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   Obituary - Dr. Lewis Odhiambo


Dr. Lewis Odhiambo

House: Hawke - Head of House 1970
Year: 1969-1970

It's with great sadness that I convey the passing away of Dr. Lewis Odhiambo on Thursday October 28th, 2004 of cancer of the liver. At the time of his death, Lewis, a career journalist, was the Deputy Managing Director of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.

Lewis is survived by wife Rosemary, and children Emma, Douglas, Shem, Tracy and Tessa.

May the Lord Rest His Soul in Peace.

Jack Asiyo (Grigg, 1969-1972)
31st Oct 2004

For The Late Dr. Lewis Odhiambo Omwanda (Osambla)
Head of Hawke House 1970

Dr. Lewis Odhiambo Omwanda was an inspiration to many. Born on the 14th March 1949 to Shem and Sara Omwanda of Hawinga, West Alego, Kaugagi, he was exceptionally bright from an early age. In his 56 years, this fact would manifest itself through numerous and remarkable achievements.

His early education was in Hawinga Primary and Unyolo Intermediate School, from where he proceeded to City High School where he wrote his ‘O’ Level examinations. He then proceeded to Nairobi School where he wrote his ‘A’ Levels.

In 1971, he joined the University of Nairobi where he obtained his degree in Literature in 1974.

Lewis’s exploits in academia and the school of life were not without the support of his late mother, Sara. She and his late father, Shem, were great sources of inspiration to him. He also drew a lot of inspiration from his siblings and friends, with whom he competed aggressively in class. They will recall his passion for life and great sense humour for years to come. Indeed, we enjoyed his humour to the last minute.

Lewis rose to become Deputy Managing Director of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. Here, he is remembered as an excellent Manager, master strategist and a great team player. He contributed greatly to the modernisation of the giant media house.

Before that, he had been the Director of the School of Journalism, University of Nairobi, where his leadership skills were appreciated by all members of the department. He was also a research associate with the Population Studies Centre, University of Western Ontario, Canada, from where he obtained a PhD in Social Demography. He also obtained MA in Sociology and in Journalism from the same university.

A Passionate educationist, Lewis has taught numerous courses at the School of Journalism. These include Social Research Methods, Specialised Writing, Project Design, Electronic Journalism and Public Relations among others. He also taught undergraduate courses in Introductory and Advanced Statistics, Social Research Methods and other courses at Brecia College, University of Western Ontario, Canada.

As a visiting Professor for three months every year at the Department of Sociology, University of Western Ontario since September 1994, he taught and conducted graduate seminars on Demographic Techniques, Multivariate, Statistical Modelling and other courses.

He was a coordinator at the African Council of Communication Education’s (ACCE) annual programme on research and evaluation training. He has also been a Programme Officer for Communications at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC); an Information Officer with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); an Editor with the Voice of Kenya (now KBC) and a Sub-editor and Leader-writer with the Daily Nation.

Lewis has undertaken a number of consultancies with the Centre for African Family Studies, UNICEF and UNAID, UNESCO, the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, the population Council and the UNDP among other reputable organizations. He has published widely in areas of communication, population and development, HIV and AIDS, Global Capitalism and Urbanisation, community health, culture, poverty and other global issues. He’s been granted a number of international honours and awards, including a research grant to study mass media coverage for the 1997 general elections in Kenya by USAID; National Award for Excellence in Undergraduate teaching by the Canadian University Staff Association, and an award for the best research paper on demographic measurement at the Learned Societies Conference in Montreal, Canada by the Canadian Association of Demographers.

Lewis was a member of various associations, for example the Canadian Association of Demographers, African Studies Association, Kenya Population Association and African Council for Communication Education.

However, it wasn’t all work and no play, for he was a regular member of the gym at the Nairobi Safari Club. He was an ardent football fan and a great supporter of the Real Madrid Football Club. He will be forever remembered for his distinctive laughter and larger-than-life personality. Lewis was a colossus.

Even though we will miss his humour and enthusiasm, we will cherish the good moments we had with him. Moreover, even though his support will be missed, we will draw inspiration from his own struggle for, and achievement of, greatness.

His wife Rosemary Akinyi Odhiambo and their children Emma, Douglas, Shem, Tracy and Sheila Odhiambo survive Lewis.

(sent to Webmaster by Jack Asiyo on 2nd Dec 2004)