On Saturday, April 18, 2020, the University of Liberia (UL) learned of the untimely passing of one of its valuable employees in person of Mrs. Deddeh M. Baysah Antione, Executive Assistant at the College of Health Sciences.
Mrs. Antione was honored recently as the Outstanding Administrator in the College of Health Sciences during the Centennial Commencement Convocation’s Oaths and Honors ceremony.
The news of Mrs. Antione’s passing was disclosed by Dr. Bernice Dahn, Vice President for Health Sciences.
In a short paragraph with three gutted sentences, Dr. Dahn found the courage to deliver the shocking news: “Good morning to all. Mrs. Antione just passed. May her soul RIP.”
However, this was not the update Dr. Dahn had expected to convey to her colleagues on the status of Mrs. Antione’s medical condition after she disclosed, on April 11, 2020, that Mrs. Antione had fallen ill and was rushed to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFK).
“Dear all,” Dr. Dahn wrote, “This is to inform you that Mrs. Antoine, my Administrative Assistive, fell off this morning and was rushed to JFK ER.”
Nevertheless, the news caused sufficient stir and worry among UL administrators, some of whom immediately sent “get well soon” messages, including one from UL President Dr. Julius S. Nelson Jr., who offered this prayer: “Loving and Almighty God, please send your healing power to your daughter. We pray in your mercy. She will be in our prayer.”
Dr. Moses Zinnah, Vice President for Academic Affairs, also wrote: “I pray for her speedy recovery,” while Professor Weade Kobbeh-Boley, Vice President for Institutional Development, wrote: “She is in our prayers. We pray she recovers fast.”
Sadly, and unexpectedly, the news of Mrs. Antione’s sudden death today, who, after falling ill nearly a week ago, has undoubtedly sent immediate shockwaves across the UL community and beyond.
UL President Dr. Nelson, who earlier in the week offered special prayers and sent messages wishing Mrs. Antione a speedy recovery, was one of the first people to express shock.
In his tribute, Dr. Nelson said: “Condolences to the family. UL Family, please have our sympathy. Deddeh was my partner on the Commencement Convocation Committee. May her soul rest in perfect peace.”
It is now becoming evident that Mrs. Antione’s ever-present quality at the UL would now be forever dearly missed, and this sad reality was articulated in a moving tribute proffered by Professor Kobbeh-Boley, who wrote:
“We have been really hit but God knows best. Deddeh was a coworker, sister and friend. Our last act was to pray the stations of the cross together on Good Friday on whatsApp. She was also very jovial. Let me share her last post on covid with you to lessen the grief. Let’s keep her family and friends in prayer.”
Professor Boley then re-posted a forwarded message, which reads: “Touch Jesus Cross and See Magical Wish, By Dee M. Baysah Antione.”
Another UL administrator who expressed deep shock at the news of Mrs. Antione’s passing was Mr. P. Garswa Jackson, Vice President for Finance and Fiscal Affairs. Writing with so much emotion, he said: “This is really sad! So so sad! Just a couple of weeks ago, she was flooding my WhatsApp with COVID-19 information and jokes. A pleasant lady with a heart of gold! May her soul rest in peace.”
Dr. Zinnah was also shock, as he recalls a recent interaction with Mrs. Antoine.
“Unbelievable!!!I was with her 2 weeks at the funeral of the late medical student. She was a wonderful person,” he said. “Deepest sympathy to her family and the Medical School family. May her soul rest in perfect peace.”
Her body has been deposited at the St. Moses Funeral Home, according to Dr. Dahn. More details on Mrs. Antione’s passing will be announced later.