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 firstname.lastname@example.org.