were to surface later, but a favorite and sad family story passed on was that Roberta was advised to smoke to help alleviate morning sickness.

Faith and her family, which now included a baby sister (Zo), moved to Orange Village, where the girls would complete grade and high school. During these years, Faith was almost always to be found with her nose in a book.  Family lore has it that when she got her first ride back from college, she could not provide directions to her house, because she had never ridden anywhere without a book!

Career, Marriage, Children - 1963 to 1982

Faith was a proud graduate of Hiram College where she fell in love with biology and mycology. Supposedly, on a break from Hiram she went mushroom hunting, and her mother trusted her knowledge enough to use them to make dinner for the whole family. Everyone survived.

In summer school working towards a master's degree, Faith met Joseph, a Nigerian student perusing his dream of higher education in the United States. In spite of family opposition on both sides, Faith and Joseph decided their future lay together.  Faith moved to Washington DC with Joseph, completing her degree at George Washington University.  They were married in June 1966, a year before Loving Vs. Virginia.  Despite the fact that the guests came in the back door - the pastor was afraid that their union might cause his church to be bombed - it was still a happy affair.

In the years to follow, Faith worked at the US State Department and at UNTH (University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital) Enugu Campus.  In both jobs, Faith could stop conversation with her insight on tropical parasites and the information to be gleaned from her microscope.  None of her children - Adaora, Jide, Chika and Sobechi - would follow her into the sciences.

Love & Care - 1983 to 2003

Faith had the unique experience of being rooted in two families – but on opposite sides of the world.  Her mother Roberta and her sister-in-laws, Emily and Rhoda played pivotal roles - providing ongoing care for Faith and stepping in to mother her children as needed.

It became apparent, and then confirmed with an official diagnosis, that Faith would have a lifelong battle with mental illness. As Faith was diagnosed with a schizoaffective disorder, Joseph set the family course.  No matter where Faith lived, her family would protect and care for her.

As Faith tried to manage family and career in the face of an every changing and rapidly progressing chronic disease, she still managed to be welcoming and giving for family members from the village who made their way to her door.  She believed, as did Joseph, that a good education was everything; and that faith in God was foundational. Their faith kept them moving forward through some very difficult times.
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