The sudden death of Ms. Doris Asiedu-Sarkodie, 32, was reported in Jamaica, the Caribbean, on Nov. 24, 2010. Ms. Asiedu-Sarkodie, who had taken a brief break from her work as a child-protection specialist with New York City’s Administration of Children’s Services (ACS), to vacation on the celebrated island-nation that produced legendary reggae musicians and political activists Robert Nesta Marley and Jimmy Cliff, among a host of other luminaries – something she had been regularly doing in recent years, according to relatives – had suffered an asthma attack and died almost instantly.
As of this writing (Dec. 4, 2010), arrangements were well underway to return the mortal remains of the deceased from Jamaica on Wednesday, Dec. 8, for funerary rites and burial here in New York.
Highlights of events are as follows: There will be a laying-in-state and viewing of the mortal remains of Ms. Asiedu-Sarkodie at the Benta Funeral Home, located at 630 St. Nicholas Avenue, New York, New York 10030, on Friday, Dec. 17, 2010 between the hours of 12pm to 6pm, and then again from 7pm to 9pm on the same day. This will shortly be followed by a memorial service right across the street from Benta Funeral Home.
On the same day, from 10pm till daybreak, traditional African funerary rites will be observed at Ghanata House, located at 2180 Webster Avenue (Between 181st and 182nd Streets) in Bronx, New York.
Popularly known as “Fluffy” among her African-American friends and associates, and as “Nana Akyiaa” among relatives, friends and acquaintances in New York City’s Ghanaian community, Ms. Doris Asiedu-Sarkodie was born in Harlem, New York, on July 7, 1978 and attended the Mott Hall School for Gifted and Talented Children. Shortly thereafter, she attended Brooklyn Tech High School, from which she graduated in 1996.
In 2001, Ms. Asiedu-Sarkodie earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and briefly served as a substitute teacher in the New York City public school system. Over the last 9 years, however, the deceased worked as a child-protection specialist with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), otherwise known as the child welfare system.
Those who knew Ms. Doris Asiedu-Sarkodie described her as one who was full of smiles, deeply caring and affectionate. Ms. Patricia Barnwell, a co-worker with “Fluffy” for the past 9 years and for whose son the deceased served as godmother, had written the following lengthy, lyrical and emotionally touching text-message on her cell-phone: “From the moment we met[,] it was like love at first sight. On that first day[,] I was all up in your business[,] once I found out [that] you were an African. It didn’t take long for me to see how beautiful of a person you were. Less than a year after we met[,] we were calling one another best friends. You were MJ’s god-mommy and his Auntie Doris. I never would have imagined that you would replace so many friends that I had known for years. We have helped one another grow into the women [that] we have become. You smoothed out my rough edges. You were my better half and I was your ‘Baby Mama.’ If I were to search the world a million times[,] I would never be able to find another person like you. You were more than my best friend. You were my sister, my heart and soul. No one could ever take your place. I love you forever.”
Another friend, Ms. Lakeya Mack, who had known the deceased since 4th grade, tearfully recalled many memorable shared vacations, birthday parties and nights out on the town with “Fluffy.” “She was my right-hand person and part of the family. My father always called her his adopted daughter. She stayed over for summers and we went out for each other’s birthdays.”
Ms. Mack also recalled a childhood incident in which “Fluffy” had adamantly refused to share her cookies with these three friends until they ended up crushed in dirt on the ground, with their tripped owner freely rolling down a long flight of steps. “Twenty-five years later, we would still be fighting over food,” added Ms. Mack.
For Sui Mills, another of Fluffy’s fast friends and Ms. Mack’s cousin, “Doris was my girl. She always had the best style of dressing and made her own bracelets and necklaces.” Most of all, however, Ms. Mills wistfully believes that it is those moments of shared jokes and raucous laughter that she would sorely miss about the deceased.
Ms. Doris Asiedu-Sarkodie is survived by 11 siblings, namely, Otelia, New York; Gladys (a.k.a. Anointed Lady), Accra-Ghana; William, Samuel and Matilda Yaa Asamoah, all of Kumasi-Ghana; Gloria and Nana Akyiaa, Sr., of Germany; James, Italy; and Mark, London-England; Sister Akyiaa Sarkodie, Kumasi-Ghana; and Joseph Sarkodie, Gabon, Central Africa.
Also surviving the deceased are her mother, Mrs. Grace Oteng-Sarkodie (a.k.a. Maame Yaa Adowaa), a former detective with the Ghana Police Service (stationed at Tema, Obuasi and Kumasi) and presently a Harlem, New York, storekeeper, a traditional African mortuary artist-beautician and a distinguished member of New York City’s Ghanaian community. And Mr. Yaw Sarkodie (a.k.a. Opanyin Yaw Sarkodie), a former assistant librarian at the Kumasi Poly-Technical Institute, owner of Kanawu Enterprises, a foot-ware and suiting materials importer, Kumasi Municipal Bus Service conductor and clerk of the Manhyia Court in the palace of His Royal Majesty, the Asantehene.
For further information, contact the following numbers: Benta Funeral Home at 212-281-8850; 646-220-1455; 212-928-2358 and 914-806-2145.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr.,
Atumpan News Agency