Tributes paid to 'intelligent, humble, quiet and caring' family man

Tributes have been paid to former Lowestoft College lecturer Abraham Kwasi Kyereme - known as Joe to all who knew him.

Tributes have been paid to former Lowestoft College lecturer Abraham Kwasi Kyereme - known as Joe to all who knew him in Lowestoft. - Credit: The Kyereme family

Touching tributes have been paid to a popular college lecturer who left Ghana in the 1960s to start a new life in the UK.

Former Lowestoft College lecturer Abraham Kwasi Kyereme - known as Joe to all who knew him in Lowestoft - died peacefully earlier this month in Ghana, aged 86.

The son of a farmer who supplied cocoa beans to Cadbury’s, Mr Kyereme was born in 1935 in the village of Abesim in the Brong-Ahafo region of Ghana.

With the modest wealth his father had, he was able to afford to pay for Joe’s airfare to England and some years later for his wife Lucy.

After working in customs at the docks in Ghana’s capital Accra, Mr Kyereme left Ghana for the UK in 1962, aged 28.

His family said: "He boarded the plane with a souvenir bow and arrow across his shoulder which was taken from him until arrival by the cabin crew who thought he may hijack the plane!"

After initially living in Hull he shared accommodation with other Ghanaians and was educated through A-Levels, a BA (Hons) and finally a MSc in Economics from Hull College of Commerce while working on the railways and later as an auditor for Barclays Bank.

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Soon after he won a scholarship from Roehampton Institute London where he obtained a teaching qualification and relocated from Hull with his wife and newly born son to begin a career as a lecturer at Lowestoft College in 1974.

His family said: "Initially unsure of what it would be like, he was encouraged by his Ghanaian friends that Lowestoft although not culturally diverse at that time would be a nice, quiet and safe environment to bring up a family - so he thought they would try it for year.

"Upon arriving in Lowestoft they had very few belongings and little finance, but such was the welcoming nature of the town a local independent appliance store gave the family a cooker costing £80 and allowed them to pay it back when they had the money." 

A second hand bed was bought from the local rag and bone man, as Joe and Lucy had soon integrated well into the community, with two further sons adding to their family.

His sons said: "In his early years at the college, dad would spend his holidays working on alternate shifts to mum at Birds Eye factory while the other cared for us.

"The extra money went not only to support his immediate family, but also his extended family in Ghana."

Mr Kyereme worked at Lowestoft College for 20 years until his retirement in 1994.

In his later years he spent more time in Ghana where he had always dreamt of building his own house.

His family said: "When we were young dad would proudly show us architectural drawings of the house he wanted to have built one day.

"His dream eventually came true and not only did he build one for himself but a further two for his extended family."

He generously gave financial support throughout his life to family members in Ghana - including paying school tuition for many children and supporting others to become self-sufficient by helping them start their own businesses.

The family said: "Joe will be remembered as an intelligent yet humble, quiet and caring family person.

"He was a man of few words but the ones he spoke had great meaning and purpose."

His sons recalled: "He would often say to us 'always put your best foot forward' and 'don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can do today." 

Extremely knowledgeable about sport, Mr Kyereme spent a lot of his time supporting his three sons in their various sporting activities particularly football and athletics, volunteering as a timekeeper or field judge at athletic meetings across the region.

Whether it be Lowestoft Athletics Club or Pakefield Boys FC - who his sons represented -  Mr Kyereme was a regular attendee watching football on the weekends at Crown Meadow, Normanston Park and Walmer Road.

He also enjoyed socialising at the Suffolk Punch pub, enjoying several games of pool and in more recent years at Kirkley Bowls Club.

Mr Kyereme is survived by his wife Lucy, sons Kwasi, Kojo and Gyamfi as well as granddaughters Shanice, Mia and Grace.

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