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Amazing life of Lavinia Ekong (1961-2019)


Lavina Ekong

Lavinia Ekong began her life’s journey on December 7, 1961. She was born in Detroit, Michigan to the late James and Carrie Ruckes.

Lavinia was the baby of her seven siblings, two of which, Jessie Ruckes, Sr. have preceded her in death.

Lavinia had a strong spiritual belief system and accepted Christ as her personal savior at an early age at new Prosperity M.B Church. She attended Hartford Memorial Baptist Church for many years.

Lavinia attended and graduated from Henry Ford High School and furthered her education by receiving a Masters of Social Work from Wayne State University and her Doctorate of Psychology at Michigan School of Professional Psychology. Lavinia was a licensed psychologist, marriage and family therapist and was an imago relationship specialist.


Lavinia was a vibrant force in imago Michigan and was a brilliant presenter who weaved the imago story in her own inspiring, entertaining and informational manner. Lavinia was an innovator whose radiant and energetic presence was felt by all who were privileged to know and learn from her.

Providing everyone that she met with an infectious and genuine smile and aggressive hug of sincerity and love is how Lavinia will be mostly remembered.

For more than 30 years, individuals, couples and families have been comforted and supported by Lavinia, the therapist, teacher, speaker, presenter, friend, guide and counselor with creating and nourishing vital relationships. These were professional passions of Lavinia that will leave a great void.

It is through her great ability to love and to encourage supporting and loving relationships that Lavinia was able to meet and later marry the love of her life, Sam Ekong, who she affectionately referred to as, “My Sam” to others.

The couple provided an example of a fun, giving, loving, graceful and respectful union to all who were fortunate enough to know them. Though very humble, Lavinia loved life and did everything big, from entertaining, travel, her career and even marriage! In 2001 one wedding was not enough! One country was not enough! Lavinia and Sam would marry in Sam’s native town in Lagos, Nigeria and again in Maya Rivieria, Mexico sharing Lavinia’ s big laugh and joy abroad. She also made sure that she and Sam celebrated both anniversaries, holding true to her motto of living life to its fullest and enjoying every moment! Lavinia and Sam were a beautiful couple and their love and presence truly made any event, or as Lavinia would say with a big smile, auspicious occasion!


Lavinia had a zeal for helping others by greeting you with a warm and sincere, “ Hey You” and always lived her life “ on purpose” letting no minute go without a beautiful plan. Her organization and time management skills were unmatched! She always said, “Baby when I die, be sure to put no regrets on my tombstone, because I have truly done everything that I wanted to.

Lavinia lived an amazing life and was always intentional and purposeful in every aspect of it. If you were a recipient of one of her almost backbreaking hugs and myriad of kisses then you knew you were just given a gift like no other.

Lavinia loved her family with every fiber of her being and nothing brought her more excitement than having them fill her home at anytime, especially for her yearly thanksgiving dinner or a sleepover with her host of nieces and nephews filling the house with three generations of love. She made no distinction between kin and friend. Everyone was loved by Lavinia. She was known for her great love of cooking and family gatherings and for making connections in the lives of all that crossed her path. Lavinia loved to have good time. She loved life and to entertain and you could often catch her literally laughing out loud!.

We are not here to mourn for Lavinia, but to reflect on her amazing life. This is the home going celebration of an exceptional wife, sister, aunt, friend, woman of fashion (inspired by her cousin, Dre Hardway) and child in Christ. On Monday, February 25, 2019 the Lord saw she was getting tired and said, “ come home (Lavinia) and take rest”. Do not think of her as gone away for her eternal journey has begun and as looks back, she does so, with no regret.

Lavinia leaves to celebrate her life and to cherish her memory: “ Her Sam” husband, friend. Inspiration and joy of 23 years; : Her Debora” (Douglas) Curtis, who actually is her niece, but raised as sisters, who were also best friends; three brothers, Zannie (Juanita) Ruckes, Tommy (Linda) Ruckes, Dennis (Valerie) Ruckes; one sister, Ruth Carol Johnson from California; three aunts, Vern Todd, Judy Ann, Todd, Gladys Todd; six sisters-in-law, Barbara, Patricia, Emeh (Lekan) , Enoh, Victoria (Ajala), and Marion, and one brother-in-law, Horgan (Alice); bonus daughter, Amber (Adeleke); grandchildren, Ayo Adetuntun, David, Adecore; a host of niece and nephews, others relatives, and friends; specifically besties, Pam (Donnel), Maggie (Lee), Rikki (Lanre); Bob and Jane Breslin; and her countless and grateful clients, who adored her.

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