The Honourable Alexander Poley Gbayee, Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Liberia to Chicago and the Midwest United States succumbed to complications from cancer at the University of Chicago Hospital Saturday, August 28, 2021 at 4:25 pm. It is with heavy hearts, deep sorrow and great loss, the Gbayee, Abi-Rached, Pokolo and Johnson families, joined by the Liberian Community of Chicago share the news of his passing. The Chicago Tribune profiled Gbayee’s work in a 1990 article titled, Liberian Consul is a do-it-yourself job.
Gbayee was born unto Tarbo and Nyanda Gbayee in Doloken Village, Maryland County, Republic of Liberia. Young Alex, or Poley, as he was affectionately called by friends and acquaintances, began his early education in Tugbaken, Maryland County, Republic of Liberia, where he attended the M.M. Jackson Mission School. In 1952, he accompanied his Missionary Mother, Martha Barber, to Chicago, Illinois, to begin a new life. An avid sportsman in his formative years, Young Alex/Poley, excelled in football (known as soccer in these parts) and high jump. Following completion of elementary and high school in Chicago, this promising young Liberian was accepted at Wheaton College where he read Anthropology and Sociology, graduating therefrom in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts. Still thirsty for self-improvement, Gbayee, in 1973, obtained a Master of Arts in Education from Loyola University in Chicago.
Though serving from 1968-1977 as an instructor at the YWCA (Woodlawn), and conducting workshops at various high schools and colleges in the Chicago area, Gbayee began his consular sojourn under Dr. William Jones, then Liberia’s Honorary Consul General to Chicago and Midwest United States.
Following Dr.Jones’ passing, Gbayee was duly commissioned and served Liberians and non-Liberians alike, always fostering pride in his Liberianess. Many careers were begun through the instrumentality of Gbayee whose home was a welcoming oasis to anybody needing his assistance for a few minutes, hours, days, or months.
A devout Christian who passed judgment on nobody, Gbayee was a loyal member of Freedom Temple Church of God in Christ of Chicago. He was a member of numerous boards: Founder and Chair of Liberian Emergency Relief Fund, Founder and Board Member of the Peace and Stability in Liberia, Inc., Advisory Board Member of the DuSable Museum of African American History, Board Member of the Continental African Chamber of Commerce, Chicago and African International House. His crowning achievement was as founder and Chair of the Liberian Hope Foundation whose aim is to construct a technical institution in his home county of Maryland, Liberia, to better prepare Liberia’s youth for the challenging future.
Years earlier, Honourable Gbayee made a singular impact on the lives of twenty-five young Liberians when he secured scholarships for them to study at Chicago State University. Today, many of those Liberians are making their contributions to humankind in sundry occupations.
The Honourable Alexander Poley Gbayee is survived by his devoted wife of nearly fifty years, Mrs.Idella Musu Abi- Rached Gbayee, his brother-in-law and surrogate son, William. G. Abi-Rached, Sr. (Josephine), Florrie Gittens (Chris), nephews and nieces: Saydee Pokolo, Sr. (Antoinette), Cerue Bia (Lorenzo), Rodney Abi-Rached, Sr., Adib Abi-Rached (Thelma), Dekontee Boley George (Arthur), William Gibson (Nyweh), Willma Abi-Rached, Sarah Abi-Rached, William Abi- Rached, Jr., Blessings K. Pokolo,
Elizabeth Annie Pokolo, Sandee Praise Pokolo, Saydee Pokolo, Jr., Shirleyann Faith Bia, Helen Abi-Rached, Rod- ney Abi-Rached, Jr., Prayer Abi-Rached, Lesma George, Adell Nyanda Abi-Rached, Adib Abi-Rached, Jr., Sam Bo- ley, Jr., Poley Boley, Quallier Boley, cousins, grandnieces and nephews, the Karluway family, his Freedom Temple Church of God in Christ family, the twenty-three students, Liberian Communities in Illinois and other Mid-West States, friends and family.