Land court judges: Grace Yano, Uduch Sengebau-Senior and Theodosia Blailes on the right.

The first governor of Angaur State, and the first woman to become a governor in Palau, Theodosia Faustino Blailes, was a trailblazer, an educator, an author, a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, a role model, a Palauan woman and a proud Angaurian to her children, her people and the people whose lives she touched throughout her long, illustrious life.

“Growing up, we only knew the soft, gentle, loving mamang, but since coming back to Palau and talking to different people that knew my grandmother, I’ve learned other sides of her, the tough leader and hardworking professional,” said Rebluud Golia, grandson of former Governor Theodosia Blailes, who was raised in the United States and chose to come to Palau to teach at Palau High School.

Passing away at the age of 87,  Dirraiterir, Dirachesuroi, former governor and former judge, Theodosia Faustino Blailes, leaves a proud legacy for her descendants and the people of Angaur State.

Born on June 18, 1936, former governor Theodosia Blailes experienced the Second World War at the age of 8, hiding inside phosphate caves until liberated 36 days later, a harrowing experience for a young child.

From this, Blailes achieved remarkable accomplishments yet remained humble that her grandchildren were not fully aware of the work she did until after her passing.

She was the first female to serve as Land Court Judge  (1977) and was elected twice as Governor of Angaur State from 1993 to 1996.  She was the first governor of Angaur State and the first woman to be elected governor in Palau history.

As a Governor of Angaur, in 1994, she filed a lawsuit on behalf of her State against Japan, the USA, and Germany, seeking redress for her people who suffered torture and intimidation by foreign powers to have their lands relinquished for phosphate mining.

Starting out as a teacher in 1962 and worked as a curriculum developer in education until 1989. Throughout the period, she attended numerous trainings., She was passionate about preserving the Palauan language, and authored and published ten books, Bersoech er a Elechui (1971), Rengalek er a Belau el Milil, Reading Level 1 and Level 2, Orrenges me a Dedaes, Sils ma Ralm ma Eolt, Medechibelau, Olik ra Idabeluochel, Monguie e Moluches: Primary reading and writing manual and Keo me a Molu.

She was a devoted Palau historian, and after she retired, she continued to contribute to the education sector in publications, Palauan Revised Orthography Manual, Belauan Orthography and Grammar, and  Ngeaur Er A Irechar Me A Chelchang.

To her family, she was most accomplished as a wife, a mother, and a grandmother.  “She was a devoted wife to her late husband Feliciano “Sano” Blailes, a loving mother to her children Teresa Faustino Golia, John Faustino, Efrin Tmekei Peterson, and Gordon Blailes, and a doting grandmother to her 13 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

She bore the traditional title of Dirachesuroi from her home state of Angaur and held the title of Dirraiterir as the wife of chief Ngiraiterir of Ulimang, Ngaraard.  She served on the national Board of Historians, as well as a founding member of Lukes, the Angaur Women’s Club.

A joint resolution from the national congress, the 11th Olbiil Era Kelulau, expressed OEK’s condolences and acknowledged her contributions to Palau and to her state of Angaur.

Former Governor Dirachesuroi Theodosia Faustino Blailes’s funeral is held today, Friday, January 6, 2023, in Koror and will proceed to her State of Angaur for burial on the same day.

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