By HELEN TARAWA in Wewak
Ludwig Somare Sana, the father of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare had three wives. Two of them were from East Sepik and the third was from Bogia in Madang.
The first wife was Bertha Painari from Karau. When she died, he married Anastasia Kambe from Mendam. The he married Christina Siar from Bogia in Madang.
He and Bertha had four children. Sir Michael was the eldest followed by Theresia Maki. Both were born in Rabaul, Maki died and was buried there.
Third-born Rosa was born in Bitapaka, Kokopo, East New Britain. The youngest Theresia Buangawa was born in Wewak. She died after being attacked by a crocodile.
When Bertha died, police officer Ludwig married first cousin Anastasia. They had a son Paul.
He later married his third wife Christina from Bogia. They had a daughter Helen.
Paula told of how their dad Ludwig was the first man to introduce the cooperative society to Angoram district.
“After retirement from the police force, our father returned home to Angoram where he started the cooperative society.
“Because of his background in law and order, he also conducted mediation in the village courts.
“Sir Michael travelled a lot but he made sure we were taken care of, especially our two sisters.
“I was in the police force so I would often visit him.
“When I joined the mobile squad, I became a close protection officer and looked after a section called the PM’s Squad.
“I had about 30 policemen working under me to provide security for Sir Michael.
“ (Sir Michael) never said a word to any of us before he left. He just asked for us to be there. So we all turned up. There were no parting words.”
“When I retired from the police force, I was recalled to McGregor and attached to the unit looking after Sir Michael.
“When I was appointed bodyguard, I worked closely with him. We were at Mirigini where the home of the commander of PM’s Squad was. So I was close to him.”
Paul recalls that Sir Michael always sent for his siblings to visit him, especially the sisters.
“I worked with him until he went to Singapore for his medical treatment. Then I retired.”
Paul told of how Sir Michael wanted all his surviving siblings to be by his bedside in hospital in Port Moresby before he passed away on Feb 26.
“When he was sick before he passed on, we were all there with him, plus his children.
“He never said a word to any of us before he left. He just asked for us to be there.
“So we all turned up. There were no parting words.”
Rosa told of how Sir Michael, when he was admitted at the Pacific International Hospital, asked for her three times.
“So we were all right there with him before he departed.”
Paul knows of how deeply Sir Michael loved his wife Lady Veronica.
“In Port Moresby during the funeral service, Lady Veronica was taken away well before the service ended. There was thunder and rain.
“It was an indication that he did not want them to part. Even on his sick bed, they were holding hands. Their love for each other was so great.”
And only until death did they part.