Eduardo Salas Terlaje, a former vice speaker and four-term senator of the Guam Legislature, who is also the father of Speaker Therese Terlaje, died Thursday at the age of 87.
Eduardo Terlaje is considered a pioneering CHamoru lawyer who began practicing law locally in 1960.
The island’s elected leaders extended their condolences and tributes to his public service.
“For his inspiring legacy, preserved and perpetuated by his loved ones and children, including the Honorable Speaker Therese Terlaje, we will forever hold their father in our hearts,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero stated. "We send our sincere sympathies and condolences to his children, Edward, Thomas, Ricardo, Therese, Maria, John, Paul, Anita, Mike, Timothy, Christopher, and their families."
Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio noted the former vice speaker was a member of the island’s “greatest generation,” and “deeply prized” hard work and education.
“With visionary leadership, Vice Speaker Terlaje championed legislation expanding compulsory education to ensure our youngest children received the fullness of their education and were spared the brunt of criminal convictions,” Tenorio said. “He further had the foresight to build up opportunities for the people of Guam to obtain training in technical skills and labor to meet the increasing demands of evolving industries and professions.”
Eduardo Terlaje's daughter’s legislative colleagues also expressed their sadness and support.
“His long legacy of service lives on in the many lives he touched with his intelligence and good nature. It thrives in the work of his children, most especially our colleague, Speaker Therese Terlaje,” Vice Speaker Tina Muña Barnes stated. “Vice Speaker Edward Terlaje was a true advocate for our people and served our island with the utmost humility, integrity and respect.”
Barnes noted that Eduardo Terlaje testified before Congress to grant Guam a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, and helped establish kindergarten locally.
Sen. Chris Duenas, the legislative minority leader, told The Guam Daily Post that Eduardo Terlaje and his father were friends, and recalls the pair meeting up outside the Terlaje law offices during the Liberation Day parade.
“Every time we lose someone of his stature, it just brings to mind - whatever we have on Guam, our government, our opportunities - it’s all because of men like him and their generation. Their dignity and aura, that’s hard to come by,” Duenas said.
The governor has ordered flags on the island to be flown at half-staff until Aug. 22.