THE REV. CLEMENT Ndovie traveled the world and loved knowledge, earning three degrees from universities in three countries.
Of all the books he read, the Bible was his favorite, according to family and friends.
"He could walk in my office, and I would share with him what I was going to teach or a word or subject matter that I needed a greater understanding of, and he would respond with accuracy as to how it was to be used," gushed Jeffrey Branson, pastor of From the Heart Church Ministries of Philadelphia, on 20th Street near Venango in Tioga-Nicetown.
"He was a person of excellence, character and integrity," Branson said. "He was a bright, brilliant, intelligent man."
Mr. Ndovie, 65, a son of Africa who made Philadelphia his home, died of heart failure at Bryn Mawr Hospital on Nov. 5. He had lived in Upper Darby for the last two years.
Mr. Ndovie's death came as a shock to the congregation at From the Heart, which he helped found in 1999 and served in many capacities, including as elder.
"He did a phenomenal job at the church and as a professor. He carried his regular duties in the midst of his illness," said Branson, who noted that Mr. Ndovie prayed before the congregation on the Sunday before he died. "Everybody was shocked [by his death] because he didn't seem sick."
Mr. Ndovie was born Sept. 30, 1952 in what is now Zimbabwe. He was the eldest of six children born to Morton Ndovie and Nellie Gondwe, according to his family.
He gave his life to Jesus in 1971 at age 19, graduated with a bachelor's degree in theology from the University of Malawi in 1977 and was ordained by the Presbyterian church.
In 1983, he moved to Canada, where he earned a master's degree in divinity from the University of Toronto School of Theology, and in 1984, he earned another master's degree in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey.
In addition to his ministerial duties at From the Heart, Mr. Ndovie had worked as an adjunct professor, teaching religion, philosophy, literature and sociology at Montclair State University, Camden County College, Chestnut Hill College, West Chester University and Rowan University.
"He was a well-read person, so he had a vast amount of knowledge about a lot of subjects," Branson said.
"When I was away, he was always my first choice to teach in my absence."
Mr. Ndovie is survived by his wife, Katherine, whom he married in 1997; his mother, a brother and a sister.
Services were Saturday, Nov. 12.