Saipan honors former mayor Rios


The Saipan Mayor’s Office, in conjunction with the Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council, held a memorial service to honor the late Saipan mayor Jose Santos Rios last Friday.

Dignitaries from Saipan such as members of the Legislature and Gov. Ralph DLG Torres gathered to help Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang and the municipal council present a plaque of appreciation to the loved ones of Rios at the Kiosku in Chalan Kanoa.

According to Apatang, Rios was a very humble man who contributed much to the island’s development.

“His contributions when he was mayor of Saipan supported and pushed all efforts back in the day to make our island and the Commonwealth a peaceful, safe, and healthy place to work, run a business, and raise a family,” he said.

Apatang also said that Rios will be remembered for his legacy of working toward improvement and better living in the Commonwealth.

“He passed it on to his successors to use as a guide in turning the dream into reality,” he said.

Rios was Saipan mayor from Jan. 8, 1982, to Jan. 7, 1986. He was the island’s third mayor since the Northern Mariana Islands became a U.S. commonwealth.

Rios was born on Dec. 19, 1939, and passed away on Jan. 21, 2018.

Municipal council administrator Frances Muña said that Rios passed away a little over a month after celebrating his 78th birthday.

According to information obtained by the municipal council from Rios’ family, Rios was given a military funeral at the veteran’s cemetery in Washington state on Feb. 2, 2018.

Rios enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to South Korea during the Korean War. Rios later joined the U.S. Peace Corps and was stationed in Chuuk.

Rios is survived by his wife Emilia and children Roy Rios, Marie Martinez, Remay McNally, and Joseph Rios Jr.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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