28.01.2006 Diaspora News

Farewell to a friend

28.01.2006 LISTEN

WORCESTER, USA -- Just a few weeks ago, Victor Owusu visited the home of a former teacher and left a message on her refrigerator: "Victor was here."

The teacher, Theresa Robidoux, didn't realize what the words would later mean to her.

Owusu, a native of Ghana, died in a car crash Jan. 20 in Sterling.

"Victor was here as a loving son, a special brother, a caring friend," Robidoux said during Owusu's funeral Friday, fighting through tears. "Victor was here as a mighty worker for God. Let's never forget Victor was here."

Owusu, 18, a senior at South Lancaster Academy, died along with the vehicle's driver, Ian Brown, 17.

Police say speed played a role in the wreck.

The crash injured two other students at the private Christian school.

More than 400 people attended Owusu's funeral at the Worcester Seventh-day Adventist Church Friday.

Mourners sat elbow to elbow in the pews, while dozens stood around the perimeter, unable to get a seat.

About 100 people watched the service on a projection screen in an overflow room.

Owusu touched everyone in his life, said his father, Kofi Owusu.

Smiling, Kofi Owusu recalled how his son had taken the job of driving his sister, Esther, to basketball games and violin lessons.

"He was prepared to do that, to show he loved his sister," Kofi Owusu said, with his arm around his wife, Margaret. "He'd do anything for all of us."

Becoming choked up, Kofi Owusu spoke of how his son had planned to leave home this fall for Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, to study biomedical engineering.

"He kept telling us, at 18 we were going to miss him," Kofi Owusu said. "I will miss Victor."

Victor Owusu was born in Kumsai, Ghana, according to a program.

His family came to Worcester in 1993, where he attended the Worcester Seventh-day Adventist School through eighth grade.

Owusu then went to South Lancaster Academy, a small school run by the Seventh-day Adventist church.

He played on the basketball team and ran cross-country, and also sang in the choir.

Owusu served as class president his junior and senior years, and had begun to teach Bible lessons to younger teens at church, the program says.

"His dedication and love for God served as a great role model for young and old alike," the program says.

Owusu was a young man with both earthly and spiritual concerns on his mind, according to Pastor Luther Raposo.

Raposo said Owusu had already earned 20 credits for college, but one of his favorite topics of discussion was the biblical "endtime" and the second coming of Christ.

Owusu's denomination, Seventh-day Adventist, strongly promotes the belief in the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead.

Raposo titled his sermon, "What Will Happen to Victor When Jesus Comes Again?"

The sermon concluded on a hopeful note.

"Victor is not lost. His death is not eternal," Raposo said. "One day we shall see him rise again from the grave."

The fatal crash occurred on Holden Road in Sterling just before noon on Jan. 20.

The crash occurred near Brown's Sterling home. Police say Brown lost control of the car and slammed into a tree.

Nelson W. Perry, 18, of Harvard was released from the hospital Monday.

The fourth occupant, Jody Fouche, 18, of Clinton, remained in critical condition at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester Friday, according a hospital spokesperson.

Doctors have found that Fouche has "some brain damage," according the Web site for South Lancaster Academy.

Officials at the school canceled classes Friday.

Robidoux, who taught at the Worcester Seventh-day Adventist School, said she received a card from Owusu after his eighth-grade graduation from the school.

Owusu expressed to Robidoux through the card that he was a better person for knowing her.

Robidoux paused for a moment after reading the card.

"Victor touched me in a way that changed me forever," Robidoux said. "I am better for knowing him."

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