Guam mourns death of former Sen. John Salas

HAGÅTÑA — Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo has proclaimed a state of mourning while U.S. and Guam flags are flown at half-staff in honor of late former senator Dr. John Camacho Salas who passed away on Jan 26. He was 70.

“My wife Christine and I are deeply saddened by the passing of former Senator Dr. John Salas. He was a pioneer in our island’s education and a humble servant of this community. May God bless the Salas family during this difficult time,” Calvo said.

Salas had a distinguished career in public service as a deputy director of the Department of Education, became the first provost at the former Guam Vocational and Technical High School, which was later renamed Guam Community College. He also served as president of the University of Guam and had a successful tenure as a two-term senator in the 25th and 26th Guam Legislature.

John Camacho SalasJohn Camacho Salas

“Dr. John Salas displayed exceptional leadership. He was an inspiration to all around him, and was committed to improving education on the island. I am saddened by this loss and my prayers remain with the Salas family,” Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio said.

Guam’s Delegate to Congress, Madeleine Bordallo, said Guam “has lost a great leader,” who “championed many efforts to improve the quality of life for the people of Guam.”

Salas earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial education from Colorado State College in 1969. He was awarded a master of arts degree in vocational education and a PhD in technical and industrial education from the University of Connecticut in 1974. He was a 1965 graduate of Father Duenas High School.

Salas is survived by his wife Leslie Goodson Salas and, and children, Jason Arthur Salas and Stacy Lynne Salas.

“I join the people of Guam in honoring John’s service to our island and remembering his many contributions to our community. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Leslie, their family, and loved ones during this very difficult time,” Bordallo said.

On behalf of the 34th Guam Legislature, Speaker Benjamin Cruz joined the island in mourning the passing of Salas.

“As a former senator, visionary educator, and public servant, John brought the gift of possibility to generations of Guam’s students. While his passing gives us cause to grieve, the impact of his life and work will survive in others,” Cruz said.

Mary Okada, president of Guam Community College, said Salas’ contributions have made it possible for thousands of island residents to become successful members of our island’s economic community.

“As the first provost of Guam Community College, Dr. John Salas provided the vision and direction that enabled GCC to successfully drive workforce development on Guam and in the region,” Okada said. “GCC honors his memory, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”