Former PNG Governor General Sir Tore Lokoloko Dies

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‘Foremost founding father’ suffered from respiratory failure

By Ephata Samuel

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 14, 2013) – Senior statesman and former Governor-General Sir Tore Lokoloko has died.

Sir Tore, from Iokea in the Gulf Province, died at 3:30am yesterday at the Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby from respiratory failure after a severe asthmatic attack.

Born on September 19, 1930, Sir Tore attended the London Missionary School in Iokea and was later a pioneer student at Sogeri High School.

He worked as a clerk with the Papua New Guinea Co-Operative Societies and later became the assistant registrar.

Sir Tore entered politics in 1972 as member for Kerema and served as Deputy Spokesman of the then Administrative Executive Council. He also served as Ministerial assistant for Health and Agriculture during the early stages of the development of the ministerial government.

In 1977, Sir Tore, who was a member of the United Party in the Opposition, was nominated by Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to be the second Governor-General, following the resignation of (late) Sir John Guise who was the first Governor-General at Independence in 1975.

Sir Tore was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II herself during her 1977 Silver Jubilee Royal Visit to Papua New Guinea. He was also bestowed the highest honor in the Royal Victorian Order, that of Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, GCVO.

Sir Tore is the only recipient of this award in Papua New Guinea.

Sir Tore served as the vice regal from 1977 to 1983. He and his wife Lady Lokoloko represented PNG at the wedding of Prince Charles and (late) Diana Spencer in England in 1981.

When his term expired, Sir Tore was appointed director of several boards of corporate institutions.

He had been suffering from asthma for the past few years. On Tuesday night at 9:30, Sir Tore was taken to PIH for his normal medication. At 1am he asked his eldest son Lokoloko to take him home so he could see his wife. At 2.30am after seeing his wife, they returned to PIH and about an hour later at 3.30 was pronounced dead from respiratory failure, following a severe asthmatic attack.

Sir Tore is survived by his beloved wife Lady Lalahaia, 11 children, 48 grand children and 51 great grand children.

A State funeral is being planned for early next week.

Meanwhile, condolence messages have been pouring in. Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio was saddened that PNG has lost a great leader in Sir Tore.

"The late Sir Tore believed in, and was a staunch advocate of national unity in the pre-independence era. He served our nation with distinction as a politician and later as the second Governor-General.

"Sir Tore was awarded the highest honor in the Royal Victorian Order by Her Majesty the Queen and this honor is only awarded any member of the royal family and viceroys. As the ninth Governor-General of PNG, I feel privileged to hold the post that Sir Tore once held as representative of Her Majesty the Queen. To the family and people of Gulf Province, my wife Lady Esmie and staff of Government House join me in expressing to you our heartfelt sorrow and prayers at this time of bereavement. To my colleague and friend Sir Tore Lokoloko, farewell," Sir Michael said.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill expressed heartfelt sorrow at the passing of one of the nation’s pre-eminent statesmen and former Governor-General Sir Tore Lokoloko.

He said the late Sir Tore was an exemplary senior citizen and lived a well respected and quiet life in retirement after holding office as PNG’s Second Governor-General.

"Our nation has lost one of our foremost founding fathers," Mr. O’Neill said.

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