Francisco Manibusan Diaz, the first ever mayor of the Municipality of Saipan, passed away on Sunday at the Commonwealth Health Center. He was 77 years old.
His youngest daughter, Tricia, said her father died at 10:05pm on Oct. 13 due to cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver and poor liver function. It is the final phase of chronic liver disease.
The elder Diaz, fondly known as Tico Bedu or Mr. D, was Saipan mayor from 1979 to 1981. Before becoming mayor, he was a congressman during the Trust Territory Government and was one of the trusted advisers and friends of the CNMI’s first elected governor, Carlos S. Camacho.
Diaz was also a former president of the Rotary Club of Saipan and was very involved in community events. He also worked for Microl Corp., as its Commercial Division manager. Later, he would become the auto dealership’s ombudsman, dealing with governmental and community relations.
According to Tricia, her father has been battling cirrhosis for a couple of years. His illness, however, took a turn for the worse six months ago and doctors at CHC gave him only him a month or so to live a couple of weeks ago.
With her dad’s days numbered, Tricia said the family organized a farewell and reunion of sorts for the beloved patriarch of their family.
She said all 12 children of Francisco and Remedio Diaz, including a couple based abroad, came together to celebrate a family reunion last Oct. 8 and just this Saturday, Oct. 12, their parents celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary.
While the family is understandably devastated by the loss of Diaz, Tricia said at least their dad is now in a better place and is no longer suffering.
Aside from public service and community work, Tricia said her dad’s other passion was watching sports. She remembers one time when her dad was admitted at CHC when he suddenly left to watch a basketball game in Chalan Kanoa. After the game, her dad admitted himself back to the hospital.
She also remembers her dad as a kind and loving person who never fails to give good advice to her and her 11 siblings.
Microl general manager Douglas Brennan, meanwhile, said Diaz brought him under his wing when he first worked at the company.
“Frank was my mentor when I was first hired at Microl. His business acumen, patience, and outgoing personality were an inspiration to me. He taught me more about business and people in general than I could have ever learned at any college in the world,” Brennan said.
Brennan also extended his condolences to the Diaz family. “My heart goes out to Bedu, the kids and grandkids. I am thankful Frank is resting now and am sure he is still watching over us. It was a privilege to know him!”
Diaz is survived by his wife, Remedio, and 11 children: Frances J, Francisco, Juan, Frances D, Joaquin, Raymond, Thomas, Anthony, Melissa, Tricia, Edward, and Deborah.