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Born in Nigeria on May 12, 1920.
Passed away on March 01, 2009 at the age of 88.
D. O. B. Sokunbi Biography
The life and times of Pa David Oke Babalola Sokunbi who transitioned to Glory on Sunday Maart 1 2009

He was fondly known as DOBS to his many friends


Daddy and Grandpa to his Children and Grandchildren

who loved him indescribably

Daddy David Sokunbi was born on 12th Mei 1920 to Pa and Ma Sokunbi (nee Solakunmi) in Boru-Boru a farming village in the outskirts of Abeokuta that had been founded by his paternal grandparents. While he came from a long line of esteemed farmers early prophesies around the time of his birth indicated that this son would not follow the long held family trade. This son would go far beyond the borders of Boru Boru and Abeokuta. He would walk and work with eminent people from distant lands. To this end his parents were told he was always to wear shoes. So in those early years in a village that had little exposure to the Shoe shops that have become common place Daddy stood out amongst his peers in the village square with his feet always clad in brightly colored hand-made “salubatas” - moccasins.

How true those words turned out to be. But not before tragedy struck. His father Pa Sokunbi who was born in 1860 passed away in 1930 at the age of 70. His Mother who was much younger eventually had to leave Boru Boru with him to go back to Abeokuta where she eventually remarried and had another son Papa Ademuyiwa. It was here back in the town of Abeokuta that Daddy’s destiny started to unfold. For there in the compound of their new home was a school teacher. Daddy’s dutifulness and willingness to run errands drew him to this teacher who also sensed a spark of intellect in this young boy who was still adjusting to life in the big city of Abeokuta. And so in his early teens Daddy voraciously embraced evening tutoring eagerly learning to read and write. He progressed so well that the teacher eventually took him to school and persuaded the principal to allow him join the elementary school at St. Paul’s Primary School Igbore Abeokuta in 1932 where he subsequently completed primary education in 1936.
In telling us this story Daddy was always quick to point out key life lessons. How greatness can come out of tragedy for if his father had not died he might never have left Boru Boru and thus might never have had the opportunity for formal western education. How important it is to be willing to serve dutifully and serve well – you never know what doors it opens for you. For him it had certainly opened up the door to the heart of this teacher and mentor.

After completing his primary education he gained admission to start the two-year post primary course at the Anglican Central School Iporo-Ake Abeokuta in Januari 1937.

Half way through this course he sat for and won the highly competitive Egba Native Authority Scholarship to pursue secondary education at the Abeokuta Grammar School under the principalship of the late Rev. J. O. Ransome Kuti. Daddy retained very fond memories of Abeokuta Grammar School not only for the strong academic molding but also for the strict discipline enforced by Rev Ransome Kuti and other teachers as well as the many lifelong friendships he made there including Messers I. O. B. Oduntan the Oyewole Twins Olisa Chukura Esq Femi Ladeinde Oba Akenzua and many other AGSOBAs.

Daddy was Senior Prefect of his graduating class and came first of the twenty-eight students who sat for the final examination at the Grammar School in 1943 passing with exemption from London Matriculation. He then spent a few years at the Yaba Higher College where he formed many enduring friendships. One of those friends was somebody he would later describe to his son Dele as an individual who “has always been very decent and honorable even as a young man at the Yaba Higher College”. Forty years later that friendship would be rekindled in a very personal way when the late Mr. Jacob Adesijibomi Ogunnaike’s daughter Modupe and Dele would meet at the College of Medicine University of Ibadan. Following an exchange of medical books (from Dele) and homemade chocolate ice-cream (from Dupe) they eventually married in 1985. The two old friends could not have been more delighted.

Following his time at the Yaba Higher College he returned to his alma mater as a teacher. He subsequently built great relationships with many of his students including Professors Tomori and Sofoluwe and Rev Ogunsola. Following a few years of meritorious service he was honored with an Abeokuta Grammar School / Egba Native Authority scholarship to pursue University education at the then only University in West Africa - Fourah Bay University Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone became a second home to Daddy. After several years he returned with a Bachelors Degree in Economics English Latin and much more. He had developed a great love of tennis photography the dramatic arts and all musical genres ranging from classical to calypso. His time at Fourah Bay had been extremely rewarding and educative. He had indeed began to walk and work with others from far lands. His only regret was that his mother who had worked tirelessly at her dried fish rice and clothing materials trade to arduously scrape together the money for books and other items that his scholarships did not cover did not live to see him return as a University graduate as she died while he was away at Fourah Bay.

With his degree in hand Daddy returned to Abeokuta Grammar School to continue his academic teaching career. Shortly after his good friends Mr. and Mrs. I. O. B Oduntan introduced him to a beautiful lady who had finished a few years before from Queens College Lagos / Queen’s School Ede and was teaching at the Anglican’s Girls Grammar School Iberekodo Abeokuta. She had been personally recruited by Reverend Ransome Kuti to teach English Latin and Mathematics after he heard her give a speech at a wedding that impressed the entire audience. That introduction started a lifetime of love and affection as very shortly after he married Mummy – Mrs. Grace Ebunoluwa Sokunbi (nee Akinrinlewo) daughter of the Late Mr. John Olatunji Akinrinlewo a Road overseer with the Public Works Department and his wife Mrs. Juliana Olayemi Akinrinlewo (fondly known as Mama Ago-Ika) who passed away in 2005 at the ripe age of 105.

Just when all seemed set for the two young teachers with promising teaching careers an opportunity of a lifetime came knocking. Oil had just been discovered in Nigeria. An Oil prospecting company was expanding its exploration activities and was looking for passionate energetic individuals with teaching skills to work with schools and communities to introduce the oil industry. Daddy’s credentials communication and interpersonal skills made him a natural fit for the job. It was the start of a new life!

The family moved away from Abeokuta to work with Shell BP living in Owerri from 1958 to 1961 Port Harcourt from 1961 to 1966 Lagos 1966 – 1967 Warri 1967 – 1979. Daddy loved his many years of service with Shell-BP holding positions of increasing responsibilities within the Public Relations/Public Affairs Function. He was thrilled to have a critical role in this burgeoning industry and felt very privileged to work alongside talented individuals from various nations around the globe. He relished the opportunity to travel on short term assignments and training around the world and make many lifelong friendships around the globe. We spent many hours at his fixed at his knees and starry eyed as he presented his photographs slide shows 8mm films and postcards of his travels describing with intricate detail things like the beautiful tulips and windmills of the Netherlands the imposing grandeur of Buckingham Palace St. Paul’s Cathedral and the famous wax figures at Madame Tussauds in England the inspiration of St Paul’s Basilica in Rome and Lady Liberty’s imposing torch and beckoning welcome at Staten Island Ney York. Our eyes popped wide with wonder – we could not wait to travel and see the world’s wonders ourselves!

Daddy very much appreciated the excellent social schooling and other opportunities that working with Shell provided for his family. He was indeed walking and working with esteemed people from all nations – Dutch American British Brazilian Venezuelans e.t.c.. The prophecies made at the time of his birth were coming true.

But in the midst of all of this tragedy struck. His beloved wife Mrs. Grace Ebun Sokunbi died on Mei 20th 1970. While this trial shook him tremendously he knew he had to bear this with Christian fortitude. Rather than break from this trial he decided with selfless devotion to commit himself to focusing on the promise that he had made to his dying wife that he would commit himself looking after their children and her mother. God granted him Amazing Grace to fulfill this. For the39 years until he rejoined her in heaven his love for her remained strong; his devotion to their children unparalleld and his care of her mother was distinctive. He was an extraordinary Father (and Mother) and a man of his commitments.

Daddy retired from Shell BP in 1979 but never really retired from Public Relations for a company he thought very highly of. Up till his death he would never pass up an opportunity to give accolades to Shell their work their impact on Nigeria and their exemplary care of their employees and retirees. He was also so appreciative of the many friends at Shell and beyond such as the Kilankos the Ademiluyis the Kumolus the Mesiris Mr. Peter Page the Ero Philips the Okunades the Akinbolas the Ogunfeibos The Akinkugbes the Onibokuns Justice Sofolahan Dr. Sosan e.t.c. who joined his previously mentioned life long college schoolmates and friends and stood so closely by him and his family during the tragedies of the loss of his beloved wife in 1970 and of a young son less than 18 months later.

This support reinforced Daddy’s concept of the value of friendships. He spared no opportunity to remind us throughout his life that friends are priceless of far greater value than riches and wealth and are true true blessing from God. True friends are there to celebrate your life’s successes and even more important there to support you during trying times. He held his friends in hgh esteem. He encouraged us to bring our own friends home and took time to know them get involved in their lives and embraced them as his sons and daughters and became friends with their parents.

Upon retirement Daddy returned to Abeokuta. He re-immersed himself in his Church – St Paul’s Cathedral the activities of the Abeokuta Grammar School Old Boys Association and the community at large. He was active at the Abeokuta sports club and he continued his avid love for music gardening and travel. He enjoyed taking trips to visit his children and grandchildren wherever they where around the world. Most importantly he came to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. As he looked back at various phases of his life he simply marveled at a great God who had extended such Amazing Grace to him. It was thus with great joy and spiritual significance that he made the Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem to visit the Holy Land.

Daddy transitioned to glory on Sunday Maart 1 2009 surrounded by all his children and having said “Goodbye” and “Thank You” in his profound way. The timing and circumstances are nothing short of God’s Amazing Grace.
Daddy ran a good and faithful race. His life demonstrates what God’s Amazing Grace can fulfill in the life of an innocent young boy from Boru-Boru. His parents had been told to always make sure he had shoes on to prepare him to walk the earth in the company of great men. Dad was always grateful for the opportunities to advance from his simple Boru-Boru animal-hide moccasin style salubatas to his finely crafted shoes from world-class shoe brands like Clarks Bostonian Stacy Adams and his favorite Johnston and Murphy – custom shoe-makers to Presidents. His shoes were always clean and polished and he handled them with great care always using a protective shoe horn whenever he put them on. Praise God that he has now exchanged all those worldly shoes with heavenly shoes as he walks all over God’s heaven!

He was preceded in death by his parents Pa and Ma Sokunbi his beloved Wife Mrs. Grace Ebunoluwa Sokunbi (1970) Sons – Master Adebola Sokunbi (1971) Mr. Femi Joseph (1997) and his Brother – Papa Alhaji Rasaq Oladipupo Ademuyiwa (2007)

Daddy is survived by many children and grandchildren as well as a host of nephews nieces and friends of his children who became sons daughters and grandchildren to him:

Dr. Mrs. Yetunde Taiwo Pharmacologist Director Global External Research and Development Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals Indianapolis USA. She is married to Mr. Abiola A. Taiwo a Chemist IT professional and President of an international IT Consulting and Computer Services Company..

Dr D. O. B. Sokunbi Consultant Nephrologist Chief of Staff Nacogdoches Medical Center Texas USA Chairman Kidney Consultants International. He is married to Dr Modupe A. Sokunbi (nee Ogunnaike) Consultant Pediatrician.

Mr. Adebayo Sokunbi Economist Director of Operations Kidney Consultants International. He is married to Barrister Stella Sokunbi (nee Williams).
Ibukunoluwa Oluwadamilola Taiwo of Indianapolis Indiana

Ebunoluwa Abimbola Taiwo B.A. (Ohio State) JD (Yale) Barrister & Practicing Attorney Major US Law Firm

Yetunde Abosede Sokunbi BA (Rice) Medical Student Baylor University Texas

Omodolapo Oluyinka Sokunbi - Rice University Texas

Olufemi Oluyowa Taiwo – Indiana University

Olumide Folarin Sokunbi – Nacogdoches High School

Oluwatobiloba Omodolapo Sokunbi - Christ Redeemer College Sagamu

Adebola Oluwaseun Sokunbi - Ikorodu Lagos

Ayobami Oluwaseyitan Sokunbi – Ikorodu Lagos
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