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Friday, April 25, 2014

A look at some who passed away in 2013


Vietnam War veteran and former representative Frank Guerrero Cepeda passed away on Aug. 15 at the age of 71. Two months later, his wife of 52 years, Fe, followed him.

A proud retired sergeant major from the Green Beret, Cepeda served as a member of the CNMI House of Representatives, became special assistant for military and veterans’ affairs, a JROTC program manager, and a military science instructor.

Cepeda, in seeking election for another government post in 2005, said returning the “trust in our elected leaders” should always be a priority.

“We must make sure that people’s morale is restored,” he added.

After a long but valiant fight with throat cancer, former four-term senator Luis Palacios Crisostimo passed away on June 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the age of 52.

Months prior to his passing, he asked his former colleagues to allow him to go back to the Senate “one last time,” and senators granted that wish on June 28 when his remains were brought to the Senate for a moving, well-attended memorial tribute.

“He walked the halls and chambers of this legislative house with dignity and respect… His voice may not be loud, but his actions and excellence spoke loudly of him. His name is appended into the history book of our Commonwealth. He is now at peace, and we shall, someday, be reunited,” Rep. Ray Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan) said at the memorial tribute, a day before Crisostimo’s funeral.

Bernard Arthur Villagomez Hofschneider, one of the Marianas Political Status Commission negotiators that hammered out the Covenant to pave the way for the islands to join the American political family, passed away on Oct. 27 this year. He was 74.

“He’s been a longtime public servant, leader, and a devout Catholic. That’s how I would want the CNMI to remember him… He’s well-mannered, very articulate and intelligent,” one of his youngest nephews, Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider, said.

Bernard V. Hofschneider, who hails from Tinian, is survived by his wife, Guadalupe “Lupe” DLG Reyes Hofschneider, and children.

The former village commissioner for Chalan Kanoa, Jacinto B. Mendiola, passed away on Oct. 25. He was 85 years old. The late commissioner served with distinction in various capacities during the Naval Administration, the Trust Territory, and the CNMI government for more than four decades. Mendiola was honored for his valuable contributions to the improvement of the Municipality of Saipan.

Former two-term Saipan mayor Juan Borja Tudela passed away on Feb. 1 at a Hawaii hospital after he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. His passing was described as a “deep loss” for the CNMI. He was 77.
“As a native son of the Commonwealth, Mayor Tudela lived a life dedicated to public service through numerous key positions in both the trust territory and Commonwealth governments,” former governor Benigno R. Fitial said in a statement on Tudela’s passing.

Besides serving as a Saipan mayor, Tudela was also a member of the House of Representatives, a Board of Education member, village commissioner and scoutmaster with the Garapan Boy Scouts. He was instrumental in bringing in Japanese students through the NMI-Japan Cultural Exchange programs where hundreds of students were given the opportunity to travel in the CNMI and Japan.

Escolastica B. Tudela-Cabrera, the first female member of the Saipan Municipal Council in 1963 and an active civic leader in the community, passed away on Oct. 21 at the age of 83. Dubbed as the “champion of common causes” beneficial to the CNMI, she was recognized for her outstanding public service that contributed to the progress of the islands.

Tudela-Cabrera was the first captain of the “America Needs Fatima Rosary Rally” and held various posts in community and school associations and had participated in the White House conference on aging. She was also the first female grand marshal of the Saipan Liberation Day festivities. The late civic leader was also credited for opening various employment opportunities to the island people by opening different enterprises on Saipan.

Jose P. San Nicolas, a former mayor of the Municipality of Tinian, died on June 28 in the Philippines after undergoing a heart operation. San Nicolas, the father of former senator Henry San Nicolas, has been battling against his illness for years until he was taken to a Manila hospital for the last surgery, which he failed to survive. The 66-year-old former chief executive officer served his island for one term in 2006. He was buried at the San Jose Cemetery on Tinian on July 6. San Nicolas, better known as “Josen Chandia,” was born on Nov. 15, 1946.

Former Commonwealth Ports Authority board chair Roman S. Palacios passed away on Oct. 10 after battling cancer for many years. He was 67 years old. Known for his generosity and quick wit, Palacios died of pancreatic cancer. He was the eldest of eight children of the late Jesus Muña Palacios and Anunciasion Sablan Palacios. Roman Palacios was married to Patricia Tenorio, whose family owns Joeten Enterprises, Inc. He grew up in Chalan Kanoa and went to school on Saipan before going to high school in Guam. He finished college at the University of Guam and went to work for Saipan Stevedore Co.

A well-known businessman and founder of the first ever trade institute in the Commonwealth, Anthony Pellegrino died of multiple health ailments on June 2 at the Commonwealth Health Center. Pellegrino, 82, owned firms such as Saipan Sea Ventures, Aquaculture, Saipan Ice Co., and Northern Marianas Trade Institute, among others. In his passing, the late businessman was accorded numerous citations in recognition of his valuable contributions to the CNMI.

Pellegrino was once awarded the Saipan Chamber of Commerce’s Businessman of the Year for his notable works and assistance to the community by establishing various employment opportunities, including the creation of the Northern Marianas Trade Institute, seen as key to developing the NMI’s workforce. He was also selected in 2009 as the Saipan Tribune’s Person of the Year and where he wrote a weekly column.

Pellegrino was also the founding president of the CNMI’s Library Friends, a group dedicated in raising monies for the public library’s programs and activities. Prior to his passing, he was also able to establish the Arctic Circle to help farmers and ranchers better promote their produce outside of the Commonwealth.

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