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FAREWELL: Departed Rotarian Sam Owori Praised for Selfless Service

The casket containing the body of the late Sam Owori is escorted by police pallbearers at St. Paul's Cathedral Namirembe on Thursday
The casket containing the body of the late Sam Owori is escorted by police pallbearers at St. Paul's Cathedral Namirembe on Thursday

A large congregation of members of Rotary club, government officials, and the corporate fraternity on Thursday eulogized departed President elect of Rotary International, Sam Frobisher Owori who died two weeks ago in the U.S.

At a requiem service held at St. Paul’s Cathedral Namirembe, Rotary which Owori had served for 39 years mourned the loss of a leader and a man who invested his life into humanitarian service.

Having joined Rotary in 1978, Owori, a former Executive Director of the African Development Bank rose through various positions of leadership and consequently established a strong rooting of Rotary in Uganda.

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The global voluntary organization has since championed the fight against polio, cancer, malaria as well as investing in good sanitation and quality education across the country.

Speaking at the requiem service on Thursday, Prof. Charles Olweny who introduced Owori to Rotary 39 years ago described him as a gallant fighter, perfectionist, mentor and icon.

“We all loved Sam. We ought to take stock of the legacy he has left and ensure his wishes are fulfilled,” Prof. Olweny told mourners.

“I invited Sam to join Rotary in 1978 and it took him 6 months to join. He is the only person I invited to Rotary. Eventually, he became District Governor and President.”

Olweny revealed that Owori died of multiple organ failures including the liver, lungs and kidneys which resulted into massive bleeding and later death. He was 76 when he died.

Owori is survived by a wife, Agnes Nora Owori and three sons.

In her eulogy, the widow said the deceased was a good husband with whom she lived happily.

“I have no regrets. What bound us together was the love for God, praying and reading the word together,” Nora said.

“He had a magnetic field around him that attracted people around him and to love him.”

But she appealed to the Rotary fraternity in Uganda and world over to move on despite Owori’s demise, saying: “Sam alone wasn’t Rotary. He was just a part of it. So, let’s move on and serve humanity.”

Her sons Stephen and Bonny celebrated their late father as having been unique in many ways, caring and somebody who treated everybody with dignity, irrespective of their social status.

Owori's sons Stephen (L) and Bonny delivering their eulogy during Thursday's service

Owori’s sons Stephen (L) and Bonny delivering their eulogy during Thursday’s service

The government equally paid tribute to Owori’s contribution to the development of the country through his service in Rotary and other organizations.

He served as Director of; Uganda Development Bank, Post Bank Uganda Ltd and Managing Director for defunct Uganda Commercial Bank.

Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, the government Chief Whip in her speech lauded Owori for exhibiting impeccable integrity and patriotism for his country.

“No wonder, the President directed us to organize an official sendoff that befitted Sam. His tour of duty was put on the Hansard of Parliament on Tuesday. There are few people who are brought to Parliament when they die,” Nankabirwa said.

Thursday’s service at Namirembe cathedral was attended by among others; Rotary International Vice President Hendreen Dean Rohrs, Nnabagereka of Buganda Sylvia Nagginda, former Prime Minister Apollo Nsibambi, Governor Bank of Uganda Tumusiime Mutebile and State Minister of Health for General Duties Hon. Sarah Opendi.

 L-R: Former Prime Minister of Uganda Apollo Nsibambi, Nora Owori (widow to the late), Nnabagereka of Buganda Sylvia Nagginda and Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa exiting the church after service.

L-R: Former Prime Minister of Uganda Apollo Nsibambi, Nora Owori (widow to the late), Nnabagereka of Buganda Sylvia Nagginda and Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa exiting the church after service.

 Rotary International's Director Yinka Babalola (L) and Vice President Hendreen Dean Rohrs (R) lay their wreath on the casket

Rotary International’s Director Yinka Babalola (L) and Vice President Hendreen Dean Rohrs (R) lay their wreath on the casket

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