My Grandfather passed away on January 24th, 2015, at a time when due to visa issues I couldn't leave my job and travel to India. The days surrounding his passing were possibly the most traumatic of my life. And not being able to go to India to attend his funeral caused further consternation. The event took me down a spiral that I have only recently recovered from (2020). Who was C.G. Oommen? He is the one person the Lord used more than all else to leave in me an abiding love for God's word, which has carried me through the worst moments of my life. The following words are the words his family wrote as a eulogy at his funeral.
The late C. G. Oommen (Joy) was born into a traditional Christian family to late M. O. George and Pennamma George on May 20, 1936 in Mallapally taluk of Pathanamthitta district in Kerala, India. He was the second of three siblings; his elder sister is Mrs. Leelamma Kuruvilla (w/o of Late P.C. Kuruvilla, Retd. Circle Inspector – Indian Army and former Joint Secretary of the General Council of the Indian Pentecostal Church of God) and his younger brother is Rev. Dr. George K. Chavanikamannil, founder of New Theological College and allied ministries based in Dehradun. After completing his education, Mr. Oommen joined as a teacher in Sacred Heart High School, Thevara in 1957. He married V. T. Annamma (Retd. Deputy Chief Accountant, Cochin Port Trust) from the Velliyamakkal family on April 26, 1962, and moved to Kochi as a family in 1963. They have four children: Omana, Anila, George (Biju) and Thomas (Reji). While in Kochi, they embraced Pentecostal faith after attending a bible class by late Pastor P. M. Philip and joined the Indian Pentecostal Church of God (IPC) in 1967. He was an early member of the IPC Hebron church in Valanjambalam, Kochi. He retired from S. H. High School in 1987 and started and managed a construction firm with other associates. All through his career he dedicated his time to the advancement of God’s kingdom.
Mr. C. G. Oommen was affectionately known as Oommen sir to most people he knew. He was a very passionate man, especially when it came to the Word of God. He loved perusing the Bible, and interpreting its wonderful mysteries. He had a child-like nature resulting in wonderment and awe of the beauty of the creation and its enigmatic Creator. He used every chance to share his curiosity, fascination, and the love he experienced from his wonderful Creator with the people he encountered, and to ask them if they knew where they would be spending eternity. He would never ask people to blindly believe the Bible, but to check facts and realize how small we are in the big scheme of things and yet how privileged to have been chosen as God’s children. His desire was to spread the gospel to the far ends of the world, and doing so gave him much vigor and vitality even though his physical body often had been weak. Through his lifetime as a Bible scholar, teacher, and writer, he was able to lead many to Christ.
He was a multi-faceted personality with great teaching and oratory skills. He was also a gifted writer, who recently completed the manuscript of his third book titled, 'Daivathinte Swarupavum Sadirshyavum' (Malayalam) [God's Image and Likeness]. His other works are 'Daivathinte Sabhayum Manushyante Mathavum [God’s Church and Man’s Religion]', 'Yeshukarthavinte Randam Varavum Nithyathayum [Second coming of Lord Jesus and Eternity]'. His first book was translated into English with the title, Church and Religion. More than anything else he loved and served our Lord Jesus Christ to the best of his abilities.He was a loving husband to his wife, a very protective, caring, and proud father to his children and grandchildren. He never forgot his roots and made sure his kids didn’t either. He instilled his love for the Word and his curiosity of the unknown in his children and grandchildren. He never stopped learning and had an open mind to any avenue of knowledge that could be attained. He suffered from diabetes most of his life and had to undergo an angioplasty in the final days from which he recovered without any complications. While in recovery, he expressed to his wife his readiness to meet his Creator. Later that week, in the afternoon of January 24th 2015, he informed his beloved wife that he was going to depart from her and breathed his last peacefully at his home in Thevara. His legacy will live on through his wife Annamma, children: Mrs. Omana & Mr. Madhu Samuel (Director & Founder, Royal Public School, Bhandara, Maharashtra), Mrs. Anila & Mr. Sabu P. Simon (Assistant General Manager, State Bank of India, Kollam), Rev. Dr. George (Biju) & Mrs. Sheena Oommen (Faculty, New Theological College, Dehradun and General Secretary, Church History Association of India), and Dr. Thomas (Reji) & Mrs. Selin (Leena) Oommen (Faculty, Michigan Technological University, Michigan, USA), and grandchildren: Mrs. Rinu & Mr. Sonu Varghese, Rijo, Roshan, Rino, Freda, Hannah, Serah, Philip, and Jadon.