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Catholic Voice
April 30, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 8   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Catholic Charities team reacts
to school tragedy

Migration, religious liberty on
US bishops' Vatican agenda

SPRED, where catechists, friends create a glimpse of heaven
Tragedy hits home for Chibuko family
Doris Chibuko, left, and her mother, Victoria Achu, on the Chibukos' wedding day
in Nigeria in April 2002.

Doris Chibuko's Catholic faith, shared by her husband and four daughters — ages 14, 8, 5 and 3 — is helping to sustain them in the aftermath of her death. Less than two months away from receiving the nursing degree she sought to help her family, Doris Chibuko was among the seven people killed April 2 at Oikos University in Oakland.

The 3-year-old gets up in the morning and asks Efanye Chibuko, "Daddy, where's Mommy?"

" 'Mommy went to Jesus,' that's all I can tell her," he said.

Chibuko works as a technician for AT&T, putting in many hours of overtime to support the family. He said he was working so much he was missing time with his family.

"She was feeling sorry for me," he said. "So she went to school." Doris Chibuko, who was a lawyer in her native Nigeria, started the program at Oikos University to become a licensed vocational nurse last July.

The transition from Nigeria to life in the East Bay had been challenging, Chibuko said. "The journey was long and tough," Chibuko said. Two years ago, Doris Chibuko became a U.S. citizen.

Mail donations to:
Doris Chibuko
Trust Fund

P.O. Box 3140
San Leandro, CA 94578
By Deposit:
Bank of America
Acct. Name: Trust Fund
of Doris Chibuko

Celebration of
Doris Chibuko's life
Funeral Mass
Time: April 30, 11 a.m.
Where: All Saints Church
Address: 22824 Second St., Hayward

They had many hopes and dreams for their family, he said, as he prepared to celebrate her life with family and friends in the Nigerian Ibo Catholic community. The Chibukos, who worship at All Saints Parish in Hayward, attended the monthly Nigerian Masses, as well as the parish's multicultural Masses and Sunday Masses.

Doris Chibuko was a woman of faith, her husband said. "Everybody has to go to church on Sunday," he said. "She is a strong believer in prayer."

Her community of friends and family were planning two gatherings, a traditional Nigerian wake keeping on April 28, and a funeral Mass two days later at All Saints.

Finding a hall large enough to host the traditional Nigerian wake keeping ceremony had been a major concern. The family was able to secure the ILWU Local 6 Hall. Chibuko said he expected 500 people for the night of prayer, music, dance and remembrance.

He has not been alone in recent days. "A lot of people from the Nigerian community have brought food to the house," he said.

A member of Catholic Charities of the East Bay's Crisis Response Team has been a presence, helping to fill out the paperwork from the victims assistance funds to help cover funeral costs.

The family has set up a memorial fund at Bank of America to help with the remainder of the costs of the funeral.

As Chibuko contemplates his future without his wife, he also knows he will need to take over care of the children. When she began her nursing school, Doris Chibuko asked her mother to come from Nigeria for a year to help with the children, two of whom are preschool-age. Her mother was already making plans to go home in July.

The eldest daughter is in high school, the next in elementary school. Doris Chibuko had just picked up a kindergarten packet for her 5-year-old.

Chibuko said everyday tasks, beginning with feeding the family, will need adjustment.

"She does everything for me," he said of his wife. He was also seeking food gift cards to the stores "my wife usually goes to ... Costco, Wal-Mart, Lucky."

"My wife really spoiled me," he said. "Now she's gone."

Doris Chibuko's colleagues at Villa Fairmont Mental Health Rehabilitation Center, where she worked part time, held a memorial service for her. Hearing the stories of the lives his wife touched in her work touched him deeply. "The way they talked about my wife, the good things she did, the ways she touched our lives," he said. "I am blessed to be married to such a lovely woman."

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