FRANK QUESADA: FACLA MEMORIAL SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT / NOTE OF THANKS AND APPRECIATION FROM FRANK'S BROTHER
[Photo at left - from left: Romeo Crespo (son-in-law), Christine Crespo (daughter), Margaret Tumanpos (daughter), Gregg Tumanpos (son-in-law, at back), Sonia Calaranan (sister, at front), Myra Bangsil (niece), Romulo Quesda (brother) and Lourdes Quesada (wife).
MANILA, FEBRUARY 11, 2008, (Special to PHNO) In behalf of the family of the deceased, Col (Ret.) Frank B. Quesada, we convey our sincerest thanks and appreciation for your expression of sympathy and condolences.
During this hour of bereavement, your kind thoughts and prayers eased the suffering of the loved ones he left behind. We are grateful for all the things you have done for him and for us.
The last rites were performed on the afternoon of Friday, February 8, 2008 here in Las Vegas, Nevada. The body is scheduled for cremation on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 and ashes will be brought to the Philippines to be interred next to his mother at Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque City, in accordance with his expressed wish.
Romulo B. Quesada
For the the benefit of our relatives over there, this is the response I delivered Friday.
In behalf of the family of Col. (Ret.) Frank B. Quesada, present here are his wife, Lourdes, daughter Peachy and husband Buboy, daughter Cherrie Pie and husband Greg, niece Myra, sister Sonia and myself Romulo (my other brother Nestor is in the Philippines and is unable to attend), I thank you all for being present here during the hour of bereavement. I thank those, who in one way or another extended help and assistance (they are too many to cite individually). I thank those who conveyed words of sympathy and condolences. I thank those who included Frank in their prayers.
Special thanks go to the representatives of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association for conducting the just concluded memorial service and those who came from distant places and made extra effort to be here.
The passing of someone, much loved at that, is a great loss to those of us he left behind. In sorrow and mourning, we now have the imprint of fond memories in our minds. We will always cherish the happy moments we had together and the good deeds he rendered to others. He was dedicated to the military affairs and veterans welfare, a labor of love on his part.
He was devoted to his family, an adoring husband, a loving father and endearing brother. I can speak more of him as a brother.
We lost our father when i was in grade school right after World War II. He assumed the role of head of the family and wage earner. With my mother's efficient household management, all of us siblings were able to complete our college education: Nestor, the second eldest, is a Certified Public Account; Orlando, who passed away in 2000 was a mechanical engineer; Romulo (that is me) is a civil engineer and our youngest Sonia has a degree in Home Economics. I attribute these circumstances the reason he married late. He allocated a great portion of his life to our well-being. His devotion to us is immeasurable. For all that, we are grateful and loved him very dearly.
In closing, let me recite to you the "Pleyel's Hymn"
by Brother Ignatz Joseph Pleyel
[Lyrics Written by Brother David Vinton, 1816]
Solemn strikes the funeral chime!
Notes of our departing time,
As we journey here below,
On a pilgrimage of woe.
Brothers, now indulge a tear,
For mortality is here!
See how wide her trophies wave,
O'er the slumbers of the grave.
Here another guest we bring,
Seraphs of celestial wing,
To our funeral altar come,
Waft a friend and brother home.
Lord of all, below, above,
Fill our hearts with Truth and Love.
As dissolves our earthly tie,
Take us to Thy Lodge on High.
[PHOTO AT LEFT - Eulogy for Colonel Francisco B Quesada BY Cav. Irwin Ver, PMA Class 1970, Colonel, AFP, (Ret.)]
Firstly, to Mrs. Lou Quesada, his daughters and all of Col Quesada's family, may I convey the deepest sympathies and condolences of the entire membership of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association (PMAAA).
Col Francisco Quesada was an associate member of PMA class 1944 and while in residence at the Bay Area, he was a part of the Northern California chapter, which I represent. When he moved to Nevada a couple of years ago, the chapter did not remove his name from the membership roster. He was such a highly respected and very much admired a member to be removed from the list. Indeed, while time and again he expressed pride in being an associate member, the PMAAA is prouder to claim him a member within our ranks. For our organization which touts the values of courage, integrity and loyalty, finds those virtues wonderfully embodied in Col Quesada.
We called him Ka Frank; the prefix 'Ka' is what we use to address each other, short for cavalier, or kasama (comrade) or kapatid (brother). For he was every bit a PMA cavalier, a brother officer, one whose courage was challenged, tested and validated countless of times in the battlefield; one whose integrity was as pure as when he faced certain death, he chose to utter the veritable truth, and one whose loyalty was enduring to the last breath, steadfastly defending the rights of his fellow veterans in the continuing struggle to gain equity.
My first encounter with Ka Frank was some 30 years ago and for the last 15 years I would meet him occasionally at veterans and community events. We communicated by email, and I would seek his advise and guidance concerning the veterans advocacy, his lifelong passion, and he was a wonderful resource of Philippine military history for his almost photographic memory of names and events during the World War.
In turn I received from him the attention of an older brother, almost fatherly, counseling me with such classic declaratives like ... "The truth will always win" “Fame is the perfume of a heroic deed" or "Men of culture are disciples of parity"
Sometimes he was my protector. For instance not too long ago, in an email exchange with another cavalier where I confided that my job with an NFL team might be in jeopardy because of my military position during the Marcos years, Ka Frank emailed "I can't help but butt in. If there's any such dastardly comments or remarks regarding Irwin's active military service during martial law, they will meet equally forceful retort from me." This is so typical of Ka Frank. There is this strong and vigorous demeanor to defend what is "right over might, with no qualms, standing firm without relenting."
But what he is quite opposite to what you see of his external persona … humble, unpretentious, and often so quiet to a fault, no flash or cockiness in spite of his long accomplishments. Indeed, as a member of the greatest generation of the past century, that fabulous generation of men who fought World War II, Ka Frank was a giant among his peers.
He was an undaunted warrior, a prolific writer, a fearless debater, a non-compromising stickler to the mission at hand. He was as driven in the jungles of the Sierra Madre mountains of the Philippines as a famed member of the legendary Hunters-PMA-ROTC guerillas which swept the foothills of Japanese invaders, as he was energetic in the halls of the Philippine Senate and in the US Congress, formulating, administering and lobbying for benefits for his fellow veterans.
He was as brave as they come. Participating at the head point of the fiercest fighting in the liberation of Manila and in particular in a joint operation of the Hunters PMA-ROTC guerillas and the US 11th Airborne division to liberate American POWs in Los Banos, Laguna, Ka Frank led the cell-to-cell search resulting in the triumphant release of 2146 American soldiers. This celebrated military victory was described by Gen Colin Powell as "a storybook operation for all ages and nations."
It is said that we are brave because we fear death or humiliation more, but what do we say of those who do not fear death? Ka Frank was held Prisoner of War by the Japanese Kempe Tai (military police) in Paete, Laguna in July 1943. Barely 19 years old, together with 2000 captives were they repeatedly tortured for 8 days and nights, and he was tied to a bench and at times was left hanging upside down from the ceiling. "Several attempts to drown me through the suffocating "water cure" and heavy blows broke my back, albeit, failed to get what the Japanese wanted me to confess." At one point a samurai sword was poised above his bent neck, his head ready to be decapitated, but like a broken record gave the same consistent negative replies to repeated questions seeking the whereabouts of the guerillas. He had vowed to die as a man rather than be a traitor against his comrades, and deny the cause of freedom. "Death would be my best friend rather than surviving as a stool pigeon." Fortunately, from that ordeal he was saved by a magnanimous Japanese Christian officer.
At war's end, Ka Frank took a new weapon, a mighty pen. And how he wrote with a passion! He could be as incisive as a surgeon with his cutting phrases: "Pretenders that beguile constituents and pocket public wealth are worthy only for the gallows." But his fundamentals were always clear "our mission is to tell the truth, and to make our Inang Bayan (motherland) be free, free from evil that stalks the nation."
By reading his article about his family tree, we can understand more of what Ka Frank was all about. He wrote of his ancestors "they simply would not stand to what is inane and obtuse; they strongly uphold what is correct." And in the same vein, he wrote and I suspect he was describing himself: "emphasize humility and simple pleasure in life with family and friends. Bereft of pretenses, very down-to-earth and abhor hypocrisy. Uneasy upon seeing intolerance, injustice and fraud."
With these strong and passionate traits, it was no wonder then that Ka Frank, and luckily it was Ka Frank, who would be at the spearhead of the Filipino veterans cause. He was one of the founders of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines, and at one point became the sole voice and representative of all war veterans and their compulsory heirs. Later, he extended his veterans’ advocacy as a consultant to the Office of Veterans Affairs in Washington D.C. And through all these years, yes very long years, we've known all too familiar now, how much a valiant advocate he was for veterans rights, passionately and resolutely fighting in the gargantuan struggle for fairness, justice and equality.
We mourn today, his loss, wondering whether this staunch voice of the Filipino American veterans has been silenced forever. We grieve because of the uncertainty of who would carry on the torch he held so high. We pray and wish that his warrior soul may live on in another leader's spirit.
But we find solace in the knowledge, despite the battle still raging, that this gallant warrior is finally at rest. He has heard his last reveille, and tonight, his final taps. And we need not ponder long how his life has been, for as he himself had written: "the true measure of a man's success is not on how many men serves him - but how many men he had served." Ka Frank served two countries honorably, and his fellow veterans, he gave them his entire life until his final breath.
Farewell, Ka Frank!
I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one. I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when my life is done. I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways. Of happy times and laughing times and bright sunny days. I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun. Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.
Note: Cav. Irwin Ver, PMA Class 1970, Colonel, AFP, (Ret.). By Pete Shane Feliciano
We deeply regret that I have previous commitments in Los Angeles for today and I could not make it to Las Vegas.
We are, however, scheduling a memorial service for Colonel Quesada in Los Angeles on time for the visit of the Hon. Jerry Adevoso, the Presidential Assistant for Veterans Affairs. Mr. Adevoso maintained very close and cordial relations with Colonel Quesada for so many years, as he is the son of the famed guerilla leader, Brig. Gen. Terry Adevoso, Colonel Quesada's wartime comrade.
The tentative schedule of the memorial service is Feb. 23, 2008, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Social Hall of the Filipino-American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA), 1740 West Temple St., Los Angeles, CA 90026.
We will confirm the date and location after we receive the final itinerary of Mr. Adevoso, who is coming to the United States to push the Filipino Veterans' lobby.BTW I informed Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon, Deputy Consul General Daniel Espiritu and their staff of Colonel Quesada's death during the press conference at the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles on Feb. 6, 2008.
Our diplomats want to let you know that they share the Quesada Family's loss of a great Filipino freedom fighter and they will participate in the coming memorial service.With our collective prayers, condolence and sympathy,Bobby M. Reyes
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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