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This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Prof. Igolima

Amachree, 80, born on March 8, 1937and passed away on May 1, 2017. We

will remember him forever.


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in the name of Igolima Amachree

here -

Funeral Activities:

1.  Memorial Service Location

 Wesley Community Center 

1200 E. Grant St.

 Macomb, IL 61455     

 Friday 5/19/2017

 3 pm 


Macomb Municipal Airport, Macomb, IL. 

Greater Peoria Regional Airport, Peoria, IL. 

Quad Cities International Airport, Moline, IL. 

Quincy Regional Airport, Quincy, IL. 

Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport, Springfield, IL. 

Chicago O'Hare and Midway Airports, Chicago, IL. 

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, St.  

 2. Funeral service Location:

 Visitation & service

Saturday, May 27th, 2017


Trinity Church 

3355 Dunckel Road

Lansing, Michigan 48911
Reception to follow at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing, Michigan

N/B: Below you will find useful travel information for Igolima Amachree's funeral

service and repass on the 27th of May 2017.  

  Nearby Michigan Airport options:   

Lansing (LAN) - 4mi  

Flint Bishop International (FNT)- 53mi  

Detroit Metropolitan (DTW) - 90mi   

  Repass celebration and overnight lodging:    

Starts directly following the service   

Downtown Radisson Hotel 

111 North Grand Avenue  

Lansing, Michigan 48933 

Phone#: 517-482-0188    

To guarantee your room discount rate please ensure you mention the Amachree

reception when booking. 

June 10, 2022
June 10, 2022
Professor Amachree,

I was looking through some old papers last night and was pleased to find a letter that you wrote me, kindly praising me for being one of the few students to earn an "A" in one of your Sociology courses at WIU. As I read the letter again, I was touched and amazed that you had taken the time to write it. No other teacher, at any level, has taken the time to do such a thing for me. After reading your kind and thoughtful words, I was once again filled with pride, purpose, hope, strength, and a hunger for knowledge and excellence.

You wrote that letter about 14 years ago, and upon reading it again, I was so thankful. I needed that letter back then, and I needed that letter yesterday. When you first sent it, I was still in school, and I was touched by it, but I had so much more to do that I absorbed the message, filed it away, and forgot about it. But now, having discovered it again, after finding my own success after graduating, I can't find the words to describe how much it meant to me then and means to me now.

To have someone such as yourself show faith in me then was of immeasurable importance. I wish I had the opportunity to tell you how much that letter means to me while you were still here. And this is why I writing this message now, about 5 years now since you have passed.

After reading your letter again, I decided to look you up and see what you were up to these days, thinking I might write you to say thank you, and that's when I found out the news of your passing. It's touched me much deeper than I could have ever expected, given our only real communication was a couple of questions I answered in your class, and a few moments of standard communication between a professor and one of a number of their students. And, of course, your beautiful letter.

But as I read more about you and your life, and re-read the letter, I feel that there was some, divine I might say, connection, that was far deeper than I thought. If only that you couldn't have realized how much I would come to appreciate that letter, years later, but something inside you, in your character, drove you to write it. I do not believe in coincidences, and I don't think it's a coincidence that I found that letter again yesterday. It was meant to be. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that someone, even someone with as little interaction as you and I had, believed in me and genuinely hoped I would succeed.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for the letter, thank you for your teachings, thank you for your character, thank you for the positive impact you had in this world, and God bless you.
May 1, 2020
May 1, 2020
You are always in our thought. The Lord knows better and will continue to comfort us.
Dein Na Sime
March 9, 2020
March 9, 2020
You are always in our thought.
Even as we cannot shout a big happy birthday and hug you, we do remember this special day which was 3/8/2020.
Dein sime ibi minabo.
September 22, 2019
September 22, 2019
Dr. Amachree was one of our most brilliant professors at WIU
May his soul rest in perfect peace
William Ebomoyi
May 1, 2019
May 1, 2019
Brother, you will always be remembered.
Continue to rest in the blossom of the Lord Jesus.
Dein Na Sime.
March 1, 2019
March 1, 2019
I will never forget Dr. Amachree. I was only 19 when I took his class. I would always answer his questions, even though I knew he would challenge me to back-up my statements. I knew before answering that he may hold me "on the spot" as he dissected my comments in front of the class. It was very intimidating to me, but his humor and kindness always came through. I think he knew I liked to spar with him on certain topics. : ) I was completely fascinated with his lectures, as I had never met someone quite like him! He was a force of joy and intelligence. At break, he would come talk to the students. He was very honest in his assessments of where I was in life, but SO kindhearted. I smoked at the time, and I quite, in part, because of his lectures to me on these breaks. At the end of the course, when I was home for the summer, I received a 2-page letter from him. He spoke about my contribution to class, reminded me to quit smoking, and told me that I need to appreciate my intelligence and gifts. He said I was taking them for granted (which I was). That was 30 years ago, and I still think of him often. He was the most amazing teacher I have ever met. And, he made a big impact on my development. My sincere sympathies to his family and friends. I just wanted you to know of another life he touched in such a meaningful way. Peace
March 13, 2018
March 13, 2018
Those who've lived never died. May simply your earthly vessel rest on!
June 10, 2017
June 10, 2017
Special Tribute to Professor Igolima Amachree

          By Chief Mpaka Princewill

The sudden demise of Professor Igolima Tubobelem Dagogo Amachree in May 2017 was received with shock and trepidation. An erudite Kalabari scholar and trailblazing academic, Prof. Amachree was one of the finest products of the Kalabari National College [KNC], Buguma City, Nigeria and Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone, in the antebellum years. He achieved great academic distinction, earning a bachelor's degree from the University of Durham, United Kingdom and, later, winning a United States fellowship to Michigan State University, where he completed his Master's and Doctoral degrees in Sociology.

Prof. Amachree was born to the Royal King Amachree family of the Kalabari Kingdom in Rivers State, Nigeria in 1937. He was determined to and did, fulfill his early promise as a brilliant scholar: became the first tenured Nigerian professor in the United States. He was, it has been noted, the first black member of the Western Illinois faculty where he spent over 40 years of service, returning in 2009 as an Emeritus Professor. Prof. Amachree was also a consultant to the World Bank and the United Nations in 1979.

As scion of a noble family, Prof. Amachree believed in decisive thought and action, contributing significantly to Nigeria's and American-indeed, international-political and social discourse. He was an enigmatic icon. Colleagues familiar with his teaching and mentoring; and his capacity for interpersonal relations, attest to his wide influence on everyone who came into his orbit.

To contain the internecine Liberian crisis during the years of chaos and disorder, Prof. Amachree rose above the confines of 'meddlesome interlopers and political scalawags' to develop a viable democratic Constitution for the Republic of Liberia that was accepted by the United Nations in 1985.

Without resorting to the trite words so often encountered in these situations, I wish Prof. Igolima Amachree eternal rest in the Lord Almighty.


Chief Mpaka R. M. Princewill is Chairman, Board of Directors, Buguma Community USA; National Adviser, Kalabari National Association USA; and Chairman, Niger Delta People's World Congress
May 19, 2017
May 19, 2017
Coz Igoli, May your gentle soul rest eternally in the perfect peace of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ! May the Lord Jesus Christ continue to comfort your entire family!! In the midst of bereavement, sorrow, emotional & physical challenges, let us remember to always praise God!!! According to Psalm 117: "O Praise the Lord, all ye nations; praise Him, all ye people....For his merciful kindness is great toward us; and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord" Amen, Amen, Amen!!!!
May 19, 2017
May 19, 2017
Reflections on Igolima Amachree, a Wonderful Friend 
Jack Gorby

Losing a friend is always difficult. My pain on learning of the loss of Igolima, a friend with whom I have been very close for 44 years in many different capacities, is beyond my capacity to express. Rather than dwell on my emotions, I’ll try to honor Igolima’s memory and his great contributions to others and to me by sharing highlights of several of our most significant life experiences together.

I was McDonough County Illinois’ first Public Defender. I was also an outsider, having moved to Macomb to take on that newly created position. It was a lonely job without friends or much support from the local government. I soon learned that the County saw little need and didn’t want a public defender. Its decision to hire one was a direct result of a “Hobson’s Choice” imposed by the 9th Judicial Circuit: “Either employ a public defender or pay local attorneys the going hourly rate for lawyers.” It was much cheaper to employ me.

I arrived with a desire to teach part time and be a part of the WIU academic life. So I applied for a position as an adjunct professor. That’s how and when I met Igolima, the chair of WIU Sociology and Anthropology Department. We were about the same age, both products of foreign universities, both very interested in sports and politics and religion, and both saw law as an aspect of sociology. Igolima was as warm and curious about my life as anyone I’d met, a character trait he consistently displayed. I developed an immediate liking for him. He took a chance and hired me to teach law-related courses in his “soc”—department.  Igolima was always interested in “my doings” and encouraging and supportive of my academic interests and ambitions.

We met often to discuss students, teaching, law and my public defender job and criminal cases. We also played tennis, a new sport for me I’d learned in Germany. To my never-ending annoyance he always beat me. The fact that he was very good at that sport was of little solace.  In losing at his hand, I at least learned a lot.

One day the local court appointed me to represent a talented Nigerian-WIU student whom I’ll call “George.” George had just been accepted by the U of Southern California medical school. One morning, while going through the cafeteria line at WIU to get breakfast, a student cafeteria worker scooped out a spoonful of scrambled eggs and placed it on his plate. George asked for a second spoonful. The server said “no.” George responded by saying he was entitled to as many eggs as he wanted, which was true. The young woman server told him that he could come back for seconds but had to “first eat the food on his plate.” This upset George, and he tried to grab the serving spoon and serve himself a second helping. By accident he grabbed her hand. She was apparently very offended by this black boy touching her hand and filed a criminal complaint against him for battery. George was arrested. While in jail, immigration authorities informed him that, if convicted, he would be deported. George was very upset, and so was I. An American kid under similar circumstances would, at worst, be found guilty of disorderly conduct, fined $25, and told not to do it again. In George’s case, the consequences appeared to be deportation and loss of a wonderful opportunity to pursue a medical career as a physician back home in Nigeria. I spoke to the State’s Attorney about the grave injustice of George’s situation. 

The State’s Attorney was unreasonable, adamant and uncompromising. I contacted the head of WIU’s foreign student office, a retired Army colonel. He was equally adamant. The university “will not interfere with the legal process,” he said. I resorted to a letter to the president of WIU and urged him to support George and contact the State’s Attorney’s office. The president was moved. He contacted the State’s Attorney, who exploded and made a spectacle out of this by claiming publically that I had acted unethically by encouraging the WIU president to put pressure on his office. In the State’s Attorney’s view the circuit court should reprimand, if not fire, me. Equally importantly, the State’s Attorney refused to drop the charges. A trial date was set.

I spoke to my friend Igolima about this. Igolima sat back in his chair and said: “This is a consequence of cultural differences. In Nigeria, the poor social classes have a reputation for going back for seconds in situations like this and this behavior has come to indicate one’s social class. As a result, the wealthy classes instruct their children not to go back and get second helpings. However, since young men are always hungry, they are allowed to pile up their plates with a lot of food to avoid hunger pains and the temptation to return for seconds and betray their social class. George,” Igolima continued, “is a kid from a wealthier social class and most likely reacted as he’d been taught.” Impressed, I said: “Igolima, you’re going to be my expert witness.” We tried the case before a jury. Igolima testified very persuasively and apparently touched a compassionate nerve of the judge, who, after the prosecution rested its case, directed a verdict of acquittal. George regained his freedom, and off to med school he went. If it weren’t for Igolima’s earnest persuasiveness, George’s life would have suffered a terrible blow. With that case, I gained an insight into Igolima’s compassion and talent for persuasion. To my surprise and great delight, George’s parents sent me a strikingly beautiful African robe and pants. I treasure it to this day.  I may wear it in honor of Igolima at his funeral in Lansing. Igolima deserved the robe, but since he already had one, I selfishly kept it for myself. 

Not long after George’s case, I resigned my job as public defender and left Macomb to take a position as a professor of law at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago and also become the legal director of the Americans United for Life Legal Defense Fund. In this latter job, I handled cases at all federal and state levels, many of which I discussed – from afar – with  Igolima. In addition, when I taught “philosophy of law” courses, I invited Igolima to my classes to expound – from his sociologist’s perspective – on law generally and as practiced in foreign countries, particularly Africa. He never failed to impress my students and me with his thoughtful insights, wisdom, curiosity, kindness, commitment to learning and teaching, and intelligence, all of which he conveyed in our classes and in his life. I understood why he was so respected at WIU and everywhere else.

We stayed in touch and on a few occasions had lunch in Galesburg when I was there. We exchanged stories of our lives, counseled each other on family troubles, and kept our friendship alive. 

In 2003, I learned that Igolima’s brother-in-law and Mara’s brother Charles Gyude Byrant – a highly respected Liberian politician and businessman -- had been selected the Chairman and Head of State of the Transitional Government of Liberia pursuant to terms of the “Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement” of 2003 that brought an end to the 14 years of civil war in Liberia. This promised to be a most challenging, risky and important job. And it was.

Three years later, after the transitional era had ended and the newly elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf government took control, the Liberian Minister of Justice indicted the Chairman Bryant for serious economic crimes (a form of embezzlement) while in office. These charges were disturbing, particularly in light of all the Chairman had done for Liberia. He had discharged very successfully his mission as defined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which functioned as the basic law that governed Liberia during the transitional era. In short, Gyude Bryant maintained peace among the previously warring groups, assured democratic elections that ushered in a new government as scheduled, and ran the government on a daily basis.

In addition to asserting his innocence, Chairman Bryant and his lawyers claimed that – as head of state – he was entitled under the Liberian Constitution to presidential immunity for acts performed while in office. (US presidents and other heads of state enjoy similar protections.) This issue went to the Liberian Supreme Court, composed entirely of Johnson-Sirleaf appointees. The Supreme Court rejected his claim of immunity, holding that only persons elected president under the provisions of the Liberian Constitution are entitled to such immunity, not a transitional head of state. Igolima and Mara sent me a copy of the Court’s judgment and opinion with a request for me to read it and give them my opinion.

Knowing nothing about Liberian constitutional law, I was hesitant. But as a courtesy to dear friends, I read the Court’s opinion, thinking I’d have nothing to say. I read it several times. This thought came to mind: Gyude Bryant was elected pursuant to the internationally (UN, African Union & the regional Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS) brokered Comprehensive Peace Agreement, not the Liberian Constitution. (Charles Taylor was at the time the duly elected president of Liberia.) And thus the ultimate tribunal for interpreting the meaning of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Gyude’s case is not the Liberian Supreme Court at all. It is an international tribunal to be organized by ECOWAS. Thus, the Liberian Supreme Court never really had jurisdiction and, even if it did, it isn’t the ultimate decision-maker about the Chairman’s immunity under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. In addition, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement suspended all provisions relating to governmental “power” in the Liberian Constitution and incorporated all other provisions of the Liberian Constitution, including executive immunity. Accordingly, so my thinking went, immunity became a right of the Chairman of the Transitional Government of Liberia. In any case, it is ECOWAS’ tribunal that determines ultimately the meaning of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, not the Liberian Supreme Court. Wow! I had something to say.

I became Chairman Gyude Bryant’s lawyer, converted Igolima from a sociologist into an international lawyer and law partner, and impounded into service JMLS international law librarian Ann Abramson and several international law students, including Kenyan lawyer Mercy Muendo. We immediately started working on an application for relief in ECOWAS. Specifically, we asked ECOWAS’ President Dr. Mohamed Chambas to organize a tribunal to determine the meaning of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with regard to Gyude’s right to “executive immunity.”  One snowy day in January while taking a hike in the woods with an old friend, I got a call from a “Tom Sawyer.” No joke, I quickly learned. This Tom Sawyer was a Native American, a friend of Gyude, who shared an intense aversion to the use of children in warfare as had been done in the Liberian civil wars. Tom also had been a senior cabinet advisor on Indian Affairs to US presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan. A remarkable man. Gyude had instructed Tom to call me. So he did. Tom was an economist and psychologist, not a lawyer. Together we became a “pretty good law firm” composed of one lawyer (me), one librarian (Ann), one sociologist (Igolima), one economist (Tom) and the several students, including a foreign lawyer (Mercy). We all worked hard and enthusiastically together, completed and filed our application for relief with ECOWAS. 

This sent shock waves through Liberia. The Johnson-Sirleaf government was furious and within a week – in the spirit of “I’ll teach them” – set one of Gyude’s two indictments for immediate trial. We urged Gyude’s lawyers in Liberia to inform the trial court that Gyude’s case was now pending before ECOWAS and that the court should postpone all proceedings until the ECOWAS tribunal ruled on our application. Unfortunately his lawyers in Liberia wanted nothing to do with this international legal action. They told Gyude and me that they’d lose their license to practice law in Liberia if they had anything at all to do with such action. In short, they refused to cooperate with our little makeshift “law firm.”

Gyude resolved this dilemma in a manner contrary to his own interests by telling his Liberian lawyers that he could not and would not ask them to risk their careers on his behalf. I offered to come to Liberia to deal directly with this issue. These lawyers warned me I would not be safe in Liberia and insisted I not come. So the trial on one of the two indictments began. 

It went on for 135 days. Igolima and I stayed abreast by reading transcripts and making suggestions, most of which were accepted. I also consulted with Tom. Gyude claimed that the “missing” oil money was withdrawn under his authority from the Liberian Bank and used for the sole purpose of keeping Liberia’s promise to compensate a band of youthful civil warriors in the backcountry that threatened to resume hostilities unless compensated for their weapons and for keeping the peace.  As said, Gyude’s main job under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was to keep the peace. And he was determined to do this. The jury accepted his defense and acquitted him unanimously. Upon learning of the results, church bells rang throughout Liberia. 

One indictment remained, and the government seemed determined to prosecute and convict Gyude on that remaining charge. ECOWAS’ President Dr. Chambas was ignoring the application we filed. In the meantime, Igolima, Tom Sawyer and I worked together to write legal arguments in a letterform, which we sent to Dr. Chambas to explain how Gyude’s case raised serious issues for ECOWAS and its integrity as well as for the use of transitional governments following civil wars. Dr. Chambas ignored these letters as well. Finally I contacted the “Liberia desk” of the U.S. State Department, shared my frustrations about ECOWAS, and asked how I could communicate with Dr. Chambas. To my surprise and delight, the head of the Liberia desk provided me with contact information to Dr. Chambas’ personal secretary, whom I immediately called. She was most cordial and cooperative and suggested I send her our correspondence and she would see that Dr. Chambas would read it. Over the next year or so, we sent a number of such letters to his secretary. 

The gist of the letters was as follows: 1) Gyude had a good defense to the remaining indictment. Specifically Liberian refugees had settled in a neighboring country, causing economic harm, considerable unrest, and political problems. In response, a movement had arisen to attack the Liberian transitional government to solve the problem.  Gyude’s decision to withdrew additional funds from the same Liberian bank was done to help the neighboring country deal with the refugee problem. This resolved the crisis, averted military action, maintained the ceasefire agreement, and allowed Liberia to hold democratic elections as scheduled. And 2) The UN, African Union and ECOWAS had played an important role in ending the Liberian civil wars of 14 years. This effort gained an end to hostilities between the warring factions in Liberia and brokered the Comprehensive Peace Agreement under which Gyude served. That agreement provided the head of the transitional state with certain protections that most heads of state enjoy. By ignoring this matter, we claimed, ECOWAS is “pulling the rug of protection” set forth in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement out from under its Chairman, thereby subjecting him to what appears to be politically motivated prosecution, is in violation of its own duties under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, is – out of fear of similar treatment – discouraging anyone from serving as head of a transitional government, and is eroding seriously trust and confidence that ECOWAS has the courage to keep its important promises and commitments.

From the outset of Gyude’s case, I had the picture in my mind that ECOWAS would form a tribunal composed of international judges, the Chairman and the government of Liberia would draft, file and exchange formal pleadings and legal briefs, and I’d travel to Abuja, Nigeria, where ECOWAS’ headquarters are located, and make oral arguments. Just like in our Supreme Court. Igolima wasn’t so certain. 

One December day, Gyude and Dr. Chambas met in Monrovia. Rather than talk about the burdens of being the head of state and let a good opportunity slip by as had been previously the case, Gyude with great directness asked Dr. Chambas: “Why do you ignore my lawyer, Professor Jack Gorby?” Dr. Chambas was silent for some time and then replied that he felt very, very badly about this but that he just couldn’t have a paper trail of correspondence showing cooperation with an adversary of a member state’s government. Dr. Chambas added: “I feel particularly bad about this because, at one time, I was a student in Professor Gorby’s law school.” Gyude, Igolima and I were very amused about this remarkable coincidence. We kept this a secret because we didn’t want to suggest Dr. Chambas had any possible favoritism toward me and thus compromise our best hope for some kind of fair resolution.

While we never heard from Dr. Chambas directly, we did learn through various sources that he visited Liberia on several occasions, met with Liberian President Johnson-Sirleaf, discussed Gyude’s case with her from ECOWAS’ and Liberia’s perspectives and urged her to dismiss the remaining charges before this case became an international scandal.  Nothing happened for about two years. And Igolima, Tom and I worked on more arguments.

And then, one day, the Liberian government announced it had dismissed all remaining charges against our Chairman. In the end, Dr. Chambas had apparently been effective. What a relief, what a delight, what a cause for celebration! 

We learned a lot. The West African member states of ECOWAS joined this regional international organization to make money as the European Union has done, not to surrender to a regional international organization the authority to interfere in the domestic affairs of member states.  Dr. Chambas understood this implicitly. This explains what happened. He couldn’t leave a record of cooperation with us. It also explains why all his efforts were made diplomatically, quietly and behind the scenes. Igolima, Tom and I had given Dr. Chambas Gyude’s best arguments. In turn, Dr. Chambas was able to quietly employ these arguments to persuade President Johnson-Sirleaf, who in turn, was able to persuade her Justice Minister/Attorney General that Liberia and ECOWAS’ interests were best served by dismissing all charges. While not as exciting or as much fun as making an oral argument before an international tribunal, in retrospect this approach became more effective and successful in the very political world of West Africa. We learned something valuable about the workings of international law.

And I learned things about Igolima that I somehow knew all along. Igolima was a very hard, tireless, talented and creative worker. (I have at least 1,000 emails of suggestions, admonitions, summaries, drafts and revisions of arguments and big phone bills to support this claim.) Though not formally trained as a lawyer and never thinking of himself as a lawyer, he is as good a lawyer as any I’ve had the honor of working with. I also learned that Igolima was a very compassionate, loving man and deeply committed to the truth, to justice, and to his family. Over this four-year period of litigation, he also made great contributions in a serious case with important consequences for the resolution of civil wars, for Liberia, for ECOWAS and for his family and for my ability to successfully represent Chairman Bryant. 

I feel better having shared some of my stories with you about Igolima and me. I hope they reveal something of Igolima’s many admirable character traits. As I’ve written this, I keep feeling I should send Igolima a draft with my usual request to look through this and correct my mistakes and blunders. This, of course, will never happen again. And I feel very sad. We’d planned to write a book about Gyude Bryant, his ordeal and aftermath. 

Thank you for reading all of this. The deepest and most revealing friendships are built through cooperative, team efforts like these. I’ve been very blessed by 44 years of such a friendship but selfishly want more. While the loss of Igolima is very painful, one simply cannot ask for more from a friend. And I’m left with the deep honor of calling Igolima my friend.
May 18, 2017
May 18, 2017
Dr. Amacharee, you married Mara Henderson our Cuttington College and Divinity School classmate - class of 1960, that made you an honorary member of our class.
On behalf of that class, we honor and respect you and wish eternal light perpetual shine on you, and to Mara, the children and grand children we express deep sympathy and commend you to God's sufficient grace to comfort and up hold you, in times like these and beyond.
The class ladies as they appeared in 1960: Mara Henderson, Yede Baker, Ayele Ajavon, Clarice Holt. God's peace!!
Bishop Bennie D. Warner
May 16, 2017
May 16, 2017
It is with sadness for all that we express our condolence to you and the boys and their families. We have enjoyed Igolima and your friendship over the years. Igolima was always a warm and welcoming friend going back to MSU and then at WIU. I feel doubly blessed that Igolima and I had the opportunity for a fun correspondence in the last few months. I will miss his occasional teasing and a chance for me to respond in kind. Love from Richard and Margaret Sturgis
May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017
Dear Dr. Amachree: I am so sad and shocked to hear of your passing. I'm not sure of when I ran into you last, but I always enjoyed seeing you around town. My latest memory of you is when you and Mrs. Amachree took me to dinner at Applebee's in Galesburg. Wish there had been many more. You were so instrumental in giving me confidence in college, which being the first in the family to go to college and going thru one of the worst times in my life, I desparately needed encouraging words. YOUR encouraging words and support are my most clear and best memories of my time at WIU. Your letter of recommendation helped me get into law school and my graduation and career made you so proud. I miss your smile and laugh and the world will never be the same without you. Peace with your Savior JESUS CHRIST. Time flies hope to see you soon. Susan L. Stambaugh, Attorney at Law
May 12, 2017
May 12, 2017
John Donne's words at this moment ring true: "Any man's death diminishes me because I belong to mankind." Rest in Peace.
May 12, 2017
May 12, 2017
Prof. Amachree was a man of great faith and integrity. I am honored to have known him.
May 11, 2017
May 11, 2017
My condolences to Mrs. Amachree and all the children and grandchildren, as well as members of the extended family. I have very fond memories of Igolima ever since I first met him at a Liberian Studies Conference in the early 1970s. As he was presenting a paper a colleague sitting by me remarked: "I would love to be a student of his sitting through his lectures." Since then I came to know him as an effective teacher and a world class researcher. He contributed much to advancing scholarship on Liberia. It would be so good to assemble his Liberia work for publication in the Liberian Studies Journal. In fact this is coming as a request of mine to the family. We want to celebrate this part of his legacy. Thank you Igolima and may your soul rest in peace! Your friend and colleague, Elwood
May 11, 2017
May 11, 2017
I am so sorry for your loss. I'll always remember his smiling face when he watched his sons and their friends. I know you have many wonderful memories.
May 10, 2017
May 10, 2017
What an amazing man and spirit! I was lucky to know and discuss many topics with this well-versed professor and patient. I will miss his friendship and wise counsel as will my girls. Heaven gained an angel this May.
May 10, 2017
May 10, 2017
Dr. Amacharee,

Even though we only knew each other for a very short time there is no one I respected more than you sir! You always made plenty of people feel welcomed and personally I shall miss you so much! You were the true definition of a gentleman and I only hope and pray that there are many other gentlemen that follow the example you set forth. Rest in Peace sir!
May 9, 2017
May 9, 2017
I will always remember the table tennis matches in Peoria IL. I never won. God bless and keep you.

with respect,

Gabriel Doe Jr

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My FAVORITE paper from my Dad

May 17, 2017





Dr. Igolima Tubobelem Dagogo Amachree

Professor of Sociology & Anthropology, Emeritus


Fellow Sisters and Brothers in Christ, I greet you with love, humility and sincere affection.

Thank you for inviting me to make this presentation and to participate in this forum and discussion. I pray that the God or the Spirit in each of us will move us to be truly our sisters' and brothers' keepers and give us wisdom in the purest and unalloyed way to understand the source of our origin and the purpose, the divine purpose, of our being.

There were angry shouts of blasphemy and heresy when the Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, The Most Reverend Dr. Katherine Jefferts Schori, was alleged to have raised this very question: whether belief in Christ is the only way to salvation. She was accused of saying that, even though she believed in what is recorded in John 14:6, since she is not God nor can read His mind, she could not say categorically if God, in His inscrutable and eternal wisdom, will or will not save and admit into His kingdom those who did not come through or believe in Christ. She was not willing to arrogate to herself the absolute knowledge of God's holy, compassionate and eternal intentions. This is an issue many Christians think and say is at the very core of being a Christian. That, only Christians or those who believe in Christ are promised salvation and the Kingdom of God. This, to them, is the only meaning of the phrase except by me in John 14:6.

Let me begin by citing some significant statements from the Bible related to three different positions on this issue.

Before continuing, however, let me make this point [and I think it is a significant point to make]: The phrase belief in Christ or salvation only through Christ, which is central to this discussion, is not without ambiguity. Does it mean that Jesus is god; is God Incarnate; is the son of God; is both God and man; is an historical human who once lived; is a human who lived his life in total obedience to the principles of God; is the perfect role model for our lives; represents the only lifestyle that can bring peace and salvation to the world; is the Messiah in the sense of being an “anointed one” or favored one in the Old Testament sense; or is he God whose physical human body was a phantasm as the heretic docetist or the Koran in Sura 4:150-160 claim.????

These different interpretations and understandings of belief in Christ or salvation only through Christ or the phrase “except by me”, raise significant questions and only complicate our discussion and give additional reason for humility, understanding and tolerance.

Let me now come back to three different positions on this issue and the related biblical citations.

Let me also state that I will use only biblical, and not secular, citations and interpretations.

First, there are many who believe that only those who believe in Christ will be saved and go to heaven. That it is only through Christ that one can get salvation and passage to heaven.

Second, there are some who believe that some who do not believe in Christ will also be saved and go to heaven.

Finally, there are others who believe that some of those who believe in Christ will not be saved and will not go to heaven.

Those who hold the first view that only those who believe in Christ will be saved and go to heaven, ground their position in the words of Christ in John's gospel: "I am the way; I am the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except by me". (John 14:6)

This is a very precise and powerful statement. However, Christ did not stop there. In his expanded response to his disciple, Philip, he added: "Have I been all this time with you, Philip, and you still do not know me? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. Then how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? I am not myself the source of the words I speak to you: it is the Father who dwells in me doing his own work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else accept the evidence of the deeds themselves." (John. 14:9-11)

This seems to be the prevailing view among most Christians. It is a firm belief that it is only through Christ that one can be saved. They argue that this is further repeated and stressed in John's gospel: "I am the door of the sheepfold". Thus implying that no one can come into the house except through the door. (John 10:8)

This is a very powerful position that excludes non-Christians or those who do not believe in Christ from the kingdom of God. It is a position and an argument that many have used to claim that only Christians will be saved and go to heaven. They further argue that if we take the word of Christ that he and the Father are the same, then God has been revealing Himself in human history and thus accepting Christ as the unveiling of God -- the true revelation of God in human history -- is accepting God. No one, therefore, can be saved except through Christ or without accepting Christ, the very incarnation of God.

Others have used this very statement or argument to question the fairness of a God who would create humanity with all its intelligence, questions, concerns and doubts; all the other wonderful things and the splendors of this endless and eternal universe, and send them all to hell or to utter destruction, because they did not, do not, know or believe in, Christ. This second group believes, therefore, that even those who do not believe in Christ will not be destroyed but can be saved and go to heaven.

The continuing argument of the second group -- those who believe that non-believers in Christ can also go to heaven -- is taken from the position of the first group -- those who believe that it is only through Christ that one will go to heaven. In John's gospel, Christ questions his disciples and informs them that he and the Father are one: "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? I am not myself the source of the words I speak to you: it is the Father who dwells in me doing his own work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father in me". (John 14:10-11) Thus, if God and Christ are the same, they argue, then anyone who accepts God according her/his understanding, also accepts Christ and therefore will be saved and go to heaven. This is a very subtle and nuanced argument. If God is manifested in Christ, then one could argue that Christ is paramount and that accepting him is paramount. If Christ is manifested in God, then the acceptance of a God includes the acceptance of Christ. Thus each of us can be manifested in the universal God and the universal God manifested in all. Indeed, one of the early Christian fathers, St. Ignatius of Antioch sees it this way. In his letter to the Magneseans 1:2 he writes: “Even more important is that union of Jesus and the Father”. And then he is more explicit in his letter to the Smyrneans 1:1 where he writes: “I glorify Jesus, the God who made you wise”. Again in his letter to the Ephesians he ends his salutation before Chap.1 “... a glory united and unchangeable and chosen in true suffering in the will of the Father and JesusChrist, our God. And finally, also in his letter to the Ephesians 18:2 he writes: “Our God, Jesus the Christ ...”. Thus, to St. Ignatius, and also to other early Church fathers, Jesus the Christ is manifested in God. It is very significant that, 1 John 4:12 says it very clearly: “Though God has never been seen by any man, God himself dwells in us if we love one another; his love is brought to perfection in us”.

A variation of this argument is that if God and Christ are one and the same, then our question can be rephrased to: “Is Belief in God the Only Way to Heaven?” An affirmative answer to this question would lead us to the conclusion that Muslims, Buddhists, Jews and others can and would be admitted to Heaven along with Christians.

Another variant of this argument is that of the Trinity. If God and Christ and the Holy Spirit are the same, then the me could refer to any of the Trinity or the collective Trinity. Viewed this way, one could see how the Father or especially, the Holy Spirit can be the except by me. Thus, God can manifest Himself in many ways through which we can come to Him. We can experience Him in many different ways and we can come to Him in many different ways. They argue that this is a holistic view of God.

But there is a broader argument of this second group. They accept the statement in John (14:6): "I am the way; I am the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except byme", but see a different interpretation for by me. They see it in a figurative sense as a metaphor for being like Christ, Christ-like, doing the things Christ would do, giving oneself genuinely and selflessly for the good and benefit of others, giving without knowing and without expecting rewards -- a synonym of the Good Samaritan that Christ used as the good neighbor. This, they argue, is the by me that Christ was referring to.

So, who are those that conform to the by me? We find them in Matthew's gospel (Matt. 25:31-46) in Christ's parable of the sheep and the goats. Let me cite the whole passage:

"When the son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, he will sit in state on his throne, with all the nations gathered before him. He will separate men into two groups, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. The king will say to those on his right hand, 'You have my Father's blessing; come, enter and possess the kingdom that has been ready for you since the world was made. For when I was hungry, you gave me food; when I was thirsty, you gave me drink; when I was a stranger you took me into your home, when naked you clothed me; when I was ill you came to my help, when in prison you visited me'. Then the righteous will reply, 'Lord when was it that we saw you hungry and fed you, or thirsty and gave you drink, a stranger and took you home, or naked and clothed you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and came to visit you?' And the king will answer, 'I will tell you this: anything you did for one of my brothers here, however humble, you did for me'. Then he will say to those on his left hand, 'the curse is upon you; go from my sight to the eternal fire that is ready for the devil and his angels. For when I was hungry you gave me nothing to eat, when thirsty nothing to drink; when I was a stranger you gave me no home, when naked you did not clothe me; when I was ill and in prison you did not come to my help'; And they too will reply, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison and did nothing for you?' And he will answer, 'I tell you this: anything you did not do for one of these, however humble, you did not do for me'. And they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous will enter eternal life'."

I have extensively cited this parable of the sheep and the goats to show that the by me in John 14:6 refers to, or can be construed to mean, the Christ-like nature.

In addition, this second group cites Christ's statement in John 10:14-16 to indicate that some who are not Christians or 'not belonging to this fold' will be brought in and saved: "I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep and my sheep know me -- as the Father knows me and I know the Father -- and I lay down my life for the sheep. But there are other sheep of mine, not belonging to this fold whom I MUST bring in; and they too will listen to my voice. There will then be one flock, one shepherd."

Thus, in the end, all those who are like Christ as described in Matthew (25:31-46) will belong to the fold and be saved. Who then are those who are like Christ and meet the by me standard?

Here I would like to cite three examples of Christ-like behavior -- two from contemporary sources and one from the Bible.

We are all familiar with Schindler of Schindler's List fame -- Oskar Schindler who owned a factory during the Nazi reign. He initially employed Jewish workers as cheap labor but later became their protector, benefactor and savior. Mr. Schindler was a vain and greedy man who was also an alcoholic and a womanizer. But he changed all this and became an unlikely humanitarian who saved over eleven hundred (1100), Polish Jews. Today we celebrate him because he did Christ-like deeds -- he fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, visited the strangers and invited them to his home, clothed the naked and did not allow them to be in prison and, above all, did not allow them to be gassed to death at the Auschwitz concentration camp. He died penniless but he was the quintessential Good Samaritan -- the good neighbor that Christ gave to us as an example of those who will be on his right hand in heaven.

Then there were the pogroms in Nigeria in 1990, 1992, 2005, 2007 and 2010, when southern Nigerian Christians were indiscriminately slaughtered by Muslims in northern Nigeria. There were many Muslims who, at the risk of being found out and killed by their fellow Muslims, hid, sheltered and saved many Christian friends, neighbors and co-workers. This was a very brave act like laying down your life for another person for they knew that if caught, they and their 'infidel' collaborators would certainly be killed.

What they did was Christ-like -- they fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, visited strangers and invited them to their homes at great risk to their own lives, clothed the naked and did not allow them to be in prison and, above all, did not allow them to be slaughtered by their own Muslim brothers. They were the quintessential Good Samaritans -- the good neighbors that Christ gave us as examples of those who will be on his right hand in heaven.

Finally we have the Biblical example of the great King Cyrus. After inheriting the Jewish slaves from Babylon resulting from his victory over King Nebuchadnezzar and his nation, he not only sent out an edict freeing them but also, as tradition has it, sent his engineers and architects to help rebuild the second temple. He was the King who introduced Aramaic as the lingua franca in his kingdomfor commerce and literature and it was the language Jesus spoke. Indeed both Ezra and Nehemiah pronounce him as their savior, defender and benefactor. In truth, if he and his successors, Artaxerxes 1 and 11 and Darius, had not protected the returning Jews militarily, the new freed nation would never have succeeded as men like Sanballat and Tobiah the Ammonite were determined to frustrate and destroy them. Hear Tobiah's warning: “Whatever it is they are building, if a fox climbs up their stone walls, it will break them down” (Nehemiah 4:3).

On the other hand, Ezra writes in chapter 9:9 regarding Cyrus' help:

"For slaves we were; nevertheless, our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has made the kings of Persia so well disposed towards us as to give us the means of renewal, so that we may repair the house of our God and rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall of defense in Judah and Jerusalem".

The act of King Cyrus was so acceptable to God that He inspired, or said through, Isaiah to say that Cyrus is His messiah or His anointed. This is Isaiah 45:1 in three translations:

"Thus says the Lord to Cyrus his anointed, Cyrus whom he had taken by the hand".

(Oxford Study Edition);

"This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of". (The NIV Study Bible) and

"Thus says Yahweh to his anointed, to Cyrus, whom he has taken by his right hand". (The Jerusalem Bible)

Why would God call Cyrus His messiah or anointed if he would not save and accept him into His kingdom? It is difficult for me to believe that after bestowing such high praise and regard, God would condemn Cyrus to hell and eternal damnation. He may not fit the literal interpretation of by me in John 14:6. What strikes me as important is that Cyrus, Mr. Schindler and the Muslims in northern Nigeria fit the figurative and metaphorical by me of Christ-like behavior by showing genuine, total, courageous and selfless kindness as neighbors to their fellow human beings.

Finally, I would like to end by briefly citing the third position -- that some who accept Christ or are Christians will not go to heaven. It was, indeed, Christ who said in a chapter that begins by warning us about the evils of condemning others: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged....". (Matthew 7:1-2) In Matthew 7:21-23, in a manner very similar to Matthew 25:31-46, Christ says:

"Not everyone who calls me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my heavenly Father. When that day comes, many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out devils in your name, and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them to their face, 'I never knew you; out of my sight, you and your wicked ways’".

Everyone thinks that her/his own little prism of seeing and knowing God is the only way of seeing and knowing God; that they are the sole repositories of the gnosis and praxis of God. But worse than that they tend to use that little prism to judge and condemn others. Recently, The Very Rev. Dr. Gordon F. Weller of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Lansing, Michigan made a similar but more astute observation: "In our ignorance”, he wrote, “we often think that our way of understanding God and worshiping God's essence is the ONLY way; obviously a distorted truth....While it is important that Jesus was born, it is more important that God has chosen to reveal himself to us in the variety of ways that he has". (St. Paul's News, Vol. 35, Issue 1, January 2010).

Let me finally end by quoting Banquo's comment to the three witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth:

"If you can look into the seeds of time and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then to me..."

None of us can look into the seeds of time and say which grain will grow and which will not. Let us stop judging others and condemning them. Let us believe in our God and allow our God's will to be done in our lives and in the world and leave the final judgment to Him and His infinite Wisdom, Redeeming Love and Righteousness.

Thank you so very much for inviting me to share these ideas with you.

Thank you.

I greet you again with love, humility and sincere affection

Be blessed all your days and in all you do.

 Thank you.


All citations, unless otherwise indicated, are from the Oxford study edition of

The New English Bible with Apocrypha.

Igolima Amachree is Emeritus Professor of Sociology & Anthropology and former senior warden of St. George's Episcopal Church in Macomb, Illinois, in the Quincy Diocese.


May 17, 2017

Mara and Igolima Amachree on July 19, 1964.

They were married in Monrovia, Liberia at the Episcopal Cathedral with Father Robertson officiating.  Mara is from Liberia and Igolima is from Nigeria.

 They met at Michigan State University where Mara was completing her Masters degree in Anatomy and Physiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Igolima was completing his PhD degree in Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The circumstances of their meeting were unusual...

Mara had a scholarship to study medicine in Lausanne, France but ended up in Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and eventually in graduate school at Michigan State University.

Igolima, on the other hand, after getting his bachelor's degree from Durham University in England, had a scholarship to study at Cambridge University in England or a German scholarship to study at the University of Cologne in Germany but ended up accepting the US State Department's fellowship to study at Michigan State University.

The two still would not have met if Igolima, a Victor Silverster(like Arthur Murray in the US) certified ballroom dance instructor was not trying to show-off his dancing skills in an American and African student party. He and his partner bumped into a table and spilled drinks on a young lady, who turned out to be Mara Henderson from Liberia. In trying to clean his mess and extend his apologies, the good Lord held their hands together. And, as they say, the rest is history.

Please remember and include them in your prayers.

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