At a Guam Decolonization Commission meeting in 2015 Photo by Bruce Lloyd
Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo has declared a state of mourning and ordered flags be flown at half mast in honor of former Piti mayor Vicente “Ben” Gumataotao, who passed away on Saturday. He was 91.
Gumataotao, who served as Piti mayor from 2005 to 2017, passed away in Manila.
“He had been a bit of a maverick in his youth and suffered extreme hardship under Japanese occupation of our island where he witnessed atrocities and horror. Strong will propelled him through a 27-year Navy career,” the mayor’s son G. Frank Gumatao wrote on Facebook.
The younger Gumataotao described his father as “the first E-9 in his rate.”
“Our loving and devoted stepmother gave him true focus and happiness with family, church and community,” Frank Gumataotao said. “This is proof positive that a strong marriage is key to a good life. We are deeply thankful to Toni for her unwavering love and nurturing commitment. Most blessed are those who give of themselves."
Mayor Gumataotao stayed in public service to the end, both as mayor and as a member of the Calvo administration, which he served as a member of the Decolonization Commission.
"A member of the greatest generation our island has seen, Uncle Ben will be deeply missed by us all," Calvo said.
Gov-elect Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Gov-elect Joshua Tenorio were saddened to hear of the former mayor's passing. "Mayor Ben was a devoted statesman, veteran and a member of our island's greatest generation," Leon Guerrero said.