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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (Marianas Variety, March 30) – Former Republic of Palau Senate President Johnny Reklai was laid to rest on the grounds of Ked, Choll , Friday and for the first time the new capitol was used for a state funeral.

[PIR Editors Note: Choll is a village south of Ngarchelong State on the northernmost part of the largest island of Babeldaob. Palau’s new capitol is situated in Melkeok State, located in the central part of Babeldaob.]

Reklai was remembered by his colleagues, leaders and friends as a man of simplicity despite his successes "a man who sought compromise , not confrontation."

Hundreds attended Reklai’s state funeral at the capitol where a touching tribute was given to him at the legislative building.

Reklai’s casket was escorted by the Bureau of Public Safety and his family and friends from his home in Ngesaol, Koror to the capitol in Melekeok starting at 10 a.m.

Sen. Joshua Koshiba cannot contain his emotion while he delivered the eulogy for Reklai.

Reklai’s colleagues in the National Legislature (Olbiil Era Kelulau), friends and business partners also showed an outpouring of grief while the eulogy was being read.

Reklai passed away on March 11, in a spear fishing accident.

Remengesau in his remarks during the state funeral service said that it’s a sad day for Palau, "We have lost a great statesman, a family man, a friend, a colleague, a businessman and a neighbor."

"Today and since his death, all of the political issues usually so prevalent in this set of impressive new buildings has been lain aside, and the true kinship and loyalty we all feel for the late Senate President comes through with the strength and resilience," Remengesau said.

The president said Palau is mourning for the loss of a public and business leader.

A joint resolution honoring Reklai was presented by Sen. Mlib Tmetuchl to the family while the Yap State and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Island also passed resolutions paying tribute to the former senator.

Sen. Alan Seid read condolences messages and a slide show, a 21-gun salute and the presentation of the Palau flag to the family capped the final ceremony for Reklai.

From the capitol, Reklai’s casket was carried to Ngerbuked, Ngaraard to Choll and to his final resting place.

Off island guests, local and foreign dignitaries attended the funeral. Reklai begun his political career in 1979 when he was selected as a member of the Fifth Constitutional Convention of Palau representing Ngarchelong.

Reklai subsequently served in the House of Delegates in the First, Second and Third Palau National Legislature (known locally as Olbiil Era Kelulau).

Reklai was elected to his first term as senator in the 4th Palau National Legislature until the 7th Palau National Legislature.

Reklai was also a successful businessman and he owned and operated business ventures in several fields including investment and development, shipping, retail finance tourism and the media.

Reklai was born on July 1, 1948 to the late Reklai Baul of the State of Ngarchelong and Remurang Reklai of the State of Ngaraard.

Reklai attended Koror Elementary School, graduated from Palau High School and attended the University of Guam.

He is survived by his wife Loretta Wong and daughters Everlyn Joy Belelai Temengil, Ludee Reklai Ngeluk, and Dee Lola Reklai, son Reklsong Ngellitel Reklai and grandchildren and numerous brothers and sisters.

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