- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (AP) - Mourners in central Ohio wore traditional black funeral attire with vibrant green scarves to honor the life of the first woman to serve as head of state of the Republic of Liberia.

Ruth Sando Fahnbulleh-Perry had been living in suburban Columbus for the past several years when she succumbed to a lengthy illness on Jan. 8 at age 77, The Columbus Dispatch reported (http://bit.ly/2kjAZ5g ). She was laid to rest Saturday in Reynoldsburg.

Fahnbulleh-Perry first entered the national spotlight when she was appointed to head a six-member Council of State of the Liberia National Transitional Government amid a yearslong civil war in 1996.

Four fellow members were violent warlords. But Fahnbulleh-Perry, the only woman serving on the council, was able to bring peace among rival factions in the west African nation.

“She was a great leader,” said Henry Momo Fahnbulleh, a nephew who worked as Fahnbulleh-Perry’s special assistant when she was president. “She was gifted, and that gift happened to turn anarchy into consensus building.”

Among her achievements, Fahnbulleh-Perry is best known for arranging the cease-fire that led to a peaceful transition of power in Liberia. She also worked to elevate the status of women in her home country.

She once said peace was an ideal that she hoped to live for and achieve.

“But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die,” Fahnbulleh-Perry said.

Fahnbulleh-Perry was laid to rest in a green headwrap and the bright colors she was known for wearing.

“In the arc of her life, we see a woman who earned her place through struggle and shrewdness, persistence, hope and faith,” said Gayah Fahnbulleh, a former lawmaker in Liberia who recited Fahnbulleh-Perry’s biography at the service. “She always told us what is possible not just in history books, but what is possible in our own lives as well.”

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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