Former Governor Teno laid to rest

THE longest-serving governor in CNMI history, Pedro Teno Pangelinan Tenorio, was laid to rest in the Chalan Kanoa cemetery at just past 12:30 p.m., Tuesday.

Former Governor Teno passed away at the hospital at 2:35 a.m. on May 21, 2018. He was 84.

From 8 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. at Mount Carmel Cathedral and prior to the interment on Tuesday,  members of the public paid their last respects to one of the islands’ most beloved political figures.

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Gloria W. Hunter delivers the eulogy during the funeral Mass for former Gov. Pedro Teno Pangelinan Tenorio, Tuesday, at Mount Carmel Cathedral.  Photo by David Butterfield

“That’s the longest line of people I’ve ever seen in all the funerals I’ve been to,” Gloria W. Hunter said in her eulogy which followed the public visitation. Hunter served for three years as staffer to Teno when he was Senate president, and 12 years as his special assistant for programs and legislative review when he was governor.

“Governor Teno was genuinely kind, generous, humble, and compassionate towards others —  he was generous to a fault,” Hunter said in her eulogy.

“Governor Teno made a very positive difference in so many lives, including mine. I will be forever grateful for having known him, and extremely blessed for having worked with such a great boss. I assure you this admiration, love and respect is shared by many of his long-time staff and others who had the  privilege of working under his administration.”

Bishop Ryan Jimenez, assisted by the rest of the CNMI clergy, presided over the funeral Mass.

“It was a beautiful, moving service,” said a community member who declined to be identified. “It befits the man we honor today.”

Besides ordinary members of the community, the CNMI’s top political leaders and elected officials, including visiting Palau President Tommy Remengesau as well as former and current government officials, were among those who attended the Mass.

Former Gov. Juan N. Babauta, his running-mate, former Education Commissioner Rita A. Sablan, and their spouses were also there as well as Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres, first lady Diann Torres, Senate President Arnold I. Palacios, Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog, U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan and his wife Andrea.

In his homily, Bishop Jimenez said there is a time for everything, and former Governor Teno had  served his time well as a public servant, as husband to his wife, former first lady Sophie Tenorio, for 59 years, as father to their children and grandfather to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“Now it is his time to return to our Creator,” the bishop said.

Teno’s daughter-in-law, Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio, delivered a message of appreciation on behalf of the former governor’s family.

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The sons and sons-in-law of former Gov. Pedro Teno Pangelinan Tenorio carry his casket after the funeral mass at Mount Carmel Cathedral, Tuesday.  Photo by Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

Father Isaac Ayuyu blessed the casket with holy water and incense before it was carried out of the cathedral by his sons and sons-in-law and brought to the nearby Chalan Kanoa cemetery where Department of Public Safety officers fired a 21-gun-salute in honor of the late governor.

“Goodbye Daddy — we love you Daddy!” his children said while his casket was lowered into his grave.

Governor Torres ordered CNMI  and U.S. flags to be flown on half-staff until sunset of Tuesday

In the Trust Territory era, Teno served in the Congress of Micronesia and the Marianas District Legislature. He was vice president of the 1st CNMI Senate and president of the 2nd. He was governor from 1982 to 1990, and from 1998 to 2002.