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Omodele Karunwi
  • 91 years old
  • Date of birth: May 30, 1926
  • Date of passing: Oct 22, 2017
Let the memory of Omodele be with us forever

Our Mother, Our Grandmother, Our Cherished Matriarch.
We are all in awe of the strength & beauty you exuded so freely during your 91 years of life.
We do not mourn you but rather celebrate the fruitful life you lived.
You leave here on Earth your children, grand children, great grand-children, friends and more and we cannot express how blessed we all feel to have been able to experience various facets of your wonderful years with you.
We will miss you dearly but are assured you are in a place far more beautiful than here.
We express our gratefulness for your life and pray God comforts us all in this time.
Till we meet again Mama, to part no more.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Dayo Akinlade on 13th November 2017

"Dear Mama,

I feel truly blessed to have spent such quality time with you during my stay in Lagos. Whenever I came to visit, you were genuinely happy to see me - you made me feel so special. You were never too busy to spend time and talk to me or to the different people that dropped by – young, old - it did not matter, you were able to relate to each person in such a unique and loving manner. There was always a sense of peace and calmness around you – I guess that is one of the many reasons people were drawn to you.  Not only did you make my stay in Lagos possible and memorable, but you also imparted your wisdom, your strength and your patience, virtues that I still use in my life today, more than 25 years later!

Mama thank you for touching my life in so many beautiful ways. May your kind and gentle soul rest in perfect peace – Amen!

Dayo Akinlade (nee Lucas)"

This tribute was added by Franca Akue on 12th November 2017

"Mama! You were a mother indeed. You embraced all. Always room in heart for any one who came along with your own. You were a great teacher and encourager. You proof read and edited again and again my first manuscript. And followed up on it until it was published.
We celebrate a life well lived. You leave us with fond memories. i remember the many Christmases and birthday celebrations! Rest in peace till we meet again"

This tribute was added by Bayo Karunwi on 12th November 2017

"TRIBUTE TO MAMA

It’s been said that a mother’s heart is the child’s classroom. I thank God for all that Mama taught us through the years. She is a portrait of a godly mother. She was a mother in a million and a mother to many. 

I want to share a few things we learned from Mama that have influenced me greatly. 

Mama taught us the importance of having a relationship with God. Some of my earliest recollections were of prayer time with Mama. Being the youngest by quite a few years, I was often at home with Mama and we hardly ever missed our devotion time . She loved the Serenity prayer and hung a copy in her room. 

"O God and Heavenly Father, Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen." 

There is perhaps nothing more important for a mother to teach her children than to teach them how to have a relationship with God. 

Mama taught us the unconditional love of a mother. Mama always thought the best and hoped for the best from us. Growing up, I had so many brothers and sisters in the household, many of whom are present here today at this funeral. Mama loved us all unconditionally and yet she did not spare the 'rod of correction'. That special look / frown from Mama was enough to rectify any errant behaviour. There was an exception though and Mama seemed somewhat partial to Erem as the 'Iyawo from Port Harcourt' and all the grandchildren in this regard . They could do absolutely no wrong in Mama's eyes ! 

Mama taught us the difference between right and wrong and taught us to make proper decisions. Mama taught us how to endure. She taught us to never quit—no matter what. Through Mama's example of endurance, we learned to keep going even in the tough times . Her example of endurance and resilience and her words of encouragement still ring in my ears today. She was and still remains a true source of inspiration to us. 

Mama, words are not enough to convey all you taught us and all you were to us . We are immensely grateful to the Lord and proud to be your children, grandchildren​ and great grandchildren . Erem, Adenike, Karina, Tolulope, Kezia and myself simply say THANK YOU for being Mama to us all. 

We love you so much but God loves you more. Adieu, till we meet to part no more. 

Bayo "

This tribute was added by Erem KARUNWI on 11th November 2017

"Our dearest Mama ,
My ‘Mama the Mama’ as I fondly called you .
Each time I called you that when we visited you would look at me wittily and say “you want to go I think“,
basically saying I was praising you to prepare the ground to end the visit nicely
When we visited you never wanted us to leave because you loved us all so so much and always loved having us around you.

One thing I distinctly remember from visiting you back in the days was how you showered us with food , as we love our food . You always made sure we ate well and remembered how I love the nice “Yoruba stew”
well fried with all the assorted meat, rice and dodo ofcourse. All 'diets' were forgotten at Mama's house! And that wouldn't do, we would also be given some soft drinks to wash the nice sumptuous meal down . And then came those biscuits and apples peculiar to only Our Mama the mama . The Daddies and mummies had their own share of that too .
Then the gurudies, ginger beer I remember....

Then what about the memorable Port-Harcout visits!  Everyone loved her . She always had stories to tell us and I was relieved of doing home work with the girls.  For 3 months, she spoilt me by taking full responsibility for the girls. With a full time demanding banking job at the time , I welcomed that and was so grateful to surrender the girls to her promptly. I suspended all lesson teachers because of course - Mama as an impeccable teacher took charge. She would always wait up for myself and Bayo to get home from work so she could chat with us about our day and then give us a summary of her day. She hit it off immediately with my whole family - from my mum to my siblings to the staff, they all loved her so much , she was ‘everyone’s Mama.'

Mama always had visitors from our church family and as she turned 70 we had a nice church and family celebration with her ,around the same time she  launched her book 'Diverse roles of women in the bible.'
I thought she was kidding when she embarked on that project, but it was for real and she did it. She always did what she set her mind to do and from her I learnt so much about resilience, discipline and focus.

Thank you Mama for raising such an amazing , caring , considerate son ‘ my Bayo.' You gave me a precious gift by birthing  Adebayo my sweet heart , and husband for life ❤️.

We will miss you so so much.
Mama , k’e sun re o.

Lots of love
Erem"

This tribute was added by Oyinkan Karunwi on 11th November 2017

"Mama,

I miss you so much. Its hard to believe I wont hear you call me “our lawyer” again. You were always so interested in what my brother’s and I were up to. And even with all your grandchildren; you never lost track. Always asking how I was finding the law and how I was enjoying being home. That always made me feel special.

Your smile lit up the room. I always admired the way you could be firm yet gracious ; strong yet kind.  

I am so grateful for all the memories I have of you. Of repeating “titi ade London!” after you when you taught us Yoruba nursery rhymes from Kulumbu Yeye. Of having as much crackers and  coke as I wanted whenever I  was at your house. Of hearing you sing worship music.

You were always visibly happiest when talking about Jesus or singing worship music. Your faith was unshakeable and was so inspiring. I’m comforted by the hope that we will meet again in our Father’s kingdom.

Love you forever Mama.

Oyinkan"

This tribute was added by Posola Karunwi on 9th November 2017

"Grandma’s house was our extended home as we lived right next door to her. We spent a good portion of childhood darting from our house to hers, wherever play took us. One of our favourite games was Hide and Seek- we were spoilt for choice with endless hiding places between two homes. When we’d run around in Grandma’s place, inevitably someone would bump into one of her display cabinets decorated with beautiful ornaments and of course a serious beating and telling off would follow but would never stop us from returning moments later to play.

I remember when my older siblings were away either at boarding school or university and my mother had travelled to UK. During that period, I was left in Grandma’s care and am ever grateful for the precious times we shared together and the memories that were formed. Grandma showed me such love and persisting care; I can hear her calling ‘A-de-po-so-la mi’ in that musical voice of hers, stretching every syllable while wearing that signature concerned expression on her face.

One of my fondest memories of Grandma is of her hair routine. About 99% of the time it would be tucked away neatly underneath her hair net so when the time came to re-do it I’d always be excited about the great reveal and would silently marvel at the length and smooth texture of the white hair that would be unravelled from the thread. I remember hours spent in comfortable silence, Grandma making the occasional quip at scandalous articles in her Punch newspaper while I’d play with my Polly Pocket doll or make paper cut outs to decorate the room with which remained in the exact position they were taped in for the next decade- an honour!

Thank you for everything Ma, for the lessons you instilled in me and for the care you always gave to each and every one of us. I miss you so dearly my Graaaa-ma-a-ma

Love always, Poooo-si-o-la"

This tribute was added by Kayode Karunwi on 8th November 2017

"On July 31st 2001, I met with my family for final prayers, words of wisdom, and other wonderful words of love and affirmation.  She reminded me to “Remember the son of whom you are” and to be diligent in all I lay my hands on.  Sixteen years later and those words still ring at the back of my mind frequently.

I recently had a new addition to the family on November 2nd 2017 and with a 13-month old toddler in the mix I began to remember how fortunate my parents were that they had a place to drop us toddlers in; Dele Day was a godsend!!  I remember how grandma personally taught me, trained me, made me practice playing the piano because her dad and family were well-known musicians and we had no choice but to follow suit.  I am still actively engaged in music, especially church music and I am grateful to her for ensuring we got involved early on in our years.

So many of my childhood memories are tied to 9 Eric Manuel Crescent. Whether it was during my toddler, kindergarten days to Christmas Day parties we learned about the importance of family and staying connected.  I remember laying under the dining table to watch Sesame Street or Voltron or whatever else was on TV everyday at 4pm while spending every moment before then playing outside on the swings, climbing bars, with sand etc in the hot Nigerian sun.

Grandma always kept tabs on me even after I left the country to advance my education.  She welcomed my wife, Tise with open arms and lots of encouragement.  She was also able to video chat with us during our first born, Kamiye’s, naming ceremony and give a few more words of advice.  My only wish was that she could have met the latest Karunwi addition, Kayowa.

So many years later, I still play her compilation of Yoruba nursery rhymes from the Kulumbu Yeye book.  She had diligently put together a wonderful and professionally done audio version to accompany the book.  A few of my American friends who teach pre-K and nursery students were enthralled to have a copy and gushed about how their kids loved it!   I could go on and on about how I enjoyed being referred to as the First Headmistress of Staff School’s grandson and how I got a kick from being placed in KARUNWI house during our Inter-house sports among many Staff School memories.

Mama, all your words will keep resounding in my mind as I strive to be a great educator like you and do my best to reach out to influence lives around me the way you did."

This tribute was added by Richard Oladapo Alawaye on 8th November 2017

"To the Children of Mrs. Karunwi.

Your Mother was a GEM! She was the Principal at University of Lagos Staff School Akoka when myself and my siblings, Titilope and Segun, attended back in the 60s and 70s. The education we received from Staff School was top notch and it set us up for life. Staff School was the best Primary School in Lagos. Period.
She wasn't just a Principal but a Mother to all her students. She knew every child by name. Her leadership and influence was evident in that school daily. She was very well respected by students and Staff. We all speak "The Queen's English" because of our time at Staff School. We've now passed-on that legacy to our children. Your mother's impact will be felt for many generations to come. I remember her on the Piano during Music Lessons. She was gentle, kind and a truly genuinely wonderful person. May her soul Rest in Peace. Amen"

This tribute was added by olaite karunwi on 7th November 2017

"Mama,

I have looked for words to describe you as Papa’s wife, my mother, our children’s grandmother and have found those words in the book of Proverbs 31:10-31.
Indeed many others have done well but you excel them all. You were ‘mother hen’ to us four boys. Having lost Papa in 1965 you tirelessly, lovingly and patiently cared for me.

Mama, you taught me how to be resourceful, to be considerate of others and hardworking. A disciplinarian par excellence:  at home, my mother; at school, my teacher and headmistress. During my formative years you were a source of  encouragement to me, you were always so supportive.

I was quite a handful in primary school, sustaining many injuries regularly, a broken arm, then a broken leg. I remember the worst of them in Corona school ,Yaba, during our Cowboys and Indians fights; I had a broken bottle thrown at my face; when told, you calmly asked “is he alive?” and nursed me back to health.

I was an average student in academics and you always encouraged me to do better; saying to me ‘your Aunty was like you but now she has a PhD – so go for it!”.

I only got to know in my later years the concern you had for me in my sporting days. Despite your concern, you always supported me in my training and at competitions; packing lunch when you could and constantly cheering me on.

Mama, you were a wonderful mother-in-law to my wife Laite; giving her all the support she needed. Laite was always eager to visit with you.  Laite would often send text messages to me saying “at Mama’s” and after some hours I would reply: “Dear, its getting dark”. You had an amazing relationship with her and I thank God for it. Laite cannot get over your ‘art of planning’. We talk about ‘Mama’s planning’ all the time. You always had a notebook and pencil nearby with our individual assignments written in your beautiful handwriting. And as soon as we arrived at your house, our various assignments for the days, weeks and sometimes months to come were clearly read to us. You were such a planner Mama.

Our four children will always remember you for your loving kindness. Always wanted them to be around you. Your book and CD Kulumbu Yeye had such a great impact on them.

Mama, I am so grateful to the Almighty God for the privilege of being your son and for your salvation; knowing that some day we will be together with Jesus in God’s kingdom.

Love you always, Bode"

This tribute was added by L Biscette on 7th November 2017

"My sincerest condolences to the Karunwi family. May you all find comfort in knowing that in the future, God will put an end to death, in line with His words at Revelation 21:3 and 4."

This tribute was added by Abisade Karunwi on 7th November 2017

"Dear Grandma,

I remember playing with all my cousins at Dele Dele Nursery. You created a safe space for us and didn’t seem to mind us running through the house and knocking over things on many occasions. You only had kind words for us. “Ah ni suru”, you used to say all the time, constantly urging us to slow down.

Every time we visited, we had a good time with so much to eat and drink. Even in my adult years, I still felt your generosity and love with the effort you put into ensuring we were all okay with extra biscuits and soft drinks for the ride home. You were so generous with your love and sugar.

You had such a sweet tooth. I remember once when you asked me to make you a pot of tea. At first when I asked you how many cubes of sugar, you said two.  Later, with a sneaky smile on your face whispered a request for a third in my ear. I guess that was always a reflection of your inner sweetness. You were so warm, kind and effortlessly gentle. I will always remember you fondly grandma.

It was wonderful having you as long as we did. You were such a blessing!"

This tribute was added by Leke Karunwi on 7th November 2017

"I remember always being excited to visit Grandma because that meant candy, biscuits, soda & cousins!
There was never a dull moment and I am thankful for all the great memories.
Grandma was a patient, strong, gentle, creative and interesting woman. She was always working on projects. The ‘Kulumbu yeye’ compilations was one of such projects. It had a huge impact on me growing up and it was always a source of pride to tell my peers that my Grandma produced the CD. I thank God for her life and giving us the opportunity to know her and even fellowship with her before she went to be with the Lord.  
I miss her very much but happy she is resting now.
Rest in peace Grandma."

This tribute was added by GODFREY INNISS-PALMER on 5th November 2017

"Prayers and fond memories are what we remember of our dear Auntie Omodele. May God grant her, our cousins and family, eternal peace during this difficult time.

The Inniss-Palmer Family."

This tribute was added by sunmbo howells on 5th November 2017

"WHEN DREAMS LIKE A RIVER ATTENDED MY WAY....
IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL...
.MAMA YOU MAY HAVE GONE. BUT YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.
.I LIVED WITH MAMA WHILE ATTENDING ANGLICAN GIRLS GRAMMAR SCHOOL SURULERE.,AND OUR CHILDREN, TOLU,SOLA AND SEUN ATTENDED DELE DAY NURSERY SCHOOL IDIORO.
YOU WERE SUCH A WONDERFUL MENTOR , A GREAT DISCIPLINARIAN, A MOTHER IN ISREAL, LOVER OF CHILDREN.A CHRISTIAN TO THE CORE.
MAY YOUR GENTLE SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE
MASUN OLUFE KO SI MA SINMI.
YOU WILL BE FOREVER MISSED"

This tribute was added by Oladiipo Fakorede on 5th November 2017

"My wife and I wish to sieze this opportunity to commiserate with the Karunwi
family on the loss of their matriarch, Mama Omodele Karunwi (1926-2017).
Mama, was relict of late Papa Adelu Karunwi, former Director of Audit in the
famed Civil Service of the old Western State.
Mrs. Omodele Karunwi was, while on this side of the divide, a woman of
many parts. She was a mother among mothers who lived an exemplary
Christian life worthy of emulation by all. A mother in a million and a teacher
of teachers , the late Mrs. Karunwi was, for many years ,the Head Teacher/
Mistress of the famed University of Lagos Staff School where she groomed
and moulded countless children to become leaders they are today. She was a
writer having written the book, " A Woman Industrialist: A Biography of Chief
Mrs Bisoye Tejuoso" among others.
The Yoruba would say " Olorun ko ni je ki agba ko tan lori'le" meaning may
God forbid a situation whereby there would no longer be elders in the land.
Late Mrs. Omodele was a fountain and repository of knowledge from whom
many people tapped. The nation has really lost a gem.Our consolation is that
she left a good legacy and children who are pulling their weights in their
various fields of endeavour. Among them are amiable Pastor (Dr.) and Dr.
( Mrs.) Bode Karunwi .
May God grant her eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the loss."

This tribute was added by olaite karunwi on 3rd November 2017

"Mama dearest,

From the day I married your son, Bode, you accepted me as your daughter, faults and all. You were always so caring and considerate. I testify that you were an amazing mother to us and grandmother to our children. I loved you from the time I met you and was grateful that you had raised an amazing husband for me It could not have been easy. I thank God for the principled life you lived and the legacy you left us.
Words cannot describe you. I loved spending time with you. You were beautiful inside and out, kind, generous, proper, stylish, strong, wise, and firm. You were very firm. You knew when we needed guidance and when to allow us find our way. You were such an amazing woman. No nonsense. I thank God for your life and for the privilege of being your daughter. You taught me so much about planning, focus, hospitality, determination, courage, love, kindness, decency and a whole lot more.
Once I was trying to avoid travelling to Zaria for my brother’s graduation, chiefly because I have never travelled that far north on my own. I will never forget the serious look on your face when I explained to you that despite being his only sibling in the country, and even though he had done so well and won awards, I was not planning on going. I was so sure you would pet me and say it was unreasonable for anyone to expect me to go that far from home, so I went on to explain that ‘I don’t even know how to get there’. I will never forget the scandalized look on your face and how you reacted with a very serious face, ‘You go to the airport! That is how you get there! When you get to the airport, you will know how to go to Zaria!’ The way you said it, it sounded like ‘if you don’t go, you will be in trouble with me’. It was serious. I took the rebuke to heart and rushed home to pack. The next day I was visibly present at the ABU, Zaria graduation ceremony giving my brother standing ovations as he received his awards. I was so glad for my dear wise Mama and her sense of duty. She made me do the right thing that I would certainly have regretted if I hadn’t. Thank you Mama for that valuable advice and many, many other lessons. I miss you so much.
I am particularly joyous because I know you were ready to meet God. I say that because recently, I was a witness when you forgave all the people that had offended you, repented of your sins, was baptized biblically by complete immersion and received the Holy Spirit. You made peace with God and you are without doubt in heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is time to rest now Mama. Rest on Mama dearest; rest in perfect peace.
I will cherish your memory always.
Your loving daughter,
Olaite"


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This memorial is administered by:

Adenike Karunwi
Abisade Karunwi
olaite karunwi
Lolade Coker
Kayode Karunwi
Karina Karunwi
Tobi Karunwi
Kiki Karunwi
Leke Karunwi
Lolade Coker
Oyinkan Karunwi
Posola Karunwi
Tolu Karunwi

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