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{UAH} ‘Rotary International’s Sam Owori, 76, died of cardiac arrest’

'Rotary International's Sam Owori, 76, died of cardiac arrest'

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By Samuel Muwanguzi

In Summary: He was on the brink of being installed and inaugurated as the president of Rotary International for 2018-2019 at next year's convention in Toronto, Canada. He was declared president elect during the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia last June. Nearly 1000 Rotarians from Uganda had confirmed to attend the historical event in Toronto and had ordered the production of thousands of hand-held Ugandan flags to wave during the inauguration ceremony. Samuel Frobisher Owori, nearly 76, a Rotarian of unquestionable integrity had won the hearts of millions around the world; Rotarians, men, women, young, and old alike. He died of cardiac arrest Friday morning following a successful operation to remove a tumor from his left thigh at the Medical City Hospital in Dallas on Tuesday. His unexpected death at the threshold of the pinnacle of his service as a Rotarian has shocked the world to the core.  His infectious humility, proven selfless service record, and love for humanity are traits we should not transitorily celebrate but legacies we should aspire to immortalize. RIP, Samuel Frobisher Owori!

Some members of the late Sam Owori' family who were gathered at the home of his sister Deborah Nakirya Christie in Plano, Texas for a vigil on Sunday

Dallas, Texas—Details surrounding the unexpected death of Rotary International President-elect Samuel Frobisher Owori indicate that the immediate cause of his death was cardiac arrest, the EADM has learned. "While the surgery to remove the tumor from his left thigh was successful, Sam developed post-operative complications with his kidneys, lungs, and heart in the intensive care unit (ICU); experienced breathing difficulties and eventually succumbed to cardiac arrest," his younger sister, Deborah Nakirya Christie told the EADM at her home in Plano near Dallas, Texas in the presence of some family members on Sunday. "Despite several attempts to resuscitate him and to revive his heart beat through CPR, Sam never made it back," Deborah Nakirya Christie, a Registered Nurse and younger sister to the fallen Rotarian, speaking on behalf of the family told the EADM here Sunday.

Deborah Nakirya Christie, a registered nurse and younger sister to the fallen Rotarian Sam Owori.

Samuel Frobisher Owori, nearly 76, died Friday morning, July 14, 2017 at 6:00AM following an operation to remove a tumor from his left thigh at the Medical City Hospital Dallas, Texas last Tuesday. Both the younger sister and Norah Owori, the widow, were present in the room in the ICU when the Rotary icon breathed his last. Sam Owori was poised to begin his one-year term as Rotary's 108th president on July 1, 2018.

Sam Owori's widow, Nora Owori, his wife for nearly 40 years.

The late Sam Owori's elder brother Michael Okoth who lives in Vancouver, two sisters; Grace and Samali who live in Maryland and South Africa respectively, had all flown in to Texas to lend family support during the surgery and recovery of their sibling. It was never to be. There are all still devastated by the sudden demise of their beloved family pillar. The deceased's second born son, Bony Owori, has since joined the family from Pennsylvania, USA.

Sam Owori's elder brother, Michael Okoth, flew in from Vancouver before his young brother's surgery.

Ms. Deborah Nakirya Christie, who also works as a Registered Nurse at the Medical City Hospital Dallas said the late Sam Owori had been moved into the intensive care unit after the surgery where complications from his heart started to manifest. She told the EADM that the team of surgeons and nurses who worked on his brother is highly qualified and experienced professionals she works with at the same medical facility that did their best to save Sam's life. "But as Christians, we believe that it was the will of God to take our loving brother, husband, father, grandpa, friend, and a Rotarian of the highest integrity," she said.  Ms Deborah Nakirya Christie dismissed earlier reports which claimed that Sam had died of over bleeding as completely false.   Sam Owori's unexpected death at the threshold of the pinnacle of his service as a Rotarian shocked the world to the core.

The late Sam Owori in a photo with some members of his family in Uganda recently.

Incumbent Rotary International President Ian Riseley last Friday announced the death of his successor in waiting, Sam Owori, at a hospital in Texas, USA. "Sam had undergone some surgery in Texas that he had been planning for some time, and there were post-operative complications from which he couldn't recover. In this time of great loss, I ask you to keep Norah, the Owori family and Sam's millions of friends around the world in your thoughts," Mr. Riseley said in a statement posted on the Rotary International Web site. Sam Frobisher Owori was to be installed and inaugurated as the President of Rotary International in Toronto, Canada during the 2018 Rotary International convention next June.

Some of the family members of the late Owori (L-R) Deborah, Norah, Samali, Grace, Chris (Earl and Deborah's son), and Bony (Sam and Norah's second son)

A member of the Rotary Club of Kampala since 1978, Uganda, he was going to serve at the helm of this global humanitarian body for a one-year term from 2018-2019.  The Rotary International Presidency is the highest position in the global humanitarian organization that was going to bring to a deserved climax the nearly 40-year remarkable humanitarian service record of a man who had selflessly dedicated half of his lifetime to Rotary. Sam Frobisher Owori had risen to become the first Ugandan and second African to assume the presidency of Rotary International since it was founded over 110 years ago. The first African to head the global humanitarian organization from 2004-2015 was the renowned Nigerian attorney, Johnathan Majiyagbe. Sam Owori was unanimously nominated by the 2016-17 nominating committee for President of Rotary International for 2018-2019.

Some family members of Sam Owori with the EADM team soon after he was declared Rotary International president nominee on October 1st, 2016 at the residence of Deborah and Earl Christie in Plano, TX.

The EADM was present to witness, at the stroke of midnight on Saturday October 01, 2016, when Sam Owori became the official president nominee. Sam Owori, his wife Norah, and two of his siblings; Michael Okoth of Vancouver, and Grace of Maryland were both at hand in the same upscale residence of Deborah and Christie her husband in Plano, Texas to celebrate the official nomination of their trail-blazing brother. He was declared president elect during the recent Rotary International convention in Atlanta, Georgia last June.

The EADM team with some of the family members of the late Sam Owori in Plano, TX at the residence of Earl and Deborah Christie.

Nearly 1000 Rotarians from Uganda had confirmed to attend the historical event in Toronto and had ordered the production of thousands of hand-held Ugandan flags to wave during Owori's inauguration ceremony as the Rotarian International President. A Rotarian of unquestionable integrity had won the hearts of millions around the world; Rotarians, men, women, young, and old alike. His infectious humility, proven selfless service record, and love for humanity are traits we should not transitorily celebrate but legacies we should aspire to immortalize.

(L-R) Deborah, Norah, and Samali

Born in 1941, Sam Owori, who was to turn 76 this September, is survived by a widow, Norah Owori, his wife since 1979; three sons Adrian, Bony, and Dan; and three grandchildren. The third born of 14 children of the late Zephania Ochieng and Mary Ochieng, aka Mukyala; 7 girls and boys, Sam Owori is the third of his siblings to pass on. Sam Owori went to Kisoko Primary School before joining King's College Buddo for his Ordinary and advanced level education. He studied economics at Makerere University Kampala from where he was hired by Uganda Commercial Bank (UCB), an institution he diligently served for most of his working career in Uganda. Sam Owori also served as a director of Uganda Development Bank and as the executive director of the African Development Bank. By the time of his death, he was the chief executive officer of the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda. A professional banker, Sam Owori was an accomplished and rounded scholar and consultant with impeccable qualifications from top institutions around the world.

The fallen Rotary icon, Samuel Frobisher Owori.

During his one-year term as President of Rotary International, Sam Owori planned to ensure that the transformative work of Rotary was felt all over the world. As District Governor, Sam Owori spearheaded the exponential growth of Rotary clubs in Uganda   from nine to 90; engaged more women, youth; alumni; and community members. Sam Owori served in most high profile positions of Rotary International; a Benefactor of The Rotary Foundation; and together with his wife, Norah, were major donors and Paul Harris Fellows. Through his devotion to Rotary, Sam Owori showed the world that Rotary is business in service and how Rotary offers services is indeed everybody's business! RIP, Samuel Frobisher Owori!




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