Weraba! (fare thee well) Joseph Ssebanakitta. Born September 19, 1941 to Sam Kasaato and Janet Najuka in Kitagobwa, Uganda, he died December 14, 2011 encircled by those he loved. Joe will be missed by Karen and Bakima Ssebanakitta of Bellingham WA, and brother Fred’s family of Kampala, Uganda.
Always adaptable and self-confident, Joe’s life journey spanned eras and oceans. After childhood in colonial East Africa, his US adventures began as a Russian Orthodox seminarian at Holy Trinity in Jordanville NY. He also sampled the classic immigrant life of NY City dishwashing and taxi driving. When the time came to resume an education, he chose Milwaukee for its Great Lake -- a reminder of his roots near Lake Victoria, the great lake of Africa.
Joe raised his first family in Milwaukee, where he later married Karen in 1982. They moved to the Northwest and Bakima - the light of his eye - made them a family.
Joe was equally proud of his roots as a Baganda of the Lungfish (mmamba) clan, and of his master’s degrees from U of O (go Ducks!) and OSU. He loved coins, cooking, the New York Times and observing nature, especially birds.
There will be an informal gathering for his burial at noon on the winter solstice (Wednesday December 21). Donations in Joe’s honor would be welcome at Whatcom Hospice Foundation or the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Integrated Cancer Center fund.
Webale (thank you) Joe for our wonderful life together.
The family would love to have you share your stories and memories of Joe below.