The Kaselehlie Press Federated States of Micronesia, March 29 - The FSM is in mourning after the loss of their first President, the honorable Tosiwo Nakayama who died at 4:30 p.m. Hawaii time at Kaizer Hospital in Ewa on March 29. He was 75 years old.
When people of the FSM talk about President Nakayama, who many have called the "George Washington of the FSM", they tend to use the hushed reverent tones reserved for people of the utmost importance. President Nakayama made an impact on people's lives in the FSM. Because of his life and work, the FSM is an independent self governing nation.
Ieske Iehsi said, "He was a statesman like I've never seenůso humble and yet a great leader." Iehsi said that just after the session of Congress in which Nakayama was elected as the first President of the FSM he came to Iehsi immediately afterward and said, "Come with me. We're going to build the executive branch of the government."
Iehsi said, "I'm at a loss to express how deeply I felt about the man," and then fell into a period of speechlessness. When he came back to himself he said, "The man was an institution in itself."
We asked everyone that could be reached, "What do you think was President Nakayama's greatest accomplishment?" The general response was similar to Iehsi's who said after he sifted through the former President's myriad accomplishments, "It was his steadfast determination to bring FSM to self government in spite of the odds."
One anonymous post on Micronesia Seminar's Forum on the internet said that President Nakayama claimed that his "number one job was being a dad," and he did that job well for all eleven of his children, for his twenty nine grandchildren and for his three great-grandchildren. They refer to him as "Papa". Indeed, the entire nation could rightly do so.
Former President Tosiwo Nakiyama was born November 23, 1931 on Piserach Island, part of Nomwunweito Atoll in what is now known as Chuuk which was then called Truk.
In 1955 he was awarded a Trust Territory Scholarship that allowed him to study for two years at University High School and for two years at the University of Hawaii. Upon his return in 1958 from his formal education experience he was appointed as the Supervisor of Adult Education. He was later appointed as the Political and Economic Advisor to the District Administration. Later he served his people in the Truk District Legislature and was President of that assembly from 1960 to 1961.
After his term in Truk he was appointed as the Micronesian Advisor to the United States Delegation to the United Nations Trusteeship Council after which he returned to Micronesia by way of Europe and Asia.
In 1962 he was elected by the people to the Council of Micronesia and served there until 1963. In the following year he was appointed as the Assistant District Administrator for Public Affairs - Truk.
On September 10, 1963 he was married to Miter Haruo in Chuuk. In 1965 he was elected to the House of Delegates of the Congress of Micronesia. During the organizational meeting of that body he was again elected President, this time over the Congress.
He was a member of the Truk District Scholarship Committee, the Truk Review Advisory Board, the Truk District Recreational Committee, the Truk Board of Education, as well as many other boards and committees.
On July 12 1978, history was made in what has become the Federated States of Micronesia. A constitutional convention was held and United Nations determined it was a legitimate act of self-determination. One commentator said that "the people reasserted their inherent sovereignty which had remained dormant, but intact, throughout the years of stewardship by the League of Nations and the United Nations."
In May of 1979, statehood was declared for Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae and an elected Congress was seated. From their number, His Excellency Tosiwo Nakayama was once again elected as President, this time he was at the helm of a new nation.
He oversaw the orderly transfer of governmental functions from the United States of America from 1979 to 1986 and served on until 1987, his maximum constitutionally allowable term. In October of 1987 he took a position with the Bank of Guam, Chuuk Branch as the Vice President for Governmental Affairs, a position he held until December of 2003.
His health began to fail in 1992 when he had his first stroke from which he recovered well. In 1998 he had quintuple bypass surgery. Some time later he had laser surgery on one of his eyes which left him partially blind. In the summer of 2005 he underwent surgery for a pacemaker in order to stimulate his weak heart. Three days after that surgery he had an additional stroke that left him paralyzed and unable to speak though he was completely cognizant.
The 14th Congress of the FSM passed a bill that was signed into law by current President Joseph Urusemal in July of 2006 that allocated money to help the family with mounting medical bills for the nation's first President.
In February of this year former President Nakayama entered the hospital. He succumbed to his body's final demands on the 29th of March.
Letters and cards of condolence can be sent to: P.O. Box 419 Weno, Chuuk FM 96942 Federated States of Micronesia
At press time there was talk of a state funeral in Palikir before President Nakayama's remains are flown to Chuuk, his final resting place. The date for the state funeral there is not currently certain His family would like to give their special thanks to their own family members and their friends for helping them to take care of President Nakayama in his latter days.
They especially want to thank Sydnina, his daughter, who was the primary caretaker for her father in his latter days.
The nation proudly remembers the contributions of President Tosiwo Nakayama, architect of a nation.