Long-time Saipan nurse Elizabeth Sablan Torres-Untalan, better known as “Liz” or “Beck,” passed away at the age of 60 last Monday, Aug. 26, in Austin, Texas due to cancer.
Untalan has worked at the Commonwealth Health Center and Department of Public Health for over 40 years.
An alumna of both Mount Carmel School and Marianas High School, Untalan earned her associate of degree in Nursing from the Community College of Micronesia. She then pursued higher education at California Sonoma State University and received her bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
Untalan returned home and worked diligently to earn not just one nursing license but three, before landing her first job at the Public Health Clinic in Chalan Kanoa as its head nurse in 1975. She was certified to practice in California, Guam, and the CNMI.
Initially serving as a clinical nurse, her work eventually resulted in her promotion to the post of associate director at the Public Health and Commonwealth Health Center for nine years.
More recently, in 2003, she served as a peritoneal dialysis nurse at the Commonwealth Health Center until 2010 when she retired.
A well-educated nurse with years of experience in the hospital, Untalan still participated in many training programs around the world. She took part in a Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner Training Program in Torrance, California, where she was certified as a Woman’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner. She was also involved in Geriatric Education and an “Aids, Death, and Dying” program in Guam.
But her work and determination as a nurse went far beyond the hospital room and participating in workshops. Untalan passionately voiced her opinions in debates revolving around the global and local healthcare systems.
She took her passion for the health care system and skills she gained from her work experience to pursue her true passion: teaching her profession on Rota, Tinian, and Saipan.
A loving wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and an ardent healthcare provider, Untalan’s family say that she will always be remembered for the unconditional love she has for her family and community.
Untalan is survived by her husband, Pedro, and their children.
Her body remains in Texas, but a Memorial Mass will be held at Kristo Rai Parish in Garapan tomorrow, Sept. 3, 10 am. (Thomas Manglona II)