“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” Psalms 42:11, 43:5
Lovito, my sweetheart, my best friend for the past 37 years. So, this is not one of your pranks! Fearless to the end, you bowed out like a hero which you are. Always the go-getter and calculated risk-taker, you lived life to the fullest, daring to tread where others feared, confident, caring almost to a fault. I believe that God has called you to rest from your labour. You eased me out of my cocoon, groomed and moulded me, pushing me to excel. You showed me awesome love and there was no Lovett without Funke and no Funke without Lovett.
You lived up to your name. Your love for God and humanity was indisputable and your inspiration came from God. Your life preached the gospel, often saying ‘Christianity is not about carrying the bible’. The positive impact you made in the lives of many has led to the outpouring of testimonies which are well deserved. You encouraged everyone who encountered you to strive to be their best, always willing to give your utmost to assist the underprivileged. You gave yourself selflessly to serving God and humanity, loving, kind and compassionate. You loved to celebrate others but always humble, principled and full of integrity, encouraging everyone that cared to listen, especially the youth, to contribute to making Nigeria, a country you loved passionately, great.
Apart from God, family came first. Your love for the children was undoubtable and I thank God for how they have all turned out to be God-fearing, hardworking and loving family men. Both immediate and extended family testify to the positive impact you have made in their lives and even at this time that as I am needing comforting, I have to be strong because many need comforting too.
You led by example, emphasising that all staff of the hospital were part of the Zankli family and should see you as a father and brother. Your legacy lives on not only in Zankli but also in your biological and non biological children, students and mentees. We had plans to give a duet performance, you on the Saxophone, me on the piano but I believe we
will have the opportunity in heaven, singing with the angels some of your favourite songs especially ‘You are the pillar that holds my life, Master Jesus, You are the pillar that holds my life’. I miss your protective love, warmth, humour, quiet evenings together sharing thoughts, making plans………
I know you live on in my heart and in the lives of numerous people you have touched and promise that I will not disappoint you as I endeavour to ensure your legacy lives on, God being my helper. Sleep on my beloved, till we meet at the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.”
I love you dearly
Your babe, Funkie
“The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family.” — Reed Markham.
Growing up, one of the things my dad said the most to me was: how is acada? See, my dad believed in hard work. He always strived to be better, and always inspired the people around him to be better as well. As kids, this sometimes came across as overbearing, but as I grew older, the drive and striving to be better was something I kept with me, and looking back now I cherish those informal lessons.
My dad was always thinking about ‘what was next’ . I believe that thought was a constant drive for him from starting out in Jos up till current day Zankli. Even after his retirement, he was still asking, what next?
My dad was an incredible man. He provided for his family and made sure we had the guidance we needed. I am grateful for my dad and I miss him every day.
I am assured that he is with his Heavenly Father…working on his NEXT project.
May his soul Rest in peace.
Love you always dad.
I miss you big guy…
You are and will forever be my hero.
Your favourite son…
To sum up my father in words would be impossible but I will say three things that would cover up just a small part of the wonderful man that was Dr(prof) Lovett Lawson. Love, greatness and dedication.
My fathers name is Lovett and those first four letters could not be more apt. Dad showed love to everyone. He was the kindest person and was open to everyone. He would give advice on the best thing for people and would assist any and everyway no matter what his own situation was. He loved fully. Made sure to call every single day and would encourage you no matter what to get up and get going.
My father is a great man. I emphasise the “is” because his legacy speaks for itself. Its not going anywhere. Watching my father gave me joy. I am so proud to be his son. A lot of people considered him a father and role model.
Everyone knows how dedicated daddy was. If dad decided he was going to fly a plane tomorrow, guess what would happen…HE WOULD FLY A PLANE TOMORROW. There was no “cant” or “impossible” in his dictionary. He led by example and what an example to follow.
I loved my father. I loved the way he would get so happy when we would go see him. I loved his sense of humour. I loved how he always had our backs even when he wasn’t hundred percent in line with the idea. He would encourage us and keep us moving forward even if the road seemed blocked. I cant tell you people enough. What a man!!! What a father!!! A billion life times and ill come back as his son.
I love you forever dad and will strive to keep the legacy alive. Rest in peace dad.
Dearest Dad, that’s right its what you were to me. Words fail me and so I got a little help to say that which I’m trying to accept:
“We little knew that morning,
God was going to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly,
In death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you,
You did not go alone,
For part of us went with you,
the day God called you home.
You left us beautiful memories,
Your love is still our guide
And though we cannot see you,
You are always by our side.
Our family chain is broken
And nothing seems the same
But as God calls us one by one
The chain will link again.”
Author: Ron Tranmer
I love you Dad. Tamilore & Tireni love and miss you dearly. Forever you are in our hearts
Was the last time really the last time. The last time I saw you, the last time we spoke. The last time you called me Aunty D or said Hey Pretty girl on a video call (no matter how haggard I looked). The last time I will see you smile or give mum a look while she was trying to get in her steps.
Dad you always made me feel loved. You had a gift of opening your heart to all who deserved it. You always saw the best in people. I told Femi I have lost my number one hype man. Dad I will miss you. I love you so much. You are a light in these dark times. I pray you will rest in peace and the lord will comfort those of us you have left behind.
Love you Dad.
I wrote these words on the day you left this earth and they will always remain true. As Christians we know you are with God for we know the life you lived. Your legacy will continue to grow through those left behind and your beautiful Grandchildren.
Rest in Peace Dad, Love you always.
To have known dad, is to have known an icon. I feel blessed to have met him and his memory will forever be a treasure in my heart.
Daddy was a loving man, he loved to enjoy his time with family, and he spent so much time with Tomi whenever we came around. I knew him only 3 years but I had grown to love him and mum so fast. I always felt welcome from the very first day I met them. I usually called myself the luckiest daughter in law ever. Dad didn’t like when I looked sad, he would always say, “joksy babe, you are not looking happy, oya what’s wrong with you?” And he would only let it rest when I assured him I was okay. He was extremely generous and spontaneous, he wanted me to enjoy life while teaching me that I still had to work hard and always encouraged us to keep fit.
Dad wasn’t your typical Nigerian father, he would apologise when he thought he had wronged you and he meant it. He will gist with us like we were all mates and even crack jokes, he was very friendly. This period we were meant to travel on what would have been “my first family vacation” with the family, but instead we are here to bury dad. I can’t believe it.
It hurts, it hurts so bad but I’m sure that you are resting in the bosom of the Lord. You were caring, kind, generous, loving, amiable and above all, a God fearing man. And the dad I know will be looking out for us from heaven, our own personal angel. Rest on dad, your Joksy babe loves you forever.
Billy and Sampe Lawson
Brother and Sister-In-Law
I Remember, We Remember
Where does one start.
Our childhood at Beecroft Street was my first recollection of Lovett as my elder brother. We grew up amongst family, the Body-Lawsons, the Lance-Lawsons and our own family.
Added to these were the family members that regularly visited from Togo: our cousins Popo, Norah, Elsie, Elliott, Bene and Goddie.
It was fun and we all grew up as one family. Memories to be cherished forever.
Then along the way secondary school happened. You went to Baptist Academy and later I went to Igbobi College. When I got to Igbobi, there was no other Lawson, but along came my uncle Ben Magnus-Lawson and cousin Adam Lawson. So immediately I became Lawson lll. You came to Igbobi the following year after and suddenly my position dropped to Lawson IV. But what was great about all of this was that the Lawson name became established in Igbobi College. Not just by our numbers, but in the contribution of the members to various aspects of the school life.
Of great memory was your outstanding contribution to IC Rockets, the school football team, for which you were a formidable right full back in the years 1967/8.
Then came the day, I will never forget in my life, May 22nd 1968. I woke up as usual, and one by one different students started telling how sorry they were about my brother. I wondered what they were talking about.
We were in the dining hall, when Snr Okunowo looking sad, with blood shot eyes, came to call Victor and I to the Vice-Principal’s office.
It was there we were told about Mansell, my junior brother’s death on the way to the hospital.
I was told he died in your arms. I choked and felt stifled and was going to run out of the office, only to be held back. I wept for Mansell, but also worried a lot about you as that was your final year.
God was good, as you passed and went on to Medical school saying that, that incident contributed to your decision to studying medicine.
You graduated and what you became after that, is now history for everyone to read.
Sampe and I got married in 1977 and you came all the way from Jos to celebrate with us. We remember our various visits to Jos, starting with the white bungalow you lived in, to when the house at the abattoir was built. Our visits to New Crescent Hospital, the Polo club and finally the house at Rayfield.
Then the adventurous move to Abuja. The hospital with one room living quarters for the family. Then came the work on the hospital and the house.
On the lighter side, we remember, when Sampe came to both Jos and Abuja, on official visits and you insisted that she needed to stay at your house and not at the hotel with her colleagues. I had to call you and explain why she could not before you finally agreed.
We remember my visit to Abuja a few years ago, when I had some health issues and how through out you kept assuring me that there was no problem. Whilst at Zankli Medical hospital I got a fantastic reception and care from everyone I met during this period.
We remember your love and philanthropy when Sampe celebrated her 60th in the village in Togo. Knowing what Sampe did for the villagers, you on the spur of the moment committed to starting a clinic for the village in the name of Sampe’s mom.
We remember your visit to our home in Lomé with your whole family during the 2019 celebration in Aneho and the fun and love we shared.
We remember your care and love for me when I was hospitalized recently, although you were already in hospital as well. Your calls and instructions to Sampe on what to do for “my brother” and your text of encouragement to me during this time, will always be remembered and treasured by both of us.
Your were a brother to us, you were the family Chairman and because of all you did and shared, you will always be remembered.
Sleep well our brother, we love you but God loves you more,
Till we meet again, rest in the Bosom of your Lord and Maker.
Billy and Sampe
Brother Mine – Fare Thee Well
Lovett was writing his memoirs when he passed on. He was on putting down his thoughts and reminiscences chronologically starting from his early days and sent me each chapter to review. As at 24th June 2020, he had a draft up to Chapter 5, his youth service period in Jos. He was ever so excited about this, his latest project. His life was full of projects which he always finished successfully. This one he didn’t get the chance to finish himself and could possibly never have written as eloquently and fully as is being written in his death. He was much too humble and probably quite unaware of the full significance and impact of his life.
This is what a young friend of mine who didn’t know him shared with me –
“I’m reading tributes on his website. There are 516 entries already (as at 20th July 2020), so clearly I will be there for a while….I can’t seem to pull myself away from those tributes. I’m learning a lot about how to live from the testimonies of people about him. And, I feel blessed.”
Our darling brother, we called him Chairman, said of our parents, “Our parents were humble and taught their children humility, hard work and love for God.” Lovett excelled in these and much, much more.
He was humility personified – he had no airs or graces; he embraced all, the low, the high and the mighty. He shied away from publicity for himself except where it benefitted others.
He was extremely hardworking and not afraid to dare – deciding to start his career in faraway Jos; restarting in Abuja from scratch; continuously learning and growing – going for a PhD well into his 50’s, continuously retooling and remodelling ZMC as a medical centre of excellence, becoming an academic and an infectious disease expert, and all the other things he did in between. He kept extending himself, doing more and more, one project after another, exploring and expressing every aspect of his God given potential and talents.
He knew Jesus as His personal Lord and Saviour – he acknowledged Him in all, and served Him faithfully as he grew in Him. One of his favourite praise songs was “Master Jesus, you are the pillar that holds my life.” And indeed he attributed all his successes to God Almighty and was always in awe of His faithfulness in his life.
He embodied his faith in action –
He loved deeply – he extended the love of God to others in all his dealings. His love for family and things relating to family were unparalleled.
He was generosity exemplified – he was quick to offer support, financially and otherwise. He gave and gave, and sacrificially too.
He was the epitome of hospitality – he welcomed all and sundry into his home. He was extremely jovial and loved making people feel at home and at ease in his company.
He empowered others – he was a people developer and encourager, providing financial support for education, home ownership, health support and much more.
Lovett in the first chapter of his memoirs which he’d titled “Early Days” wrote that: “I have come to believe that life’s journey is usually determined by your early experiences in life. It was from this time I knew I wanted to succeed in life.”
And Wow, did he succeed!!!
Lovett could be obstinate, impatient and restless (he obviously had a lot he wanted to get done), but he had a truly large heart that cut across so many, many constituencies. He lived a truly rounded and fulfilled life and served the purpose of God in his generation. Glory be to God Almighty!!!
His passing is devastating to say the least. He was an amazing human being and I loved him so, so much and to him, I was his beloved sister. The deep anguish within is being replaced with thankfulness, praise and worship of our God Almighty. May my darling brother Lovett’s kind, caring, loving and ever so generous soul rest in perfect peace, Amen.
The Lord will remember Funke, their children, grandchildren and generations after them for good. People will continue to reverence God’s holy name in his life in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Brother mine, sleep on beloved, sleep on and take thy rest, till we meet to part no more.
Your one and only darling Sis
‘Tribute to my Bros Lovito.’
‘Babami’, our father passed away in the month of July 12yrs ago; isn’t it ironical that you who had now become my father figuratively similarly walked away in July? I had been planning a tribute in honour of Babami to tell of his virtues and achievements. He was a great man, gave his best for family, his profession and nation. I was going to celebrate him for all of us…and then You us left abruptly!
We accept the will of The Almighty and do not question His actions. We are consoled by the glowing tributes that have been shared for your life well spent, a life of empathy and professionalism and family. Looking again at the tribute I planned for Babami, I truly see him in you -verbatim! A family man, caring and hardworking.
For this and your legacy we thank God, Babajide.
Dear Uncle Lovett
I had no idea that the last time we danced In Aneho (Togo) was the last time we would dance together. I am tearing up Uncle Lovett.
Life seemed so carefree until this pandemic struck turning lives upside down. Uncle Lovett – an exemplary Doctor, a Professor of infectious diseases. Loyal to your profession to the very end. Worked till you were diagnosed and did the honourable thing and checked into an isolation centre. Uncle Lovito so full of integrity. You could have gone to any hospital of your choice but chose to do the honourable thing. You checked into an isolation centre. God bless you Uncle Lovett. You never chopped government money or contract, worked hard all your life and reaped the benefit of your labour. You were generous to a fault. Kai!! Uncle Lovito, is it like this???? My heart weeps. I don’t believe I won’t get the phone calls saying ‘Yenisco my darling how are you? Take care of yourself’ I am only glad we spoke on Saturday two days before your passing. You were still telling me to take care of myself.
I know eventually I will be able to think of you without crying, but I know one thing for sure, I will never forget you. You made such a positive impact on my life…Gone but never to be forgotten. I will miss you terribly and every time I pick up the phone to call and realise once again you are not here with us, I will call Funke who is like an extension of you. I am so honoured and lucky to have known you. You now have your place amongst the angels. An Angel yourself.
*RIP UNCLE LOVETT*