Guam and CNMI leaders extended condolences to the people of Palau for the passing of their former president Thomas Ongelibel Remengesau Sr. on Aug. 3. He was 89.
Remengesau Sr. passed away at approximately 3:30 p.m. at his residence in Medalaii, Koror, according to a press release from the Office of Palau President.
“Surrounded by his children, family, and relatives, former President Remengesau, Sr. passed away peacefully. On behalf of the Remengesau family, President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. offers his sincere gratitude for the love and support expressed for his father and his family.”
Remengesau Sr,. the 4th president of Palau, was the father of incumbent President Tommy Remenegsau Jr.
Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero issues the following statement:
“On behalf of the People of Guam, I extend my sincerest condolences to the Palauan people on the loss of a great public servant and regional leader, President Thomas Remengesau Sr. President Remengesau Sr. will be remembered for his storied political career and selfless contributions to his nation and people.
“In particular, I join the Palauan community on Guam in mourning his passing. First Gentleman Jeff, Lieutenant Governor Josh, and I extend our prayers to President Remengesau Sr.’s family during this difficult time.”CNMI Gov. Torres and Lt. Gov. Palacios described Remengesau Sr. made a lasting impact on Palau and the Pacific.
“He was a true leader for Palau, spearheading the nation’s transition from the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands to an independent republic. In the midst of political turbulence and uncertainty, President Remengesau Sr. was a voice of reason and a steady public servant, advocating for a political status that would yield the greatest benefits for the Palauan people,” Torres and Palacios said in a statement.
They said Remengesau Sr. “served honorably as a role model for Palau and Micronesia as a whole, and we are deeply saddened that the Pacific has lost a great man and a true statesman in every sense of the word.”
“The Marianas and Palau remain historically connected by culture, family, and tradition, and we continue to strengthen the ties that bind us together. Please know that we are with President Tommy Remengesau Jr., the Remengesau family, and our Palauan brothers and sisters during this time of mourning,” they said.
In a letter to President Remengesau Sr., Guam Speaker Tina Muna Barnes said, “There are no words that can express how saddened we are to hear of your loss. Your father stepped up to serve his people; his selflessness, sacrifice, vision, and love for his People will never be forgotten.”
“We hope that the love of family and friends will comfort and strengthen you in the days ahead. When we lose one of our Micronesian brothers and sisters, the entire Blue Continent joins you in cherishing the life he lived and the legacy he left. Jake and I join the Palauan Community of Guam during this time of mourning and extend our prayers to you and your family during this time of sorrow,” Muna Barnes wrote.
Born on Nov. 28, 1929, Remengesau Sr. was Palau’s vice president from 1985 to 1988, and acting President of Palau twice (1985 and 1988–1989), following the violent deaths of two previous presidents.
Remengesau was elected as vice president in the special election in August 1985. After the shooting of President Lazarus Salii in August 1988, Remengesau became the President of Palau until Ngiratkel Etpison was sworn in January 1989.
Remengesau was married to Ferista Esang Remengesau, who served as First Lady of Palau during her husband's brief terms as president. They had eight children.