Tribute to Brother Willie

Shared by Ann Assam on August 16, 2019
Most people called him Mr. Tabi, W.G.Ebut I called him Brother Willie and he called me Sister Ann. Brother Willie was a hard-working, intelligent, caring, respectful and very thoughtful person and faithful husband. He was very close to her friends and family. I remember as we were growing up how he took care of his step brothers/sisters as if they were his kids and his step mother Mama Lucy. Brother Willie was loving and real. He was a wonderful husband to his wife and father to their children and laid a strong foundation full of values for them.

In 1987 when I heard he has come to the US and was in Ohio, I was so excited because that was the only close relative I had here at that time. Our very first reunion was unforgettable. After his undergraduate degree, in Ohio, he moved to Indiana a neighboring state to Illinois where I lived. While at Indiana State University we spent most of the holidays together in Joliet, Illinois. He taught me some things like how to balance career and family. But one of the most important thing/value he taught me was how to love and be there for your friends/family and also to give/share the little you have. With his salary as a teaching assistant at Indiana State University, he was always ready to buy new/fairly used clothes, shoes, and books for his wife, children and family. He loved his wife and children so dearly. I remember one Saturday we went to this huge open door garage sale and most of the things he bought were for his wife, Sister Becky as we call her and the kids. As we walked to another shade, there was this beautiful purse that I also liked and he bought it for his wife. I then turned to him and said, what have you bought for yourself so far? And he replied “Becky is suffering so much at home with our kids so this is the least I can do for them”. Those words brought tears in my eyes and stuck in my mind for years. Brother Willie, I can still see the boxes and bags of clothes, shoes and books in our basement as if it was yesterday.

He loved to dance and have a good time as you can see in some of the pictures we had together. I and my friends loved to have him around because of his talents, charismatic nature and contagious smile and laughter. His quest for knowledge at his age inspired me to be where I am today academically. He was always willing to give advice and share his personal experiences back home and in the US with us. I always admired how he never judged or forced his opinions on anyone, but offered valuable and truthful advice that I will surely miss.

I hope he forgives me for not being there during his last days/challenging times. I and my brother Simon planned to go visit him in April 2019, but it never materialized.

He fought a good fight with love and care from his wife, children and family. His beautiful spirit will live on through his children/grand children, and they will always know how much he loved them. He tried with all his heart to stay for them, but God called him and he had to go. His magnetic smile will be missed by all who knew him.

Brother Willie, I will miss you forever and never forget all of the time we spent together.

Sister Ann Assam.

The Departure of a Gentle Smiling Giant- Willy Tabi (WT)

Shared by Daniel Essim on August 16, 2019
How could it have happened to my gentle smiling giant?

WT, this is your mentee and friend “DE” as you fondly called me, just trying to make sense out of this untimely departure. But guess what… you are in a better place now; for that, I know for sure-you are in the bosom hands of our heavenly Father.

It seems like yesterday when we first met in 1982 at the foothills of Besongabang, in the beautiful campus of Presbyterian Secondary School (PSS), now called PHS. You did not wait for the principal, T.T. Oben (of blessed memory) to introduce me to the rest of the staff, you walked in your usual majestic way straight to me in the staff room, and introduced yourself…what a Class Act? It seemed we had known each other forever until recently… now it seems like it was only a short while.

When Esther Takor - one of our students called with the news of your departure to eternity, the only thing I said was “Lord Why”. Why because you were not only a good friend, you were a great father and a husband. If I can coin a phrase here, “You were a fantabulous human being”.

The more time I spent with WT as a young man out of CCAST Bambili, and having his first job, the more I came out of my shell. WT was one of those people that you could talk to for hours on end without getting bored. I would think it had been only twenty minutes until I would look at my watch and realize that it had been three hours. It was hard to be quiet and shy around WT.

WT also taught me how to be a good friend. He showed me that friends are always there for each other, through both the good times and the bad. WT believed in that, and he stuck to those principles. No matter how my life was going, WT was there on both the sunny days and through the thunderstorms. WT was someone that you could always count on to be there for you. He was one of two people that I had outside my family, and I will forever remember and be grateful for that. He connected me with other staff members like Sandys Eyong, Pa Etchu-Njang, Mr. Tabeyang, Etongue Victor and Besong Emmanuel, just to mention a few.

I cannot conclude without talking of our little escapades to Besongabang town to take “one-man”; either at Mini-Lux or at Grace’s. Though I was just drinking Top-Ananas then, I had fun talking with him and learning how to become a great role model. Sir, the time I spent with you was PRICELESS.

WT do me a favor; please do not forget to greet my beloved sister who was your student too- Essim, Magdalene Bessem, my mother whom you always made time to go see there at Mamfe market whenever you went to town, Mrs Essim Elizabeth Mpey, and our boss T.T. Oben. Till we meet again when we shall part no more; Adieus my friend. Lest I forgot, do not be despaired my mentor, because Stanley is doing a very fine job taking care of the family.
Tears dripping…you would be missed!!

Daniel Essim

Special Tribute to Pa Tabi

Shared by Cecilia Otang on August 15, 2019
Pa Tabi was my best Associate in the whole wide world in a good way. I will point out that even though Pa Tabi was my in- law everytime I met him our conversation was a friendly one & it has nothing to do with in-laws trying to suppress each other. Pa Tabi has welcomed every family member of mind with a warm smile from Mami Cecilia Assibong/ Pa Tabi Accomplice to extended family members.   Most of the times Pa Tabi  & myself chatted about life in the good old days in Cameroon and even life in the United States of America. Pa Tabi will tell you right in your face if you're wrong & doesn't take sides playing that Devil's Advocate whether you are his child or family or love one. To me Pa Tabi is the fabric of the original Manyu child or individual that would not sell his birth right for a plate of food or for any other thing that society is forcing people to belong or conform. Pa Tabi stood his ground as a family man, a husband, a father and refused to go with the flow of modern society or diaspora life.I learned from Pa Tabi that you never give up following your dreams like going back to school or learning something new in your life. Pa Tabi loved life and also love eating good delicious food. Pa Tabi had a good appetite & all those illnesses never spoiled or stopped Pa Tabi from enjoying his food in the house or in the hospital.  In fact, Pa Tabi will eat his food & immediately after that he will prepare himself a big cup of tea adding a lot of sugar.  PaTabi you are a great fighter, warrior and you fought until the end. I miss spending time with you in the house or all your hospital stays or all the rehabilitation centers that you have been.Even though I am missing you I have to let you go meet your creator God and your ancestor to find final rest.Pa Tabi Farewell my favorite best Associate until we meet again in Paradise.

Cecilia Oneke Otang

Pa Willy Tabi-A Great Man from the Greates Generation

Shared by Gerald Tabi on August 3, 2019
You were a great man from the greatest generation. A father who lived his values, teacher of all things with a simple methodology. You lived and taught by example. Your character is the foundation of our consciences. You had endless teachings to us and those around you. You were strong in body, spirit and commitment. You did your best and fulfilled  every obligation you undertook and you were responsible to the very end. You engaged everyone and the world as a man who would be its master. You were a man with a quiet dignity, respecting yourself the way you respected others. You were the rock of the Tabi family and a shoulder we leaned on. You loved a good joke, including every imaginable kind of ethnic joke; yet, your humor was never mean-spirited nor designed to hurt or humiliate. You never treated anyone of any station with anything other than respect and kindness. A loyal and faithful father especially to important people in your world. You were a father who didn't make an enemy. Even though you most surely came across people you couldn't countenance, you had the medicine to their problems and always gave them the right dose. We feel so blessed to have you as a father and we graciously thank you for the wonderful life you gave us. Get well rested knowing fully well that you accomplished your work on earth. Until we meet to part no more, we got nothing but love for you Pa.

Your son,
Gerald A. Tabi
Shared by Esther Takor on August 2, 2019
Death finally snatched you away from us. Five days before your passing, seeing the grand kids saying bye to you before leaving, brought tears to my eyes, just looking how sad the boys looked see you laying there with your eyes closed, and no response back from you. You fought a good fight Pa. God decided it was time to go, so He took your life away. No more pain. Pa your wife, children, grandchildren, family, and friends will all miss you. On behalf of my daughters, granddaughters, and myself, we say thank you for the time we spent together. You left a great legacy behind. Your memory will live forever. May you gentle soul rest in perfect peace our beloved father.
Shared by Sammy Arrey-Mbi on August 2, 2019
Nkwane, you have come to the end of your journey. Farewell. Maybe, the Empire Days are still being celebrated over there. You have gone to complete the team, both for soccer and athletics. We will dearly miss you but will surely meet to part no more. Adieu!
Shared by JULIUS EYONG on July 18, 2019

 Mr. Tabi Willy George Etchu fondly called Pa Tabi W. G. E.  aka “a Jumbo jet” by most of those who benefited from his mastery of the Queens language was an encyclopedia of the English language to the P.S.S (now P.H.S) Besongabang students .

Pa Tabi”s  desire to impact students with the mastery of the English  language went beyond the gates of P.S.S where he showcase his talent. He on several occasions organised classes for class seven pupils from his native village Besongabang sitting for the common entrance and first school leaving certificate examinations. In some instances he took these pupils from Besongabang village down to P.S.S campus to give them an “avant gout” of secondary school life.

Pa Willy held several duty functions amongst which was the  works master position during my years at P.S.S. As works master he gave in all to make sure the entire campus was sparkling clean one week after the beginning of every school year/term. Pa Tabi was also a talented footballer (soccer player) and  I shall never forget his ball juggling skills, dribbling moves, speed and most especially his thunderous strikes from 40 meters whenever the students played against teachers.

Pa Tabi made English language simple in his teachings as he always spice his lectures with jokes. Words like “Bombastic scalawag” amongst other captivating words were some of those words he used often to describe some of his students. His  oratory/literary expressions in Shakespearean style juxtaposed with his tone, physical movements and gestures while reading passages were very captivating. Among the popular stories in the books he taught was the crash of a Jumbo jet in Kenya. The manner Pa Tabi dramatized this story earned him the nickname “a jumbo jet”, a name all students called him behind the scenes. I won his admiration in my very first year while he taught us Round the World in Eighty days. The manner he exclaimed and demonstrated  Jean Passepartout majestically walk into the Hindu temple was impeccable. This admiration made me opt to study Arts subjects when we got to form four a class we had to choose specialties despite my brilliance in the science subjects. 

Pa Tabi on behalf of my friends and students of P S S (now P.H.S) Besongabang, we say thanks for your teachings, guidance and for being a mentor, we are refined today thanks to you. You shall ever remain engraved in our hearts, adieu.

Shared by Maggie Ashu on July 4, 2019

“Even though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they shall comfort me” Rest In Peace Pa. No more pain. No more tears. New eternal life With Jesus Christ.You will be missed.

Share a Story

Illustrate your story with a picture, music or video (optional):