Guam joined the Commonwealth in paying their last respects yesterday to the late CNMI Supreme Court chief justice Miguel S. Demapan, whose 18 years of service at the Judiciary has become an integral part of Commonwealth history.
Demapan's wife, Frances, their five children-Mike, Patrick, Frannie, Soleana and Micaela-and Demapan's siblings were joined by hundreds at a funeral, Mass, and burial rites from 6:30am to 1pm.
Public viewing was held at 8am.
The Mt. Carmel Cathedral was packed when the Mass of Christian burial was held at 11am. Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron of the Archdiocese of Agana served as the principal celebrant.
In her eulogy, Frannie Demapan said it is not easy to speak about their father, but besides their mother who has spent 37 years by his side, she believes that “no one can explain him better than his children.”
Frannie said it is humbleness that distinguishes their father from others.
“A man who preferred to work behind the scenes instead of perform in the show, our Dad quietly retired from the Judiciary without any elaborate celebration or ceremony,” Frannie said.
Frannie said that listening to the speeches and kind words from members of the legal community during Friday's memorial service at the Supreme Court made them clearly see the impact their father made on the Commonwealth “as a dedicated and hardworking public servant.”
Frannie shared stories honoring Demapan's personal, private side as a family man and motivator.
Frannie recalled that as their father's health began to deteriorate, she and their family took turns caring for him around the clock.
“As my Mom waited to give him the next spoonful, my Dad swallowed his food and out of nowhere mutters, 'I love you guys,'” the teary-eyed Frannie said.
After the Mass, family members, siblings, and relatives guided the casket to the front door of the cathedral. The casket was then brought to the Chalan Kanoa cemetery.
Seen either at the church or cemetery were Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, Lt. Gov. Eloy Inos, Cabinet members, U.S. District Court for the NMI chief judge Ramona V. Manglona, judges and justices, lawyers, and federal and local visiting public officials.
From Guam, among those who paid their respects were U.S. District Court for Guam chief judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, Guam vice speaker B.J. Cruz, and U.S. Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the CNMI Alicia Limtiaco.
At the cemetery, ribbons and flowers were placed and thrown on the casket. Sobs turned to cries when the casket was finally lowered.
A family member later announced that the family is overwhelmed by the show of respect by the people who came out there.
Demapan, who had undergone surgeries for colon cancer, passed away on June 30, at the Commonwealth Health Center. He was 59.
Demapan served as the third chief justice of the CNMI Supreme Court.