Azeb Gemechu Obituary
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Azeb M. Gemechu

September 27, 1946 - March 19, 2014
Obituary

Azeb Melles Andom Gemechu, 67, of La Sierra, California, passed away on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 Azeb was born on September 27, 1946 in Adwa, Ethiopia. Her father, His Excellency the Late Ambassador Melles Andom, a believer in early education, took Azeb to India when she was 5 years old and entrusted her care and education to the Seventh Day Adventist Church at Vincent Hill. Throughout elementary school at Vincent Hill, Bangalore Middle School and Spicer Memorial College, Azeb became popular among her fellow students, teachers, and the American missionaries in India because of her quick wit, great sense of humor and contagious laughter....
Azeb Melles Andom Gemechu, 67, of La Sierra, California, passed away on Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Azeb was born on September 27, 1946 in Adwa, Ethiopia. Her father, His Excellency the Late Ambassador Melles Andom, a believer in early education, took Azeb to India when she was 5 years old and entrusted her care and education to the Seventh Day Adventist Church at Vincent Hill.
Throughout elementary school at Vincent Hill, Bangalore Middle School and Spicer Memorial College, Azeb became popular among her fellow students, teachers, and the American missionaries in India because of her quick wit, great sense of humor and contagious laughter.
She went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in education and psychology, at Andrews University, Michigan.
In 1969, Dr. and Mrs. Richard Banks, who knew Azeb in India and at Andrews University, invited her to Loma Linda California.
While at Loma Linda, Dr. and Mrs, Banks introduced her to an Ethiopian Medical Student, Fekede Gemechu. Two years later, Azeb and Fekede were married at the Riverside Baptist Church in Washington, DC, on July 4, 1971. Her sense of humor was not abated even during the hectic time of wedding planning and preparations as she took time to scribble on the back of the wedding invitation a note to Fekede, who was, at the time, a busy intern at Kettering Medical Center:
"Hubby" Dear,
Please be sure to make it to my wedding!
I'll be looking out for you!! Azeb
After a whirlwind honeymoon with stops in Cairo, Beirut, Addis Ababa, Gimbie, Rome, and Geneva, the Gemechus settled in Maryland where Azeb pursued a career in Early Childhood Education while Fekede completed his surgical residency training.
An advocate for children's early education, Azeb specialized in Kindergarten programs and was instrumental in starting three of them in California.
More recently, Azeb broke ground for a Kindergarten at the Kalala Learning Village, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which now provides a state-of-the-art Kindergarten education for 240 Ethiopian Children.
She was an active member of the community, participating in the Arlington Rotary Club, LLU Medical Auxiliary, and the La Sierra SDA Church Social Committee.
Although she enjoyed teaching Kindergarten, she always dreamt of owning her own tea room. This dream came true when she opened the Royal Tea Room next to the Mission Inn in downtown Riverside.
Unfortunately, complications of diabetes made it very difficult for her to continue her tea business or her career as Kindergarten teacher. Even as her health continued to deteriorate, she never missed the opportunity to tell jokes and watch people laugh. As one of her friends noted: "Full of fun, Azeb could turn the most serious situation to laughter."
Another friend observed that "Azeb had the courage to look at facts, and the intellect to weigh such facts, and the will and the resolution to change them." Sadly, while she might not have been able to change the course of her protracted illness, she never lost her will or courage until the very end.
Azeb is survived by her husband, Fekede, and her two girls, Rahel and Aida.




In lieu of flowers, please support The Kalala Learning Village.

Developed and supported by the non-profit International Medical and Academic Alliance (IMAA), The Kalala Learning Village in Ethiopia is a community resource center where children and adults come to discover their natural talents, overcome poverty, free themselves from the bondage of diseases and harmful cultural traditions. The Kalala Learning Village brings together three key components: education, health promotion and skill enhancement via our Kindergarten through 8th grade primary school, clinic and several micro-industries. The mission of The Kalala Learning Village is to build a productive and healthy future for every child and to support the development of the surrounding community.
IMAA, P.O. Box 5, Loma Linda, CA 92354

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"I just read about Azeb in the Recorder, and I am so saddened by the news. She taught my son in Kindergarten at the Riverside SDA School. She was a..." Karen Kurtz (Ukiah, CA)

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