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Yetunde Taiwo - Online Memorial Website

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Yetunde Taiwo
Born in Nigeria
55 years
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Life story
August 6, 1953
Born on August 6, 1953.
Dr. Yetunde Taiwo was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria on August 6th 1956 to David Oke Babalola Sokunbi and Grace Ebun Sokunbi. The family soon moved to Owerri, Nigeria after David Sokunbi joined the Shell-BP Oil Company that was developing the first oil fields in Nigeria. One morning in Owerri, Yetunde wandered out of the backyard one morning into an adjacent area, considerable
consternation in the local community who immediately set up a community-wide search that resulted in her being found safe and sound the next morning.

She had her elementary school education at the Shell Primary School in Umukurose, Port Harcourt and in 1967 was admitted to her mother’s alma mater, one of the top boarding schools for girls in Nigeria, Queen’s School, Ede. She was a member of the last class to be admitted to the Ede campus and one of
the first set of students to start at the new campus of the school at Queen’s School, Ibadan. It was at Queen’s School, Ibadan that she committed her life to Christ. It was also here that she formed many of the enduring, life-long relationships that she treasured very dearly. Her brothers remember the
Queen’s School days for her arrivals home on vacation with luggage full of cans of “chuk-chuk and gurudi” – delicious, home-made coconut flavoured cookies that were a specialty of the Queen’s School kitchens.

In 1970, when she was barely 14 years old, her mother died suddenly, leaving behind Yetunde, her older brother Olufemi and three younger brothers, Dele, Adebola, and Adebayo. While the family was fortunate to have a dutiful and devoted father and a doting maternal grandmother who together
provided a warm and nurturing environment, it was Yetunde who, at that tender age, became the mother figure for her younger siblings, a role she continued to play to the fullest every single day until her illness and death.

She was admitted to the University of Ibadan to study Pharmacology in 1973, graduating in 1976 with a B.Sc with Second Class Upper Division Honours. She subsequently entered the Ph.D program in the same Department and received her Ph.D in Pharmacology in June 1981 as the top student in her class.

She married Abiola Abioye Taiwo on July 26, 1980 and they both worked as Graduate Assistants in the University of Ibadan and later, for Abiola, as Assistant Lecturer. In late 1981, Abiola left Nigeria for Manchester University in the UK where Abiola had been admitted for post-graduate studies in an Engineering department. Yetunde and infant son Ibukun later joined Abiola. After a brief stay in Manchester, they moved to the USA in 1982 after Abiola transferred to UC Berkeley. While in Berkeley they had two more children, a daughter Ebun on October 18, 1982 and their second son Olufemi on January 3, 1990.

Following their arrival in California, she started post-doctoral training in the Department of Neurology/Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, one of the world's leading centers of health sciences research, patient care, and education, to which she was later appointed as a member of the Research Faculty. In 1991, she joined Procter and Gamble Pharmaceuticals where she rose through the ranks of Senior Scientist, Project Leader, Section Head up to Associate Director, Discovery Projects & Biological Sciences, Arthritis & Bone Therapeutic Focus Areas. In 2004, she joined Eli Lilly as a Director in
Global External Research and Development. Throughout her career she received numerous professional awards and honors including serving as a Scientific Reviewer of the American Pain Society Journal, Biorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Brain Research, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental
Research, Neuroscience, Pain, and NIH Grant Review Study Sections (Neurology A, Neurology B, International and Cooperative Projects). She authored over 50 publications, several reviews and book chapters, and is listed as an inventor on over 50 patents/patent applications worldwide.

She was active in her Church and community. She was founding President for several years of the Nigerian Womens’ Eagle Club (NWEC) of Cincinnati, OH. She received a Lifetime Achievement Soaring Eagles Award for outstanding contributions. She was also active at the Redeemed Christian Church
Covenant House in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Yetunde Taiwo transitioned to glory on Saturday July 14, 2012 surrounded by all of her children, her loving husband Abiola, her dear brother Dele, and her sister-in-law and in love, Dupe. Yetunde Taiwo ran a good and faithful race. Her life demonstrates God’s Amazing Grace.

She was preceded by her parents David Sokunbi (2009) and Grace Ebun Sokunbi (1970), brothers Master Adebola Sokunbi (1971) and Mr. Femi Joseph (1996.)

Yetunde is survived by husband, Abiola Taiwo, son Ibukun Taiwo, daughter Ebun Taiwo, and son Femi Taiwo as well as her sister-in-law Dr. Dupe Sokunbi, Mr. Adebayo Sokunbi and her sister-in-law Barrister Stella Sokunbi. She is also survived by a host of nephews and nieces:

Yetunde Sokunbi, Dolapo Sokunbi, Olumide Sokunbi, Tobi Sokunbi, Adebola Sokunbi, and Ayobami Sokunbi.

She was also blessed to have had so many friends from all over the world whom she loved dearly, especially in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Northern California. She was also loved by all her in-laws, the TAIWOS, the OGUNNAIKES, and the WILLIAMS. She is forever in God’s bosom and one of his angels.

July 14, 2012
Passed away on July 14, 2012.
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