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Grace Folorunso Bello ( Feb. 1928 – Feb. 2019)

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Chief (Mrs.) Grace Folorunsho Bello was born on February 28, 1928 to the family of Chief Daniel Jemiyo Atandare and Mary Omosewo Atandare (nee Aregbesola) .

Her father was a trained teacher and an accomplished organist, who was employed as a station master in the then Nigerian Railways (NRC) while her mother was a textile trader in Sabo, Yaba.

As the first born of the family and “Longed For” at that, she was very much pampered by parents and relations. Her father later became the Odopetu of Akure, the third in command after the Deji of Akure. She occupied the throne as the Regent of Odopetu of Akure for about 6 months after the death of her father in 1974.

Her early years were spent in Lagos where she attended Government School, Lagos for her primary education and later Methodist Girls High School, Yaba , Lagos. She gained employment into the Government Secretariat Ikoyi, Lagos to where she cycled to work every morning from her family home in McEwen street.

While working at the secretariat, she would always spend her annual leave in her parents’ hometown, Akure where she was always well hosted in her father’s house by relations.

She worked in the secretariat for a few years before proceeding to the United Kingdom to study nursing in the late 40s. She would later meet her first beau, a dashing young prince of Ijebu Igbo Prince Gbadebo with whom she has a son, Prince Ademola Gbadebo. She later fell in love and married a young engineer from Akure, Zacchaeus Andrew Bello with whom she had three sons Fela, Femi, Toye and a daughter Bisi.

Unfortunately, her son Fela died very young of sickle cell complications, while Bisi, her last daughter passed away last year and needless to say that she never got over this tragic loss just before her 90th birthday.

Because of her young family, she was not able to complete her nursing training as they had to return to Nigeria from the United Kingdom (UK) in 1956. She worked briefly at Coca Cola Apapa, Lagos before joining the Central Bank of Nigeria, where she met her bossom friend Mrs. Mabel Bola-Sadipe with whom a life long relationship developed. They were inseparable till death. Mumsy was blessed with great friends in Akure and Lagos

After her retirement from the Central Bank, Lagos, she relocated to Akure to get away from the hustle and bustle of Lagos life for a more quiet environment. She became a contractor, but most importantly became deeper in the conviction of her faith and this earned her the title of “Iya Ijo” of “Only Jesus Can Do It Church”. Besides her being a very active member of St David’s Church just as her father and mother before her.

She was buried yesterday in Akure, the Ondo State capital

May her soul rest in perfect peace and may light perpetual shine upon her in Jesus name.


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