Eulogy for Jean Paul Mpalomby
Jean Paul was born on July 5, 1965 in Brazzaville, Congo to Nzella Elizabeth and Paul
Mpalomby. He was the 3rd of five children. He attended Thomas Sankara High School and the
University of Marian Ngouabi, where he received a Bachelor of Secondary School in 1986.
Jean Paul loved African music. Papa Wemba was his favorite artist and when he was 16, his
favorite music group was Zaiko. He loved to read and write. In fact, his plans for the summer of
2015 was to take his family to a place where no one could interrupt them so that he could write
his autobiography. He was a “jack of all trades” – he could fix anything, including cars and
houses. According to Huguette, he loved to mop the floor.
Jean Paul was a famous runner from the Congo. When he was young, his mother asked him to
go to the grocery store and pick up food. For whatever reason, he decided that he would run
there and back each time he had to go. One day, a coach from his school saw him running and
asked him to join the team. While in high school, he ran for the National team. He was an
incredible runner, winning many races throughout the world. He competed in Spain, France,
Morocco and many other countries. He was the winner of the 800-meter, his favorite distance, in
the World Championships in 1991. In Egypt, he broke the world record for the 800-meter. He
also loved to run marathons and won many of them.
Jean Paul was 27 years old when he met 16-year old Huguette Olambouala, one of his
students. He was smitten and kept telling her how he wanted to marry her. He loved to tease
her. He was her physical education teacher. Huguette said that he was so respectful of her and
waited to propose to her until she was 20 years old. He visited with Huguette’s parents to ask
permission to marry her. Huguette was impressed with the way he treated his mother and how
he treated her. He did not kiss her until they were married, on May 10, 1996, in the Republic of
Congo. On March 28, 1997, their first son Jean Jr. Mpalomby was born.
It was a very unstable time living in the Republic of Congo. War broke out in 1997 and chaos
erupted throughout the country. June 5, 1997 was a terrible day for the Mpalomby family. There
was a political uprising in the streets and their business printing shop was destroyed. The house
they were living in would soon receive the same fate. Jean Paul went to check on the business
while Huguette and three month old Jean fled to her parents’ house. Huguette left with no shoes
and no food or milk for her baby. That was the last day they saw each other and it would be 9
years until they would be reunited.
In the meantime, once Jean Paul realized their business had been destroyed, there was no way
for him to return home. The government was trying to kill him because they believed he was
opposing the government. He immediately fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo Huguette
and Jean Paul had no time to say goodbye nor did they have a plan to reunite. The government
shut down all communication, power, and water.
Huguette and Jean Paul had no idea if either was alive. For three years they lived without
knowing what had happened to the other. It wasn’t until 2000 that Huguette received a
personally delivered letter from Canada. In the letter, he explained that he had spent one month
in Congo Democratic, gathering funds and paper work to flee to Canada. While in Canada, he
watched the news and saw the terrible things happening in the Republic of Congo, where
Huguette and Jean were living. Since there was no working mail delivery system in the Republic
of Congo, Jean Paul had to find someone living in Canada who was traveling to the Republic of
Congo, to personally deliver the letter. They were both overjoyed to know each was alive and
well. It took another six years to work out the paper work for them to be reunited as a family.
On November 23, 2006, Huguette and 9 year old Jean were reunited with Jean Paul in
Washington D.C. That was the first time Jean had seen his dad. Jean’s first question to his mom
when he saw his dad was “So, is this my dad?” It was a great day.
From then on, Huguette and Jean Paul were inseparable. They lived in North Carolina for one
year and moved to Pennsylvania for another year. Their son Godwin Molonguy-Lho was born in
Philadelphia, PA in 2008.
In that same year, Jean Paul was looking for work in New York City. As he was was rushing
around, he ran into missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was
in a hurry and couldn’t talk to them but was given a card from the church. He and a friend would
later visit the church in Manhattan. He loved the feeling he had there and told his family about
his experience. They were soon baptized on December 13, 2008.
While in Mount Vernon, NY, Jean Paul went back to school, while Huguette worked two jobs to
try to support the family. Hugean Peter was born in New Rochelle, NY in 2010 and just three
months ago Elizabeth Chloe was born.
Jean described his father as a leader and people really looked up to him. “He never ceased to
help anybody in need. He was a great son, father and husband who loved his family dearly.
Family always came first. He invested his life to starting and building a new and better
generation than the one in which he was born. There is no man on this Earth who loved working
than my dad. He is the closest to perfect I have ever seen any man with the exception of his
Jean also shared some quotes his dad would use to teach him.
1. While teaching his son about the importance of being independent, he would say: “You don’t
get buried with your mom and dad”
2. Regarding personal responsibility he would say: “You’ve gotta be a man…”
3. Jean Paul always wanted his children to remember that: “School is the key.”
Huguette described Jean Paul as “an amazing husband and father.” Their marriage was “very
good…happy and peaceful.” They were always happy – never fought or argued. They always
loved to be together whether it was cooking, cleaning, or shopping – they did everything
Jean Paul Mpalomby passed away on Sunday, November 16, 2014. He is survived by his wife
Huguette, his sons Jean (17), Godwin (6), Peter (4) and Elizabeth (3 months).
Eulogy for Jean Paul Mpalomby