Former world marathon record-holder Paul Tergat’s mother, Esther Toyoi Kipkuna, will be buried today at her home in Kabarak, Nakuru County.
“All plans have been set. The send-off shall take place here in Nakuru today. We are expecting various government officials who have sought to grace the funeral,” said Dr Tergat, the current National Olympics Committee-Kenya (NOC-K) president.
Esther's death, following a short illness, was announced on Wednesday by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed. She was taken ill at Mediheal Hospital in Nakuru on Sunday. She was aged 95.
“We have lost a loving mother to Kenya’s global athletics icon Paul Tergat. She was a caring, selfless and kind mother who raised Dr Tergat and all of her children with great counsel and careful direction,” Amina said in a statement.
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Baringo Senator Gideon Moi yesterday joined other mourners at Esther's home, where he condoled with the family.
Gideon said until her demise, Esther was a committed leader and dedicated Christian, who lived a life guided by kindness and humility.
The senator said her active involvement in social development matters of Baringo people had caught the eye of now-deceased former President Daniel Moi, bringing the two families close.
"Being a close friend to the family of the late President Daniel Moi, the two families inculcated values of hard work, discipline and played the role of community empowerment in Baringo County, and especially Riwo village, where she served with excellent commitment," said Gideon.
"We have lost a caring mother who treated all with equity and fairness."
Tergat described his mother's death as a loss for Baringo County and the country at large, citing her role in mentoring women into prioritising development and leadership.
The family thanked Gideon for condoling with them, adding that the government had been supportive during the mourning period.
“We appreciate the condolence messages sent by senior government officials and Kenyans at large. Their concern and support have made us even stronger during these difficult moments,” said Tergat.
He described his mother as a great pillar in the family, adding that she had moulded them and many others into dependable members of society.
“She has imparted a lot to the community and to us as her children. We choose to celebrate her life rather than mourn her death. It is sad that she has left, but her inspiration to us lives on,” said Tergat.
Baringo Deputy Governor Jacob Chepkwony described Esther as a great pillar in the church, adding her works of charity to vulnerable groups in the rural parts of the county had left a mark in the lives of many.
“She will also be remembered for having initiated a strong women's caucus. She mentored other women into agricultural projects and environmental conservation,” said Mr Chepkwony.