American Veteran 01

Jawanza Menelik

March 4, 1941 ~ September 2, 2022 (age 81) 81 Years Old


Jawanza Menelik, né Anthony Gibson, was the son of Bahamian parents Vanrey & Noel Gibson. Born in Nassau, Bahamas, Jawanza started playing the piano as a young child and continued to study the piano when his family moved to New York.  He graduated from Westbury High School and excelled on the track team.  An accomplished classical pianist, Jawanza played in several early recitals, including at Steinway Hall, under the guidance of Bernard Scott, a top graduate of the Royal Academy of Music. Some of the family’s fondest memories are of a teenaged Jawanza, playing his Billie Holiday and Ray Charles records while happily improvising jazz on his upright piano.   After graduating from high school, Jawanza was awarded a full scholarship to The Julliard School, which he attended before joining the United States Air Force and serving his country during the Vietnam War. (While he rarely spoke about this time in his life, the family understands that he attended to our fallen heroes upon their return home with dignity.)  After returning to the States, Jawanza studied at Stony Brook University and received a BA in Liberal Arts. He continued his music performance and composing, producing various recordings while maintaining a "day job" in the corporate sector, first with Michelin Tires, and years later at Kaplan Inc. as an academic advisor online, before retiring. Jawanza leaves behind his loving family, wife, Li hua Menelik, son Khary Menelik, step-daughter Fan Qi Meng, aunt Barbara Clark, several step-siblings, and many cousins in the U.S. and abroad, in the Bahamas and the UK.   


Graveside Service
September 30, 2022

1:00 PM
L.I. National Cemetery
2040 Wellwood Ave.
Farmingdale, NY 11735


Interment Private



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