His Excellency Rudolf vonBallmoos went up to the great beyond passing through the gates of the First United Methodist Church on Ashmun Street in a very well planned and organized state funeral held on Saturday January 9, 2016 The remains of His Excellency Rudolf P. vonBallmoos were laid to rest after a solemn funeral ceremony attended by Her Excellency the President and Vice President and Mrs.
Boakai, Associate Justices, Senators, Representatives, cabinet ministers, among several other government officials and members of the International Community. Former Interim President Dr. Amos Sawyer, Former chief Justice Cllr Henry Reed Cooper and all strata of the Liberian society joined the bereaved family to pay their last respect to a man who served his country with Pride and Passion and so well deserving of the last respect.
The P in the name was often used only by those who knew him so well from his child hood days. To most of us who knew him in his professional life that P meant planning for Perfection.
His Excellency Rudolf von Ballmoos can easily be described as a perfect diplomat with a “smooth” rough edge. Then the easy changes to complexity to understand the man and the diplomat. The rough edge comes in finely as he was in search of Perfection.
The strive for Perfection in service to His President lay beneath the surface of the existentialist and quintessential gentleman in him. His love and adoration for his President shone every time and everywhere and anywhere. Beyond the call of duty, which required his all, he offered his heart, and a great patriotic consciousness to his President 24 hours at her service.
He had a special very high level and reverent adoration for the President of the Republic of Liberia Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He was reappointed to the Post as Liberia’s Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana. His service to country and to the President requires memorialization. As a diplomat he epitomized and high emissary of the sovereign to this Republic to the Sovereign Head in Ghana, was a personal charge. As far as he was concerned, his duty, his assignment and his very being as Ambassador Extraordinary was to first serve the President as her viceroy and generally represent the Republic.
He had a very famous mother Agnes Nebo von Ballmoos, a house hold name long after she went to the celestial shores. Her fame in music and her stance on the things she believed were part of common folklore in the generation which Rudolph was very much a part of. The songs the University of Liberia Alumni Chorus sang in indigenous languages live long after her.
His love for his mother will be put in another realm elsewhere. His love for his daughter, his Angie and the children and his brother Dewit will also be put in separate categories. There are three other brothers of Ghanaian heritage and there is one “sister cousin” Abla Gedegbeku Williams. Two sister’s children but they grew up as Rudolf, Dewitt and Abla. Then there were those he called dearly, his friends and you asked two thirds of those who went to pay their last respect the Ambassador or Rudolf was their buddy.
His father, Mr. Rudolf vonBallmoos of Swiss German Ghanaian decent, was a tall thin European Gentleman. He lived and loved Africa and passed away last year and his soul rest peacefully in Accra.
The Father Mr. Rudolf vonBallmoos married this stoic African Liberian brain of a woman Agnes Nebo and the union was blessed with two boys Rudolf and Dewitt. Father Von Ballmoos would later settle in Ghana as an icon in the insurance industry as owner of one of the largest Private Insurance Company, Provident, In Ghana.
There were many P’s in his life. Perhaps the reason Perfection in precision planning came effortlessly once it was a high matter of state, may have been in the pancreas of his soul and ethos. It did not take Ambassador Rudolf, more than a minute after he receives a call or any form of communication that the President would be coming to Accra. He clears everything from his path from the moment Monrovia informs Accra that Her Excellency would be in Accra.
Be it a brief stopover, a night or a state visit.
He moved mountains, dropped a few curse words to anything that showed characteristics of moron like tendencies. And for those whose comprehension levels were deemed to be suspect only a look, just the look..that mean look…would help that being either dilate their pupils or varnish into thin air. At the end of it all once order and perfection for that reception was accomplished a perfect smile lit his face.The tongue was kind to those who were kind, civilized, well mannered, and functionaries of state for who it was required by duty and office to be kind to. A lashing was deemed to be deserving for an insolent fool. As they say he suffered fools gladly. One story the Ambassador relished on the tongue lashing scale was for a commoner who when his President had not yet ascended to high office, she and he, tolerated him calling her by first name.Ellen this or Ellen that.. Come January 2006 and thereafter this mere mortal had the misfortune of making an inquiry to Amb..Oh My broda how is Ellen doing in Liberia Now.. It was a combination of looks and tongue moving at the speed of lighting..no brakes no cover..fire..Listen Mr. whatever name you call yourself..never you refer to my president by her first name. do I ask you for John your president..I hope you heard me..never you do that again. End conversation end presence On getting work do and making much of any given situation, Here is a man with all the wealth of experience and family upbringing and a famous but quiet father who was well situated in the high society of Ghanaian establishment, could have joined the complaining board on international civil servants to see everything fall in place before he set out to do government business of making representation abroad. He set out to make a palace as an embassy even when all eyes could see that there was no money around to have a well established embassy in Accra.
The piece of prime property in the airport residential area designated for Liberia’s embassy in Accra only had a boy’s quarter erected on it. Rudolph Van Balmoos the man to conquer his environment turned the quarter into a functioning building to receive any official of government. Perhaps, just perhaps he may have felt, he left undone the plans for reciprocal arrangements which would see both countries providing the appropriate legal instruments for chancery land in Ghana and Liberia. One day his well laid out design and drawing will be erected for Liberia’s flag to fly high amongst the modern edifices in the plushness of the Airport residential and diplomatic area of Accra Ghana.
Amongst his many little things achieved, Amb. Rudolph P Van balmoos organized visitations of trade mission in both Ghana and Liberia. He hosted Her Excellency the President on official, state as well as when Ghana played host to various regional meetings which required the presence of the President.
Witness Rudolph the man with the gentle soul, kind hearted and warm …See him dotting over Angie’s Michael and Esi..visit them at home and see him clowning with them..They had a good father in him…I did not get a chance to see him in the “Obroni” Land, at the Court of St James in England, but he had ensured that the Children were enrolled in very good schools as he would say to get proper schooling to speak well and be well bred.
I happened to be around once in Accra when Nicole his daughter and princess was visiting…He made sure everyone knew that was his princess …Except the Castle needed or summoned him or Monrovia office or His President was calling, Amb.’s daughter was in town. And You better know that..And He paid attention to her.
When high ranking government offices and friends passed or stopped over it was his duty to be of service. Some of us who had lived there, relished some particular local dishes, like “gari fortoh” or “yorkoh Gari ” with beans and plantain. We made it joy lunch to eat”street”food on civilized diplomatic plates in the office at lunch time whenever we met in Accra.
In later life, another P. Pain came in various fashions but he took them in strides. He maneuvered around or strutted when what we call the rich man’s sickness gouts pinched his nerves on his feet..he found a way to walk slowly in pain but never letting you know it was pain rather it was like he would wink with that wicked smile and say its “the diplomats stride” .
Excellency, heaven must be missing their chief of protocol cause God the father looked around and realized he needed some order around his kingdom..if he had asked Madam President, she would have said not right now, if he had asked Angie and she being so polite to be politically and protocolloy correct, she would have turned to Eis and Michael, if he had asked Nicole, she would roll her eyes looking and would have been asking you back dear Lord what is it you want with her Dad..and if he had asked bro Dewitt he would have laughed and said you joking ehn Papa God.. Ma goo goo broda..Pee lease. So you eased his pain and lifted him up to you, and Rudolph left us all with that ever charming “wicked laughter” and warm smile…Puu deh. .Bye..
Good bye to a near perfectionist, a planner, a real and true patriot and a servant leader.