John Kali-Kojo Komai

November 11, 1936November 13, 2012
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Rev. John Kali-Kojo Komai, age 76, a resident of Oak Park, passed away at Manor Care in Hinsdale on November 13, 2012. He will be interred at Woodlawn Cemetery Mausoleum on Friday November 23 at 12 Noon. (Family and Friends will meet at Woodlawn Funeral Home) A Memorial Service to celebrate his life will be held Saturday January 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM at the Elliott Chapel of The Presbyterian Homes, 3131 Simpson St. (also known as Golf Rd.) Evanston, IL 60202. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to The Presbyterian Homes Student Chaplain Intern Fund (checks made payable to the Geneva Foundation), 3200 Grant St., Evanston, IL 60201, or Spring Arbor Student Scholarship Fund, Spring Arbor University, 106 E. Main St. Spring Arbor, MI 49283, or Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church Memorial Endowment Fund, 600 E. 35th St., Chicago, IL 60616.

… By The Content of His Character CARING GIVING AND LOVING ARE ALL EXCELLENT WAYS TO DESCRIBE JOHN KALI-KOJO-KOMAL. To those who knew him best, John was a smart and humble person who always looked for the best attributes in other people. Also, he was a quietly clever businessman who often surprised colleagues with his tender tenacity, tireless work ethic, and vast knowledge.He was born in Ghana, West Africa to a Ghanian mother and a Liberian father. In his early teens hismother died and he and his father moved back to Liberia. He grew up to be an outstanding linguist and Bible scholar. By the age of sixteen he spoke several languages and often served as a translator for spectators who flocked to the mineral rich interior areas of Liberia. He loved to read the Bible and met two young American missionaries (Ed and Judy Jones) who helped him perfect his English and Bible knowledge. And while some thought he was an idealist, his friends and family understood that he was forever seeking ways to improve the educational and economic opportunities for the people in his village. After all, his father was a Puti chief and John was presumed to be the heir to the riches and concerns of this region. Because his father was a farmer, who worked long hard hours in the fields and gold mines, he was literally raised, in the African tradition, by his village. Thus, he was beloved by everyone, but he was especially fond of his fraternal twin sister who perceived him as a quiet clever person who deserved a better education than he could find at their mission school. She began to seek opportunities for him to travel to America with the missionaries when they returned home. Because of his wit and work ethic they were happy to mentor him and seek sponsors for his immigration efforts.Thus, during the 1950s he matriculated at Spring Arbor Bible College in Michigan and graduated with honors. The college yearbook was dedicated to the glory of his scholarship, singing talent, and community service. Educationally, he earned graduate degrees from Greenville College in religion, Roosevelt University in accounting, Chicago State University in education. Additionally, he completed coursework at the University of Chicago in statistics, Garrett! McCormick Seminaries in theology and was a doctoral candidate at Loyola University in educational leadership. Professionally, he was also an overachiever, who was successful in many careers. By the age of forty he was the first minority owner of a State Farm Insurance agency in Evergreen Park, a real estate developer in the Uptown neighborhood, and in 1970s because of his deep love for the church he became an ordained Presbyterian minister serving, Lawndale Presbyterian Church for eighteen years. However, he never forgot the promise made to his countrymen and early in the 1980s he successfully purchased a Coca-Cola bottling company and returned to Liberia to use the profits from this business to provide better school and medical facilities to the villages in the interior areas. John truly loved the Lord and his country; in 1997 he was a candidate for the president of Liberia with the endorsement of the American government. However, the horrific civil war in his country ended this aspiration. He always carried his devoted daughter, Kwaben Jean Komai, in the Heart of his Heart and she was truly the Love of his Life! Thus, after he suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury nine years ago, Kwaben enlisted a host of friends, family, members of the Liberian American community, medical magicians at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and her co-caregivers (especially Chaplain Baldwin) at the Presbyterian Homes in Evanston to help minister to her father. Thus, he leaves to celebrate his remarkable life, his daughter Kwaben, her mother Dr. Loisjean (Ernie) Thompson; her siblings, Roland, Diahanna, Kenneth;her cousins James Quiah Gbalay, Babstunde Adewsi, Ricky Maurice Brown, Nia Bennett, Alysia Logan;her aunts Nancy Jean Harris, Lynette Logan Harris, Attorney Cora Thompson Burks and Dr. Doris Walker Bennett. Additionally, she was blessed by the faithful assistance of her father's lifetime friends, Frederick Adewsi and Thomas Crumpler, plus her spiritual advisor, Rev. Donald B. Register, who did so many random acts of kindness. They were all the wind beneath her angelic wings.This Caring, Generous Loving man, his faithful daughter, and world wide family have been encircled by their prayerful church family at Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church and the Sorors of Delta Sigma Theta International Service Sorority (ENSA Chapter). We thank God for their endless blessings.


  • Inurnment Friday, November 23, 2012
  • Memorial Service Saturday, January 5, 2013

John Kali-Kojo Komai

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December 28, 2012

Kwaben and family,

Our prayers and hopes for wonderful memories are with you.

Janice and Frank Parker

Kathy Williams White

December 3, 2012

Dear Kwaben
Just want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Isn't it amazing that God knows and does all things well? The fact that he called my dad home on 11/9/12 and then his friend/younger brother/son, John Komai, just a few days later on 11/13/12. I can just see them walking the streets of Heaven together. Your dad, John, has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I met him while he and my dad were at Spring Arbor College in the early 1960's, when I was like 4 years old, now I am 55!. John spent many Sundays worshiping with us and then as a guest at our home for Sunday dinner. As the years went by, he was always welcomed in our home. And once he returned to Jackson, it started all over again. Knowing that my dad and your dad are together again comforts my heart and trust that it will do the same for you.

Linda Williams and family

November 30, 2012

Dear kwaben,
This can be such a time of sorrow for family and friends but it is also a time
when ALL the loving thoughts and memories of those who remember him are woven together
creating a magic carpet that I am sure he is joyfully riding into the heavens.

As I stop to recall that which I remember best about John, it was his wonderful laugh.
Unique and infectious in its sound - anyone standing close enough to hear him usually
laughed with him.

I wish you peace and love!

Claudette Burchett

November 29, 2012

My thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time. But be encouraged knowing you and your father will see each other again. With much love,
Your soror and friend Claudette

Gayle Davis

November 29, 2012

Kwaben, praying for you and the family. Little Sean and I love you very much.

Dennis Epps

November 23, 2012

Dear Kwaben and Komai family, we offer our condolences.

Karen Blacker

November 21, 2012

What a lovely tribute to your dad, Kwaben. Condolences to you and your family from all of us at Northshore DayRehab. Your dad is remembered fondly.

Philicia Deckard

November 21, 2012

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. After reading about your father, it is so clear that you also carry his same values and traits such as faith, compassion and service to others.

Ira McKenzie

November 20, 2012

Kwaben, My prayers are with you & your family. Ira

Scott Cleator

November 20, 2012

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your father. I never had the pleasure of meeting him , but I can see from your photographs that he had a very dignified presence and was a loving Dad. God bless you & your family in this time of transition. With my heartfelt sympathy, Scott Cleator