By Sekou Dauda Bangura, New Jersey.
At the Anderson Funeral Home, 201 Sanford Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey, where many Sierra Leoneans converged this past Saturday, March 24, Alhaji Alpha Sesay-Conteh (nee Alpha Sesay), who passed away on Friday, March 16, at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, was remembered as a good human being who devoted his entire life following the path of righteousness and serving Allah.
In addressing those who gathered for the Muslim Funeral Service, Alhaji Ibrahim Conteh, Chief Imam of Dawat-Ul- Islamia of Somerset, New Jersey, described the late Alhaji Alpha as “a man that is blessed with a good heart; a model of moral perfection.” The Chief Imam exhorted all those gathered to strive to emulate the good example of the late Alhaji Alpha. He comforted the family and prayed for all those who came from far and near to pay their last respect. “May Allah’s blessing be upon us all,” he said.
The Muslim Funeral service which was well attended by family and friends from all across the United States, was graced by a dazzling array of religious dignitaries that included: Alhaji Hassan Savage, Deputy Imam of Dawat-ul-Islamia of Somerset, New Jersey, Alhaji Abdullah K. Savage, Chief Imam of Jamatul Haq of Franklin Township, New Jersey, Alhaji A.S.G. Kamara, Chief Imam, Jersey City Muslim Jamaat, New Jersey, Alhaji Lansana Jabbie from the Philadelphia Muslim Jamaat and Sheik Issa Kargbo , Imam of Ebelleh, Maryland. Also present were Alhaji Ibrahim Kamara and Alhaji T.S.Bangura - both from Maryland.
After the paying of glowing tributes by family members and the reading of selected verses from the Quoran, the final prayer (Janaza) was held outside the funeral home, conducted by Alhaji Abdullah K. Savage. The late Alhaji Alpha Sesay-Conteh was finally laid to rest at the Oaklawn Memorial Park on Route 1:30. This was immediately followed by a reception at Comfort Place, 1605 Calhoun Street, Ewing, New Jersey.
“Pa Alpha”, as the late Alhaji Alpha Sesay-Conteh (photo) was affectionately called, was born on January 1, 1933, in Bambara Town, Freetown, Sierra Leone. As an ambitious young boy, he took a keen interest in learning the Quran - and under the tutelage of Alpha Esheika Sesay (Imam of Bambara Town), mastered the Quran and developed an insatiable love for Allah, the most gracious and the most merciful. “It is fair to say that this was a motivating creed by which he richly lived his life on earth,” says a close family member, in reflecting on the life of the late Pa Alpha. Not surprisingly, in 2007 he fulfilled his life-long desire of making the pilgrimage to the Muslim Holy Land Mecca, together with his wife of many years.
People-oriented, he was deeply committed and dedicated to both his work and family. As a professional tailor, nothing short of excellence was his hallmark. He dazzled his numerous clients with exceptional tailoring ingenuity. A loving husband and a caring father, he went over and beyond to ensure his family was happy and had all they needed.
Those who knew him pretty well can vouch that he was a living encyclopedia, whose knowledge of both past and current events was enviably extensive and go way beyond the ordinary. He was an intelligent man who never stopped learning about the world. Like the famous Ulysses of Greek and Roman mythology, he loved traveling and meeting people from various spheres of life. His charisma is infectiously captivating and he won the hearts of the countless people he interacted with.
The late Alhaji Alpha Sesay-Conteh is survived by his wife Mrs. Isatu Kamara; children: Ahmed Conteh in Freetown, Abdul Conteh & Mrs. Salamatu Boye-Whyte in New Jersey; Abass Kamara, Yusufu Sesay & Abu Barkarr Sesay in London; Kadiatu Yarjah and, Kadiatu D’alloh in Maryland; Fawsa Hamid in New Hampshire, Ahmed Koroma in Washington DC, and Aminata Conteh in France .
Sons and daughters-in-Law: Abou Whyte, Sahr Yarjah, Mariatu, M’balu, Grace, Isata, Marie, Ram K, Zainab Koroma and Glenna. Grand Children: Isatu(mommy Ahmed) in London, Abdul Jr., Alpha Jr., Rugie Sesay, Isatu, Zainabu, Saa Jr, Tamba, Yusuf, Baby Sally, Isatu, Ester, David, David, Emmanuel, Bendu in London, Salamatu, Kadiatu, Kallah, Mommy Tu, Gloria,Ola, Alex,Mamie Hawa, Durus.
Great Grand Children: Kadijah, Alusine, Mariah.
Several brothers including, Alhaji Hassan Kargbo,Salieu Mansaray, and Alex Mansaray; sisters, aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, brother in- laws and sister in-laws in the United States, London and Freetown. Other close relatives and friends include the Sesay, Conteh, Kamara, Koroma, Kargbo, Turay, Mansaray, Harding, Kabba, Kabia, Nabe, Jalloh, Turay, Bangura,Richards, Taal-Smith, members of Da’Awatu Islamia and Jamatul Haq in New Jersey, and Ebilleh Jamaat in Maryland.