October 19, 1938 - August 27, 2017
A statesman and proud Pacific Islander, Victorio Uherbelau was born on Angaur, one of 340 islands that make up the Republic of Palau in the Western Pacific. He attended local schools and graduated from the University of Hawaii. Vic received his juris doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.
In 1975, Vic served as Convention Secretary to the Micronesian Constitutional Convention, a cornerstone for the Federated States of Micronesia as a nation.
In 1979, Vic was elected to the Palau Constitutional Convention and was instrumental in the installation of Palau’s First Constitutional Government on January 1, 1981. Over the years, he served his country in several high positions including Director of the Bureau of Foreign Affairs, Acting Attorney General, and Special Advisor to several Palauan presidents.
Vic was also a member of Palau’s delegation to the United Nations Trusteeship Council for over a decade. For six years, he was the Executive Director of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, based in the Solomon Islands, which coordinates tuna fishing policies for 17 island nations including Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.
Vic was a gifted writer, voracious reader, and talented spear-fisherman, and he possessed an insatiable curiosity about politics. Although he traveled the world several times over, his heart always belonged to Palau and that is where, in the end, his generous, loving heart gave out.
Vic was preceded in death by his parents; several siblings; and two sons, Virginio “Bitk" Uherbelau and Virgines Uherbelau. He is survived by his brother, Obak Andres Uherbelau; sisters, Ebil Hilaria Akitaya and Evalista Smith, wife, Rachel Ngiruos-Uherbelau; his children, Elsie R. Uherbelau Kanai and Vaidil Uherbelau of Palau; Gaafar Uherbelau of Auckland, New Zealand; Angela Uherbelau and Becca Uherbelau of Portland, Oregon; Numa Asanuma of Austin, Texas; as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
At the time of his death, Vic held the traditional title of Talobak of the Ucheliou clan, 7th ranking chief of the Ngerbelau village of Angaur state.
Vic was immensely proud of his island country and unabashedly sentimental about his family. He was much loved and is deeply mourned.