February 16, 1947 - November 16, 2021
IN REMEMBRANCE OF REVEREND ENITAN OLUSEGUN BEREOLA Reverend Enitan Olusegun Olaolu Abayomi Bereola was born in Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa on February 16, 1947, to the late Chief Emmanuel Jeremiah Bereola, and the late Mrs. Omotayo Bolajoko Aina Bereola. The fourth of eight children and last son conceived of this union, Rev. Olu was born during a tumultuous period for his father, and was referred to as Chief Emmanuel’s “good luck child.” Enitan, known as Olu, and later affectionately known as Reverend Olu, grew up in a Christian home and attended Christian schools, including a boarding high school on the outskirts of Ibadan, Nigeria. In school, he acted in several plays, including Julius Caesar, Macbeth, A Man for All Seasons, and Death of a Salesman. Growing up, the Bereola house was filled with music—his father played the organ, and his paternal uncle played the banjo at their home and with a variety show on local TV networks. As a teenager, Rev. Olu was known for his parties. He would go on to hone this reputation in adult life where people would still talk about the parties, he threw decades after the fact. After both his parents passed away one month apart, and while his older brother, John, was a graduate student at Stanford University in the United States, Rev. Olu and his sister, Bolaji, told John they wanted to come to the US to further their education and John made arrangements. In January 1967, Rev. Olu emigrated to the US together with his sister on a student visa. With John, they rented a house in South Palo Alto, California and Olu attended the College of San Mateo. Shortly after arriving in California, Rev. Olu was introduced by John to Adebiyi Adedipe who was also a graduate student at Stanford. For the next 55 years, Olu and “Uncle Ade” became “brothers of another mother” for life. At the College of San Mateo, Rev. Olu flourished and was honored to serve as Student Body Vice President, Chairman of the Student-Faculty Policy Making Committee, member of the Judicial Council, and more. He was also All-American on the Men’s Soccer Team and continued to enjoy playing soccer well into adulthood. Rev. Olu enjoyed his college experience so much that when it was time to go, he wished he could stay longer. After earning his Associate’s Degree from the College of San Mateo, Rev. Olu attended San Jose State University where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree and majored in Mass Communications (Newspaper, Radio, Television Journalism), and minored in Drama. Thereafter, he started graduate school at San Jose State in the drama department with dreams of becoming a movie producer/ director. However, he did not feel the film department was strong enough and only completed one year. While at San Jose State, Rev. Olu worked as a newspaper reporter for the University, as well as an assistant editor for the Ravenswood Post with a reporting area that spanned Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City. He also served as a reporter for the Menlo-Atherton Recorder, in Menlo Park, and did television and radio work for the University studio. During his time as a newspaper reporter, he interviewed many famous subjects, including Muhammad Ali, Smokey Robinson, and Al Green, and as one of the perks of the job, he always had free tickets to see the stars who came to the Bay Area to perform at the Circle Star Theater, in San Carlos, California, such as Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross and The Supremes, and the Jackson 5. He had so many tickets that he would beg some of his friends to take them. While in college Rev. Olu met and dated Gwynne Jackson (Toney) and the two were married in 1972. From this union, they were blessed with three wonderful children: daughter Omotayo Omonike (Nikke) in 1977; son Olufemi Oluremi (Remi) in 1980; and son Enitan Olusegun Olaolu Abayomi II in 1982. In the mid-1970s, while living in the South Bay, Rev. Olu opened a record store and photo studio—G&O Photos and Records on Willow Road in Menlo Park. Thereafter, in 1978, Rev. Olu and Uncle Ade started Impex Industries Corporation, a chemical distributing company, while he was also working for the newspapers. Impex was the only minority-owned company in the field at the time. Later, when Impex branched off internationally, Rev. Olu started Berus Industries Corporation, which shared office space with Uncle Ade and Impex Industries. During that time, Rev. Olu met Gail Brewster, a second-year law student who was researching information for a law review article on African-American companies doing business in Nigeria and had been referred to Impex Industries by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Rev. Olu thought she did such a good job interviewing him and his brother/business partner, Uncle Ade, that he subsequently hired her to work with him for a time. In 1981, Rev. Olu was in a fire accident in his home and suffered life-threatening second and third-degree burns over one side of his body. He was hospitalized for six months and had to learn to walk again. Rev. Larry Fewell, a former NASA scientist who had become a minister, heard Rev. Olu was in the hospital and visited him daily, even though they didn’t attend the same church and hadn’t known each other previously. Rev. Fewell would say to Rev. Olu when he got well, he should visit Emmanuel Baptist Church. As a result of that seed being planted, as well as the love and compassion demonstrated by Rev. Fewell, Rev. Olu began to look forward to getting better and going to Emmanuel to thank Rev. Fewell and the church. In later years, Rev. Olu would always say, “Whenever my story is told anywhere, Rev. Fewell is going to be featured in it.” By the grace of God, Rev. Olu got better, visited Emmanuel, and was led into a deeper relationship with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Rev. Olu rededicated his life to Christ and became a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church. Subsequently, he received his call into the ministry of the Gospel and attended Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California, where he studied in the Masters in Theology and Masters in Religious Education programs. On April 3, 1988, Rev. Olu was ordained at Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Jose. Later, Rev. Olu served as an associate minister at Fremont Bible Fellowship in Fremont, California for several years, under the leadership of Pastor Ray Jones. For many decades before and after being called into the ministry, Rev. Olu was a realtor and a mortgage broker. He sold many homes throughout the Bay Area, often to first-time home buyers, and helped package the loans for them. In 1993, Rev. Olu married his soulmate, the Honorable Judge Gail Brewster Bereola, whom he always referred to as his "gift from God,” throughout their marriage. From this union, they were blessed with their beautiful daughter: Abigail Joy Olutoyin Ibukunolu Bereola. The family joined the Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, California, where Rev. Olu continued his zealous service in the ministry. On October 22, 2000, Rev. Olu was ordained at Allen Temple Baptist Church by former Senior Pastor Reverend Doctor J. Alfred Smith, Sr. (Ret.), currently Pastor Emeritus. As an associate minister at Allen Temple, for many, many years Rev. Olu served along with Pastor Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. (Ret.) co-teaching the Pastor’s Thursday Night Bible Study class; and for 10 years thereafter, he also co-taught the class with former Senior Pastor (Ret.), Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Jr. After residing in the United States for 27 years, Rev. Olu decided to become an American citizen. He was very proud and filled with joy on the day he was sworn in as a citizen. Rev. Olu loved to discuss politics, and upon becoming a US citizen, he exercised his right to vote in every election, save one. It was important to him to be informed about the candidates and the issues, and he relished discussing, debating, encouraging, and attempting to sway family members and others to vote for or against a particular candidate or specific issue with fervor. Rev. Olu was a man of great zeal and compassion, and he was an encourager. He was kind, respectful, and generous to a fault. He would not hesitate to give the jacket off his back or the shoes off his feet, in a heartbeat, to anyone needing any of those items. To those who knew him up close, he was a gentleman's gentleman. Rev. Olu always said, “to know him was to never forget him.” As a minister, Rev. Olu loved to visit people who were sick and shut-in in their homes, the hospital, or in convalescent care to encourage them, pray for and with them, and to serve holy communion to them on First Sundays. For many years, Rev. Olu served as Allen Temple’s Congregational Care Leader with the Congregational Care Ministry, along with Rev. Jesse Land. He carried out the same services, in addition to officiating at funerals, and overseeing the scheduling and administration of visitation and service of communion in the community and to the sick and shut-in at home and the hospitals by the deacons, deaconesses, and clergy. In 2016, Rev. Olu became a valued member of the Alameda County Care Alliance (ACCA), a partnership between Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and a consortium of 42 churches in and around Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties, and other health, faith, and community organizations. Rev. Olu served as a Care Navigator assisting and providing resources to people with chronic, serious, advanced, and end-of-life illnesses, as well as their caregivers. Rev. Olu fervently educated people about end-of-life palliative care and the importance of completing Advance Directives for Healthcare to avoid “family drama” at the end stages of one’s life. He also reviewed, edited, and contributed to the development and completion of the ACCA Training Curriculum Guide. Rev. Olu loved Oakland, California, for its diversity and Mediterranean climate. He always said, “living in Oakland is the closest one can get to heaven without actually going to heaven.” Rev. Olu and his wife Judge Gail loved to travel with each other and loved “Smooth Jazz” cruises. Fortunately, he and Gail were blessed to travel extensively and often to various parts of Mexico, Canada, Panama, and the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Bermuda, Jamaica, Curacao, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Turks & Caicos, the US Virgin Islands, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and to numerous states, cities, and towns within the United States. Rev. Olu especially loved South Africa and he and Gail had discussed purchasing property and living there and in the U.S. for part of each year, using South Africa as a launchpad to travel up the African continent, exploring a few countries at a time. Fortunately, from mid-January through mid-February 2020, Rev. Olu and his wife were blessed to travel to their beloved South Africa once again. While there, they celebrated his February birthday and their 27th Valentine’s Day wedding anniversary. It was truly a trip of a lifetime, and they often discussed the fabulous time they had together and their plans to return, God willing. Wherever they traveled, Rev. Olu engaged people by talking with them about their country and culture, and by attempting to speak their language. While also being known for his catchphrases and expansive vocabulary, he was a man of great curiosity who was able to speak to whomever he met. This aspect of his personality endeared him to others. In the early morning of Tuesday, November 16, 2021, Rev. Enitan Olu Bereola peacefully transitioned from this earthly life. There to greet him were his parents, Chief Emmanuel Jeremiah Bereola and Mrs. Omotayo Bolajoko Aina Bereola; his sisters, Mrs. Florence Obayomi Ajisafe, Mrs. Stella Mobolaji Lassey, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Adeline Ilori-Faboro, and Ms. Dorcas Abioye Bereola; his brothers, Mr. Alfred Bamidele Bereola and Dr. John Oluremi Bereola; and many beloved family members and friends. He will live on forever in the hearts and minds of all who knew him. Rev. Olu was especially grateful to God for putting certain people in his life who pastored, nurtured, prayed, and encouraged him, and lovingly chastised him when he needed it. Even before his passing, he wanted to be sure to thank the late Rev. Larry Fewell and Sis. Evelyn Fewell; Rev. Elgia (Jay) Wells and Sister Caroline Wells; Rev. Dr. Katherine Lorraine Gooden; Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith Sr. and Rev. Bernestine Smith; Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith Jr. and Sister Elaine Smith; Rev. Vickia Brinkley; Rev. Jesse Land and Sister Connie Land; and Trustee Ken Roberts and Rev. Dale Roberts for their shepherd’s hearts, filled with the milk of human kindness. Rev. Olu leaves to cherish his memory: his beloved wife of 28 years, Judge Gail Bereola; his children, Nikke Bereola (Sheri), Remi Bereola (Angela), Enitan Bereola (Letisha), and Abigail Bereola; his grandchildren, Daijon Allijah, Adanya Grace, Kaden Justice, Miles Berkeley, and Ava Sky; his sister Bose Onyemem (George); his chosen brother of 55 years, Adebiyi (Ade) Adedipe; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, friends, and loved ones who adored him.
IN REMEMBRANCE OF REVEREND ENITAN OLUSEGUN BEREOLA Reverend Enitan Olusegun Olaolu Abayomi Bereola was born in Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa on February 16, 1947, to the late Chief Emmanuel Jeremiah Bereola, and the late Mrs. Omotayo Bolajoko... View Obituary & Service Information
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IN REMEMBRANCE OF REVEREND ENITAN OLUSEGUN BEREOLA
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