A father to all


THE family of the late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare has hailed him as a loyal husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.
Daughter Betha said the man dubbed as the Father of the Nation was a “loyal husband to our mother and great father to her children, then grandchildren and great granddaughter”.
“But we are endeared that many Papua New Guineans equally embraced Sir Michael as father and grandfather.”
Sir Michael was born on April 9, 1936 in Rabaul, East New Britain where his father was serving as a policeman in the colonial administration.
They returned to their home in East Sepik later.
He passed away on Friday after he was hospitalised for pancreatic cancer.
Betha said the family was pleased that Sir Michael who was a man of great faith was given his last rites and anointing by Cardinal Sir John Ribat at his hospital bed.
“In our presence, Sir Michael opened his eyes to acknowledge the blessing by His Eminence before passing away peacefully. We take this opportunity to thank the Cardinal for making himself available so quickly.”
She said Sir Michael was diagnosed with a late stage of pancreatic cancer early last month and was admitted in hospital on Friday, Feb 19.
“Sadly, pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive cancers that is rarely detected early. We as a family had only two weeks to look for possible treatments for our father.”
Arrangements are being made to take Sir Michael’s body home to his final resting place in East Sepik.
“We his children know that it is the wish of both our parents to be laid together at Kreer Heights in Wewak.
“We thank everyone who worked so hard to save Sir Michael’s life be it through a medical evacuation, healthcare or providing transport.
“We also thank everyone who wrote in to express their support and offer their prayers to our father and our family. We are humbled.”

The Somare family (from left): Michael Jnr, Betha, Sir Michael, Sana, Dulciana, Lady Veronica and Arthur. – Picture courtesy of Dulciana Somare Brash’s Facebook page.