Canada News

Edmonton: Pa Arnold George laid to rest

30 August 2019 at 20:24 | 2052 views

By Abayomi Charles Roberts, PV General Editor, Edmonton, Canada.
(With Daniel Oldfield)

“Laziness travels so slowly; at the end poverty overtakes.” This was Pa Arnold George’s favourite saying, his motto all his life. Born Arnold Ayodele George on September 24, 1929, he passed away in Edmonton on Tuesday August 6, 2019. It was only a few weeks to this 90th birthday.

His wife Mrs. Pamela Adekule George describes Pa George (pictured) as the love of her life. Married for over 50 years, they were blessed with five children: Clarence, Ayodele, Samuel, Arnolda, and Ekundayo. The couple came to Canada in 2003. Here, they joined their daughter Arnolda in Edmonton, Alberta.

Speaking at their Westmount residence, Mammy Kule George recalls Pa George’s love for reading and gardening. “Our place at Number 2 Cox Street in Freetown was like an orchard,” she remembers. “We never had to buy yams to eat. We grew it ourselves.”

Pa George was a soft-spoken man with a strong work ethic. “He went to work every day and on time; always wearing his tie,” Mammy George reminisces with a smile.

“He also made sure our children worked hard as they grew up.”

Mourners wearing Manchester United jerseys at the graveside

Only his passion for Manchester United Football Club comes close to Pa George’s love for family and dedication to duty. A win by Manchester United lifts Pa George’s spirits. Sport fans here call him ‘Man U.’ The nickname would cheer up Pa George every time.

Pa George attended St. Edwards Secondary and Prince of Wales. He had some of his primary education in Bo. He worked in different parts of Sierra Leone; including Bo, Freetown, Makeni, Njala, and Pujehun. Pa George started as a clerical employee with the then Public Works Department (PWD). It was at PWD that Pa George met a workmate named Pamela Thomas. The lady later became his wife. Pa George also worked at The Establishment Office, Government Printing Department, and Central Statistics Office. He retired as an executive officer at Sierra Leone Post Office.
Ayodele, one of his sons and namesake, flew in from the USA for the funeral. He came with his wife Augusta and their children. Ayodele says he last saw his father in November 2018. “Our dad laid the foundation for me to become a husband and father today,” he said in a tribute. “We’re all so proud of him and I’m here to join celebrations of his life.” Pa George is also survived by several grandchildren; and two brothers, Samuel Ina George and Isaac George.

Ayodele and Arnolda at their dad’s vigil

There was a vigil in his memory on Wednesday August 28. It was held at Woodcroft Community League Hall in Edmonton. The funeral service took place the next day Thursday at St. Peters Anglican Church; where Pa George served as a chorister. The late Pa George (aka Man U) was laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery in Edmonton; later the same day.

Mammy George at late Pa George’s vigil

At the graveside, mourners sang popular Christian choruses before clergy led the final prayers. The pallbearers wore Manchester United FC jerseys. His son-in-law John Lyon also brought a soccer ball that was playfully tossed around and over the casket; moments before it was lowered into the grave. It was one of many lighthearted tributes to a true soccer fan.

A transit operator himself, John Lyon also got an Edmonton Transit System (ETS) bus to take mourners from the church to the cemetery. Passengers sang loudly as the bus closely trailed the hearse. Some of the songs were Christian choruses in Krio (Sierra Leonean Creole). The funeral procession drew curious looks from people around. Some motorists and pedestrians would just smile; a few even waved.

“Pa George loved to smile; and his spirit is making people smile even now,” one mourner joked.