Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Tewolde Araya Zemeheret

October 1, 1950 - August 16, 2020
Grand Rapids, MI



Wednesday, August 19, 2020
10:30 AM EDT
MedhaniAlem Eritrean Orthodox Church
1780 Knapp Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
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Life Story / Obituary


Tewolde Araya Zemeheret was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. A lover of all people, he lived his life selflessly giving to others over the years. Active throughout his life, Tewolde never passed up an opportunity to take his daily walk, sunbathe, or workout. His warm personality will surely be missed by his many special friends and loved ones.

His story begins on October 1, 1950 when he was born the oldest child of five siblings to Araya Zemeheret and Bsrat Embaye in Eritrea's capital of Asmara which borders the Red Sea. From a young age he had a natural ambition to work. He was both going to school and working, because of his energetic nature he was supporting both of his parents and siblings while working at Baratolla Fabric Company in Asmara. He married Askalu Gebrehiwet Kifleyesus in May of 1976 during a time when there was unrest in Eritrea and had his eldest son Daniel a year later.

In the seventies because of his ardent national zeal he was enlisted and served in the EPLF organization and was imprisoned in 1974.

In 1978 Askalu and Tewolde decided to flee Eritrea to Sudan, two years later their second child, Samrawit Araya was born. He moved to Saudi Arabia for a short while and decided to return to Sudan to join his family. While in Sudan he did not forget his country’s affairs for independence and was enlisted in the EPLF serving in the organization.

On September 13, 1983 Tewolde and Askalu moved to the United States of America and started a new life in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Naturally he was industrious and worked hard to support his family. Tewolde loved his family and his country. He was compassionate and generous to his family and his country.

Happy to be in the states, he and Askalu were blessed with five more children, Dehay, Luwam, Rezina, Semhar and Yoseph. They lived in Eastown for a time until he was able to purchase a home on Diamond, a purchase that brought him great pride. A strong provider. Tewolde was able to find various jobs throughout the years including time at Grand Rapids Foam Rubber, Gordon Food Service, Diesel Tech (which became Bosch), and a few years with Spectrum Health. Driven and dedicated his work ethic as well as his vision of succeeding at whatever he set out to do had a lasting effect on his children.

Fiercely proud of his Eritrean heritage, Tewolde returned to his homeland many times over the years. When back home in the states, he missed Eritrea so much that he enjoyed watching Eritrean TV and drinking boon with Askalu. Tewolde dreamed of spending time in Eritrea with his family and spent a year in Eritrea building a home for them to vacation together as a family for many years.

As a father he was strict yet loving. Tewolde wanted his children to find success in the life he had worked hard to provide for them. Tewolde was supportive of their endeavors and always willing to lend a listening ear. Tewolde taught them the value of family and independence. He taught his daughters to be as equally independent as his sons. All in all, he taught his children the value of a hard day’s work and the importance of family.

Tewolde had a special sense of humor. He was a great storyteller and enjoyed sharing time with friends over conversation. Mostly he stayed quiet enough to be a good listener unless the topic switched to Eritrean politics! He had a real passion for having dialogues about recent events or the struggles of society. As much as he cherished his years as a father, he felt very blessed to have two grandchildren. He found great joy in his grandchildren and loved spending time with them over the years.

Tewolde modeled a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice, yet also the ability to enjoy life. He surrounded himself with life’s greatest blessings; his loving family. He wanted nothing more than to share in their happiness and for them to take care of one another in his absence. May his loved ones always remember his gentleness and his steadfast love for them and may his memories be eternal.

Tewolde Araya Zemeheret, age 69 died in Grand Rapids on August 16, 2020. He was born on October 1, 1950 in Asmara, Eritrea, which remained as “home” in his heart. Tewolde was preceded in death by his parents, Araya Zemeheret and Bsrat Embaye; his daughter, Samrawit Araya; and a brother and sister. He is survived by his wife Askalu Gebrehewit Kifleyesus; their children Daniel, Dehay, Luwam, Rezina, Semhar and Yoseph Araya; and grandchildren Tuti and Ari. His funeral service will be held on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 10:30 AM at MedhaniAlem Eritrean Orthodox Church with interment to follow at Fairplains Cemetery.

ኣቶ ተወልደ ኣርኣያ ዘምህረት ካብ ኣቦኡ ኣርኣያ ዘምህረትን ኣዲኡ ወ.ሮ. ብሥራት እምባዬ ገብረ-ኪዳንን ብ10-01-1950 ኣብ ከተማ ኣሥመራ ተወልደ።

ኣብ ንኡስ ዕድመኡ ሓላፍነታዊ ባህርያት ዝወነነ ኮይኑ ንትምህርቱን ስራሑን ኣማሊኡ ንስድራ-ቤቱን የሕዋቱን ይኣሊ ነይሩ።

ኣብ ሰብዓታት ልዑል ሃገራዊ ወኒ ስለ ዝነበሮ ኣብ ህግሓኤ ተወዲቡ ይሰርሕ ነይሩ፡ ኣብ 1974 ድማ ተኣሲሩ ነይሩ።

ብ05-08-1976 ከኣ ምስ ወይዘሪት ኣስካሉ ቀሺ ገብረ-ህይወት ኣብ ኣሥመራ ተመርዓዉ።

ብ1978 ድማ ንሱዳን ድሕሪ ምእታው ኣብ ዝተፈላለዩ ስራሓት ይሰርሕ ነይሩ። ኣብ ሱዳን ከሎዉ ንካልአይቲ ውላዶም ሳምራዊት ኣርኣያ ወሊዶም።

ካብ ሱዳን ንስዑዲ ዓረብያ ከይዱ ድሕሪ ቊሩብ ጊዜ ድማ ንሱዳን ተመሊሱ። ኣብ ሱዳን ከሎ ጉዳይ ሃገሩ ከቶ ኣይረስዐን። ተወዲቡ ከኣ ይሰርሕ ነይሩ።

ብ01-13-1983 ንሕቡራት መንግሥታት ኣሜሪካ ብምምራሕ ኣብ ከተማ ግራንድ ራፒድስ ናብራኡ ጀመረ።

ንዳሃይ፡ ልዋም፡ ረዚና፡ ሰምሃር ዮሴፍ ከኣ ወሊዶም። ኣብዚውን ንጉዳይ ሃገሩ ኣይረስዐን ተወዲቡ ክሳዕ ዕለት ሞቱ ይሰርሕ ድማ ነይሩ።

ኣቶ ተወልደ ኣርኣያ ብባህርዩ ለዋህ ፈቓር ርሕሩሕ ኣላዪ ስድራ ኢዩ ዝነበረ።

እግዚኣብሔር ኣምላኽና ንነፍሲ ኣቦናን ሓውናን ተወልደ ኣብ ጎድኒ ቅዱሳቱ የንብር።