Longtime DLNR chief laid to rest


Richard B. Seman, a man who relentlessly served and loved the island of Saipan, was laid to rest yesterday at the Chalan Kanoa Cemetery.

The funeral mass for the late secretary of the Department of Lands and Natural Resources and former member of the House of Representatives was held yesterday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral Church in Chalan Kanoa.

Dozens attended Seman’s burial at the Chalan Kanoa Cemetery including family and friends, government officials led by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog, and members of the community.

Vinycia Seman, one of Seman’s five children, shared what made her father a great man.

According to Vinycia, her father was an advocate for equality in the island and the preservation of its beauty. He made sure that he spoke up against what he did not deem fair and always puts the needs of the CNMI people first. “

“He was champion for indigenous rights and always spoke out against any more federal regulations and takeovers. During his inauguration speech he emphasized how he was an NMI citizen first before an American citizen. He was a well-respected legislator who put the people first and always did what he thought was right and just, no matter how unpopular,” Vinycia told Saipan Tribune.

Seman was also a friend to all and he was always the funny guy. “He was always that uncle that went around talking to all the kids at any family barbecue telling jokes and showing his thumb trick (detaches his thumb) to everyone,” reminisced Vinycia. “He was a very spiritual man who always saw the good in people and always believed people could always better themselves. He was everyone’s friend.”

According to Vinycia, her father greatly cared for the fishermen of the CNMI and was always looking for ways to help them “He did extensive work seeking to improve the CNMI’s fishing industry. He was the longest council member of the fisheries council. A friend to all fisherman.”

Vinycia’s fondest memory of her father was all the times he carried her to her bed after a long night of watching movies together.

“All the way until I was about a freshman in high school, my dad would never leave me by myself if I fell asleep in the living room, nor did he ever bother to wake me up. No matter how big I got, he lifted me in his arms and carried me to my room. Even if he knew I wasn’t really sleeping, he still did it.”

Seman lived his life by his favorite saying, “Don’t be bothered by what others think of you, but rather be concerned about what God thinks of you. Be faithful and love your neighbors.” He was a man who lived true to his favorite saying.

Eliceo Cabrera, acting DLNR secretary following Seman’s untimely death, also shared a few fond memories he had of his boss.

According to Cabrera, Seman and him were family friends. Seman and Cabrera have known each other from when they were still young boys and have been close ever since. “He is very fun to work with… We use to call and text each other regularly, as family. We also use to send each other funny cartoons for laughs and to send to the rest of the staff members, “ said Cabrera.

Cabrera said that Seman was a well-liked individual and he would never forget someone like him.

As DLNR secretary, Seman was the overseer for all the divisions under the department like Fish and Wildlife, Aquatic Resources, Division of Land, Conservation of Coastal Land, etc.

Seman, however, served Saipan in more ways than DLNR chief. He filled other shoes but always kept the environment in mind.

He served as secretary for over four years. He had previous experience of being the department’s secretary from the year 2004 until 2006 and resumed office again in January 2015 until his passing.

Seman started off his career as a director for the Division of Fish and Wildlife. He stayed in this division for more than five years. He was the division’s director from April 1998 until January 2004.

Seman also served as a director for the Division of Agriculture. He served this division for over a year. He served in this division from December 2008 until July of 2010.

After serving the Agriculture division of the department, Seman moved back to the Division of Fish and Wildlife as an aquatic educational specialist. He served in this division for over a year starting in April 2011 until January 2013.

For over five years, Seman was also publisher and editor for the Marianas Fishing Magazine. He started on September 2007 and left that line of work in June 2013.

Seman was also a representative for the 18th Northern Marianas Island Legislature. He served for about four years before returning to serving as secretary of the Department of Land and Natural Resource in 2015.

Seman was also an active member of several boards such as the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.

Seman was survived by his wife Lorraine Seman, five children Vinycia, Lorisha, Rick, Anthony, John; and eight grandchildren Cameron, Aleanah, Kenyon, Milan, Aiden, Logun, Cali, and Luke.


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