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Newton Ekpo, Community and Religious Leader

Former city Multicultural Committee member passed away Sunday.

Newton Steve Ekpo, a leader in the Sacramento-area African community and former member of the City of Elk Grove's Multicultural Committee, passed away Sunday. He was 60 years old.

Ekpo suffered from cancer towards the end of his life, but family and friends said that didn't stop him from continuing to be involved in the Elk Grove community and at Sacramento's Parkway Church of Christ, where he was a family life minister.

"My dad never ever slowed down," said Ekpo's daughter, Elizabeth Ekpo. "He cared about people so much that even when he had nothing, he was still giving."

Elk Grove City Councilmember Steve Detrick said Ekpo, who was born in Nigeria, was a driving force behind the establishment of the Multicultural Committee last year. The Committee is planning a multicultural festival for later this year and works to raise awareness about Elk Grove's diversity.

"He was always looking for ways that he could better the community by mentoring people, from small children though adults," said Detrick.

Detrick said the two began working on the committee three years ago after collaborating on fatherhood conferences that drew a broad cross-section of Elk Grovians. "[Ekpo] believed that if you don't have good husbands and fathers, it's the deterioration of our society," Detrick said.

A social worker for Sacramento County Child Protective Services, Ekpo also ran his own counseling business, in which he helped immigrant families adjust to life in the United States. He co-founded the Sacramento Association of Nigerians, served as president of the African Christian Fellowship's Sacramento chapter and was a member of the Rotary Club of Elk Grove, according to a statement from his family.

Ekpo is survived by his wife, Lucy Ekpo, children Lloyd, Elizabeth, Elaine and Estelle Ekpo, and grandchildren Esther and Micah Ekpo.

A memorial service will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by a traditional Nigerian celebration of life ceremony at 6:00 p.m. Both events will be held at Parkway Church of Christ, 5511 Tangerine Ave, Sacramento. For more details about the services and how to donate to a memorial fund for Ekpo's family, visit the church's website or email elizabeth-ekpo@ouhsc.edu.

Connie Conley February 29, 2012 at 08:45 PM
I had the honor of working with Newton on the Fatherhood Conference. In designing the flyer and working on the public relations, to every detail of the conference, he put his heart and soul into the conference. He was so proud that day. Newton saw his vision for our community come to be: The Diversity Commission. Newton moved one a small part of the world we call Elk Grove, a city he loved and where he stood. “Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills -- against misery, against ignorance, or injustice and violence. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32 year old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. ‘Give me a place to stand,’ said Archimedes, ‘and I will move the world.’ These men moved the world, and so can we all.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy
stevina evuleocha March 01, 2012 at 12:18 AM
This has really been a shocker for me! I last saw Newton at the commemoration of a Nigeria @ 50 event @ CSUS hosted by Prof. Uwazie. As is his custom, he was quite preoccupied by the community implications of the panel discussions, and was already proposing ways forward. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have not had another chance to speak with him since the fall of 2010:(( I wish to offer heartfelt condolences to the Ekpo family, the Nigerian Community in Sacramento, and the extended Elk Grove community of which he was an active member. I have no doubt in my mind that right at this moment, Newton is community organizing, while offering counsel to families in need even as a newbie in heaven. Adieu Brother Newton! -Uche Evuleocha (Dublin CA)
Steve Detrick March 01, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Newton, Thank you for your friendship over the last decade! You have made me a better man, husband, father and community leader! I will never forget your wonderful smile and positive outlook on life! I will carry a piece of you in my heart and spirit the rest of my life!
Chris Nwakobi March 01, 2012 at 11:04 PM
I was so shocked to hear that Newton has gone to meet his maker.I have known Newton and his family for over 20 years. Newton was a True Nigerian and a good citizen of his adopted country. Newto involvement in community affairs crossed all ethnic boundaries. He was the founding President of Sacramento Association of Nigerians (SAN). Newton was very active in the community. Until the time of death, he lived his life in the worship and praise of God and was ever ready to meet God. May God grant his wife, Lucy, and the children the strength to carry on and may Newton's soul rest in peace. There is a Cherokee saying: 'When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoiced.' Newton is rejoicing and the world is crying!
Beulah Iroegbu March 02, 2012 at 11:37 AM
I have known Minister Ekpo for.almost 29 years. We have worked together on several situations when the need arises for us to provide service to community members. He was selfless in service and did all with an infectious smile on his face. There is always a cheering word along side a heartwarming joke. He taught us to be servants and to be involved. You will surely be missed. A true christain and a loving husband. Rest peacefully.

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