By Abuchi Onwumelu
The remains of Lady Florence Echendu have been laid to rest in her compound at Umuzu Ngo, Otolo Nnewi, Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The burial Mass which took place at St Peter Claver Catholic Church, Otolo-Nnewi, was attended by the religious, social groups, as well as friends and sympathizers, who came to commiserate with the family on the transition of their matriarch.
Commenting on the life and times of the deceased, the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Bishop Hillary Odili Okeke, described her as a committed Christian who lived for others.
The Bishop who was represented by Rev Fr Nnaemeka Onuchukwu, extended his condolences to the family, urging them to remain faithful as all was not lost.
Earlier, in a homily during the burial Mass, the Parish Priest, St Peter Claver Catholic Church, Rev Fr Ephraim Chukwuma, underscored the importance of forgiveness, humility and spirit of what he described as “Let go” on the lives of Christians.
While enjoining Christians to be wary of their lifestyle so that their past would not torment them, he asked the family of the deceased not to mourn like those without hope.
He described death as inevitable as one needed to answer the call and enter into a new life that would remain forever. While commiserating with the Echendu family, he said the deceased was a mother to all who came her way, and advised those she left behind to continue with their mother’s legacies.
In their separate speeches, Colonel Okoli, Vice Grand President, Nnewi Grand Commandery, Knights of St John International, said the deceased lived a very fulfilled life by touching lives on earth.
He asked the bereaved to bear the loss with fortitude and prayed God for the repose of her soul.
Lady Patricia Maduabum, who spoke on behalf of Soroptimist International, an NGO that focuses on women and girl child welfare, described Lady Echendu as a person who lived a charity filled life and love for the less privileged.
According to her, the deceased was an active member of the group in the United Kingdom and President, Anambra Women in United Kingdom, a position she held until her health started to fail her.
She said the deceased used her wealth to touch lives as she initiated some programmes, such as COVID -19 palliatives and materials that assisted lots of people last year.
In her tribute, Dr Ogechukwu Echendu, the only child of the deceased, described her mother as a motivator and mentor who helped not only her, but countless people.
‘I never have to ask for help; you were always there to guide me. You were my pillar of support and you never disappointed me. You have been my rock throughout my life. You know the best way to uplift my spirit,’ she stated.
A representative of Knights of St John International, United Kingdom, Lady Eunice Iwudibia, described her demise as a devastating loss and prayed God to give those she left behind the fortitude to bear what she described as an irreparable loss.