Her Life


Wagaye Gayem was born in Addis Ababa on February 8, 1951 to her parents the late Ato Gayem WolderMariam and W/O Martha Abraha. She was the third of a family of six; her older brothers Bemnet and Eyassu and younger siblings Agazite (Umi), Solomon, and Abraham.  Growing up in Addis, she enjoyed the company of her siblings, friends and relatives.  Those who followed her childhood admired her polite, cheerful, and generous character. She never hesitated to give of herself or her possessions to those in need.  Her friends remember her as loving, honest and inspiring.

After completing her education at Commercial School in Ethiopia, she worked for the United Nations as part of ECA (Economic Commission for Africa) in Addis Ababa where she served as an administrative assistant for 17 years. While there, she married and had three children, Abiy the first born, followed by the twins Rediat and Tsion.  She moved to the U.S. in 1990 to be closer to her family and to provide a better future for her children. 

Over the next 20 years, she worked at various companies in the US in various industries including banking, service, and care-giving. But her most important and passionate work was at home with her children where she instilled in them the values of serving God, living with integrity, and servant living.   She was a spiritual person who valued God, family, and her friends. 

Wagaye was energetic and a workaholic who never sat still and considered idleness a “sin” much to the chagrin of her children.  She was an amazing cook, a skilled decorator/designer, and her children say a respectable gardener. She was a passionate student of life and became an effective teacher and role model to many.  She ALWAYS considered the convenience of others before her own. She loved life and lived it to the fullest.

Wagaye fell ill suddenly in November of 2009 with a rare form of muscle cancer. As she has faced every other serious hurdle in her life, she handled the challenges with courage and grace. She relied heavily on her faith and the faithfulness of God to accomplish His purpose in all circumstances. Many admired her strength and determination despite dealing with the strong and debilitating effects of her treatments. She lived her life with passion and purpose while going through this difficult part of her life, not once complaining “why me” and “why now.”  On the contrary, she was openly thanking God for so many blessings that He gave her in the past and present. She always reminded her children of how God had orchestrated her life until this point and that He will fulfill his purpose once more in her situation.

She battled the disease with everything she had but early morning on January 31st left to be with her Lord and Savior.  She is survived by her mother, three children, 5 siblings, and so many others who saw her as sister, cousin, mother, and daughter. She will surely be missed but those of us who were lucky enough to have known her very closely will carry her unique spirit as long as we live.