John Ifekoyi Atebata, 67, passed away in Provo, Utah on October 22, 2019. He was born on May 25, 1952 in Evboesi in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria to Mr. and Mrs. Oahimijie Atebata. He married Theresa Ibadin in April 1978 and they had eight (8) children. She preceded him in death on August 14, 2002. Following the dedication of the Aba Nigeria Temple in 2005, Theresa was sealed to John for time and all eternity. In 2009, John married Joyce Ibezim and they were sealed together in the Aba Nigeria Temple.
John was a civil servant for the Nigerian government. He first worked at the Center for Democratic Studies, Abuja before his transfer to the Federal Road Safety Commission, Abuja; both Federal Government Agencies. He was in the services of the Nigerian government from December 1990 till his retirement on May 25, 2012 when he turned 60 years.
He was an excellent father. Upon the passing of his beloved wife in 2002, John singlehandedly made sure all his 8 children went to the University. Besides ensuring that his children gained secular knowledge, John ensured he taught his children the principles of the gospel at home during family home evenings and at regular scripture study morning and night. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and served in several callings in the church including but not limited to home teacher, Elders’ Quorum President, High Counselor, High Priest and Branch President. In 2013, John served a full-time mission with his wife Joyce in the Aba Nigeria Temple.
John was one of the Pioneers of the Church in Nigeria. He joined the Church in Benin City, Edo State, in 1988 when the Church was barely 10 years old in Nigeria. When he got a job in 1990 and had to move to Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria where there was no presence of the Church at the time, John got the permission of the then Elder Washburn of the Seventy and President Wilson formerly of the Nigeria Aba Mission to start a unit of the Church. John started the church in his living room with his wife Theresa and their children. Today, the Church in Abuja has three Stakes of Zion.
John was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In 1988 when he joined the Church, he was fired by the Christian body he worked for because they thought he had joined a Cult. When he started the Church in his living room, John faced the threat of losing his job again. Regardless of his many persecutions, he never wavered. He was a man of great faith and commitment who loved the Lord and served him till his last breath.
John is survived by his wife Joyce, eight (8) children: Douglas Atebata of Provo, Utah; Omonigho Oaikhena (nee Atebata) of London, England; Faith Ekhator (nee Atebata) of Rivers State, Nigeria; Judith Quincy-Abah (nee Atebata) of Provo, Utah; Patience Atebata of Vineyard, Utah; Ofure Atebata of Spokane, Washington; Blessing Atebata of Rivers State, Nigeria; Sarah Atebata of Lehi, Utah; and Nine (9) grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Theresa whom he fondly called “Tessy”.
Funeral services will be held Thursday November 7, 2019 at 11.00am to 12 noon in the Provo Peak 4th ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints located at 667 N 600 E, Provo, Utah. A viewing for family and friends will be held same day and same venue from 10.00am to 10.45am just prior to the funeral service. Interment will be in the Provo Cemetery immediately after the funeral service.