Mark Takai, along with Sen. Maize Hirono and others championed WWII Filipino veterans on their cause. He served in Hawaii’s 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2015-2016. He passed away on July 20 after battling cancer. He was 49.
CAPTION: MARK TAKAI (D-HI)
Congressman Takai was among the first to co-sponsor HR 2737, the Filipino Veterans Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015, soon as it was introduced in June 2015. In January that same year, the first bill he introduced in Congress was the bipartisan Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act, which would lift the numerical number on family visas for children of Filipino Veterans of World War II and honor the promises made to them. The bill was later included in the inter-agency recommendations to modernize and streamline the U.S. Immigrant Visa System, which led to the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole (FWVP) Program.
With his stalwart leadership, the veterans who have waited for as long as 20 years – are now able to come to the United States and reunite with their loved ones. As he has stated more than once, “it is our inherent responsibility to take care of those who fought for our country. We owe a debt of gratitude to all veterans, especially the thousands of Filipino American World War II veterans who are still alive and are fighting to be reunited with their families.”
Takai served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as the Base Operations Officer (Camp Mayor) at Camp Patriot, Kuwait, from February 2009 to September 2009.
Mark Takai was a lieutenant colonel of the Hawaii Army National Guard. Takai's official date of rank as Lieutenant Colonel was May 14, 2013. (Jon Melegrito)
Santiago Alvarez Maroon, a World War II Veteran, 92, died on July 22. A native of Atimonan, Quezon, where he served for many years as a Barangay captain, he moved with his sons Robert (Gemma) and Adolfo (Luming) to the Chicago and Lincolnwood area. He was active in the Atimonan and Quezon Associations. A wake was held at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home on July 25. A funeral mass was celebrated at Queen of All Saints Basilica and burial took place at Maryhill Cemetery July 25 in Niles.
Amparo "Petite" Quinol, nee Tolentino, 75, died on July 4. She was the mother of Rubi (Laurence) Halaska, Pia (Giusto) Romano and Angelica "Gigi" (Ben) Greene; Lola of Amber and Reise Halaska, Claudio and Adrien Romano and Nina Skyler Greene; sibling of Bruce Ph.D. (Rory) Tolentino, Nieves (late Buddy) Cenzon, Eden (Greg) Ang; Tita of many; partner of Julian Banzon, M.D.
Visitation July 9 & 10 at Colonial-Wojciechowski Funeral Home in Niles. Funeral was July 11 with prayers from the funeral home to St. Isaac Jogues Church for Mass. Interment Maryhill Catholic Cemetery, Niles.
Leonilo Alvarez Laude passed away on July 6. He was 67. He was a resident of Chicago; son of the late Pastor & Librada Laude; husband of Romana Laude (nee Razote); father of Leonilo (Evamarie) S.R. Laude; grandfather of Jade, Saige, Jefferey, Jason, and Skylar; Brother of Loida Llanos; son-in-law of Tina Razote; uncle of many nieces and nephews. Arrangements under the direction of Drake & Son Funeral Home, Chicago, IL.
Benjamin A. Jimenez died on July 2 at the age of 88. He was the husband of Josefina, nee Bautista, and the late Lydia, nee Valmonte; father of Socorro (Oscar) Basa, Emmanuel (Cheryl), Benjamin Jr. (Mary Lourdes), Carlos and the late Dennis (Christine) Jimenez. Grandpa of Amanda, Stephanie, Andrew, Nicole, Caitlyn, Christopher, Marlene and Ethan. Visitation July 7 at Colonial-Wojciechowski Funeral Home in Niles. Funeral July 8 from the funeral home to St. John Brebeuf Church for funeral mass. Interment Maryhill Catholic Cemetery.
Juanita Lim died on July 11. She was 83. Her wake was held at Drake & Son Funeral Home in Chicago on July 15. Final prayers were held the next day. She was a member of the Cosmopolitan United Church.
Juanita J. Jimenez passed away on the morning of July 16. She was born the youngest of thirteen children in Manangat, Caoayan, Ilocus Sur to the late Antonio and Pelagia Jimenez. In 1956, she immigrated to Chicago as one of the first group of Filipino nurses to join the American workforce. She began her career as a Staff Nurse and was later promoted to Nurse Supervisor at Thorek Memorial Hospital. In December 1961, she received the first ever "Nurse of the Year" award from Thorek Memorial Hospital. She later retired as a Charge Nurse at Columbus Hospital after 41 years of service. She was the aunt of Clemente (Imelda) Gascon, Rizal (Digna) Jimenez, and Lourdes (Eduardo) Quisisem; aunt and grandaunt to many nieces and nephews both in the United States and in the Philippines.
Wake was held at Drake & Son Funeral Home in Chicago. Funeral mass held July 23 at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. Interment is at Maryhill Cemetery in Niles, IL.
Editha Chunaco Alfonso died on June 22 surrounded by her loved ones. She was 71. She resided in Des Plaines, IL. She was born in Quezon City. She was the sister, sister-in-law, aunt, great aunt, niece, cousin, godmother, great-godmother and friend to many. Editha is survived by her brother Jun and Isabelita Rosales whom she claims is "the sister she never had." She was a strong, devout Catholic who was a beacon of light in everyone's lives. She received her Bachelor's in Nursing Science from the University of Santo Tomas. Editha had a rewarding career as a registered nurse, working in the NICU at Cook County Hospital for almost 30 years. Wake was held at Oehler Funeral Home in Des Plaines, IL.
William G. Difuntorum, 70, died on July 22. Retired USPS Mail Carrier for over 22 years. He was a native of Agoo, La Union. He was from Elk Grove Village. He was the husband of Teresita, father of Walter (Maryann), Wesley (Felicia) and Tricia Ann (DJ) Garcia. Grandfather of Deion, Kayla, AJ, Jaden, Desiree, Ashley and Darius; son of Dominador and Catalina Difuntorum; brother of Virginia San Juan, Agnes, (Ruben) Esguerra, Danny and Lilibeth (Michael) Cacioppo. Visitation July 25 at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home in Chicago. Interment private.