ForeverMissed
Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat and deep gratitude for the abundant offering of condolences, prayers, and memories since our father went home to be with the Lord.  His beloved, our mom, has been so touched to hear how much our dad has impacted so many lives. These are our treasures as we dwell in this time of remembrance.

We hope you will take a moment to share your memories and stories on this memorial site. This space will serve as our dwelling, our gathering place for all of us during this pandemic when it is safer for us to be physically apart. We trust in the promise that our spiritual gathering transcends physical distance and that we can experience the reunion that funerals often become in our community here. We invite you to share your tributes here and individual notes may be mailed to Rosita Abesamis at 1115 Willow Ave. La Puente, CA 91746

Please also visit this private online guestbook to share your contact information.

During this global pandemic, our family requests your presence through livestream for Romeo's funeral celebration on his 87th birthday on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.
11:00 am  Livestream featuring Memorial Slide Presentation and pre-recorded tributes
11:30 am  Celebration of Life Service

Return here for zoom gatherings and funeral livestream links.
Virtual Gatherings with community/family groups (scheduling in progress):
First Fil-Am UMC of SGV members & friends
Abesamis Clan
Apolinario/Angeles Clan - Saturday, August 15, 2020 - 5 pm (PT); 8 pm (ET)/Sunday, Aug 16 8 am (Philippines)
Mga Inaanak sa kasal at binyag
Fil-Am Faith Community/Filipino Caucus/NAFAUM
Philippine Wesleyan College/Cabanatuan City
(Go to guestbook link above if you don't see a gathering for you.)
_______________________________________________________________________
In lieu of flowers, a memorial gift may be made to the following organization linked below in memory of Romeo M. Abesamis, Sr. and in honor and support of Noah Abesamis. Click here:
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - Orange County Chapter

In honor of our dad, American Center of Philippine Arts (ACPA) Rondalla has shared their beautiful music to enjoy while dwelling here. (www.philippinearts.org)

For more inquiries, email Rose Lynn at roselynn20@gmail.com or 626-695-0687
Posted by Aurora Garcia on July 31, 2020
Numerous memories flood my mind as I sit and ponder how Kuya Romy and I met at Wesleyan University -Philippines aka Philippine Wesleyan College. I was a newly graduate sixth-grader when with my friend and classmate, Leonora Penetrante, Kuya Romy came following us in a “kalesa”, horse driven carriage . He wanted to treat us for snacks but we were not sure if it was proper to ride with him , culture taboo in mind. So Leonora and I ran to our rented house and hid there until he left , frustrated or disappointed , I guess!
 Then he became our Literature teacher in first year high school. He was the most romantic, poetic, jolly, and vibrant teacher! Down to earth teaching, he was not shy of letting us know of his relationship with then sweetheart, Rosita Apolinario of Orion, Bataan. He even showed us her picture which we all admired ! Her beauty undeniably captured Kuya Romy’ s heart! 
  So they got married and started a family! He continued to be my teacher in third year high school in Economics. Oh , how we “hated “ him for requiring us an assimilation two weeks before closing school! But we got through it! He passed everyone anyway! 
   When I finished college, he was principal of the High School department. Immediately, he hired me without requiring any resume and in my part I did not have to submit an application to be employed. First I taught Literature to Freshmen students. Then Pilipino to Sophomore students.  What’ s funny was I taught Physical Education while I was pregnant with Erna on my third year. I guess because that was the need of the year! 
   Then there was a strike in the college. I joined the strike but unknown to some . It was very timely because I gave birth to Erna that year. Kuya Romy was part of the administration so he was sort of caught in the middle. To make the story short, Ely and he collaborated on applying for a visa to the US. He left a year before we did and ended in Iowa with the Martins. When we came in 1970 he moved from Iowa to LA to join us. 
  That started a new kind of relationship between us...one that God made and arranged for us so we can be partners in the ministry for Jesus! How he wanted for me not to work in the secular world and just concentrate in church work! But I wanted to fly! No regrets! 
  All I know is he modeled a giving, loving, generous, dedicated and committed life for the Lord! Thank you, Lord , for the eternal friendship you bestowed to us : Garcias and
Abesamises through Kuya Romy! Halleluia! You are now in the bossom of God Almighty, Kuya Romy!
Ate Rosie, Rosemarie, Boy, and Roselynn together with your spouses and children, I pray for your comfort and joy : Comfort that gives peace and joy that gives hope for tomorrow!
Posted by Rosemarie Pangilinan on July 30, 2020
One of dad’s favorite things to do is take family road trips. During the summer we would travel, sometimes for weeks at a time. He would go to AAA so he could plan out our adventures on what was called a Trip Tik. Basically a map that outlined our path.  We would go across the country visiting different national parks and sites along the way. Dad had this natural way of engaging with the park ranger, gatekeeper, attendants... soon after he would gather us to take a picture with someone he just met. Sometimes as kids we were embarrassed but now I realize what a gift it is to be able to look at someone’s eyes and make a connection. Making them feel that they are the most important person in that moment. I cherish those road trips with all my heart.  Dad, your road trip to eternity is complete. Thank you for teaching me to see each person as if I am looking into the eyes of Jesus. 
Posted by N. Adiel DePano on July 30, 2020
It is said that the two most important dates in a person’s life are the date one was born, and the date of one’s death. Separating the two dates is a dash—what does that dash stand for? If two dates are the bookends of one’s life, then the book itself, or the content of the pages of the book are what gives significance to the book itself. It’s what determines whether a book becomes a bestseller or not.

To write a book about kuya Romy’s life is a daunting task even for the best of authors. Kuya Romy was the epitome of James 2:18—Someone might say, “You have faith, but I have deeds.” Show me your faith without doing anything, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

Looking back, God knew what he was doing when I was sent to First Filipino-American United Methodist Church as my first appointment back in 1986. What a distinct privilege it was to work closely with kuya Romy—a layperson that every local church ought to have! I may have been the younger person, but he had the fire, the ideas, and the stamina to get things done. He had the charisma; he had a way with people that brought them together to collaborate, which was no easy thing in a congregation that had some real strong personalities.

Kuya Romy kept it simple. The Bible says in James 2:8-9, This royal law is found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” If you obey this law, you are doing right. But if you treat one person as being more important than another, you are sinning. You are guilty of breaking God’s law.

Kuya Romy organized our elderly members for fellowship, for outings, for road trips. I remember borrowing a 15-seat van owned by First UMC Los Angeles from the Rev. Fink. We used it to take the seniors on a road trip to Santa Barbara.

Kuya Romy, a social worker by training, was a walking resource center. He helped new immigrants secure their social security card, first job, first car, first dwelling, etc. He took them to the public clinic, connected them with Filipino doctors. He showed them how to use public transportation. He was the public transportation majority of the time. He and ate Rosie opened their home as a temporary shelter, as a feeding center, and when Pabling used to live with them, even as an auto repair shop helping countless folks who otherwise could not afford to have the necessary repairs done to their vehicles.

Kuya Romy and ate Rosie were part of an all-church effort that orchestrated the wedding of Brenda and I on June 25, 1988 at Covina UMC. In fact, he was one of our ninongs. This union produced three children—Katerina, Julian, and Pauline, and two grandkids—Caden Joel (3) and Malia Angeline (9 months), by Katerina and our son-in-law Jape Cadlaon. Rosemarie is one of Katerina’s ninangs. Rose Lynn is one of Julian’s ninangs.

I can go on and on. But I cannot possibly capture the full significance of kuya Romy’s life. It is too much a task to place upon one person. The author of the epistle of James writes in chapter 2, verse 23—"Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” And Abraham was called God’s friend. (James 2:23)

No higher honor can be accorded to anyone than to be called a friend of God. Kuya Romy was a friend of God.

In closing, I’d like to share a poem by Linda Ellis entitled, “The Dash.”

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

Kuya Romy, you have all the reasons to be proud! We love you!
Posted by Kathleen Bell on July 30, 2020
I wish I could have known this wonderful man. His light and grace shine through in Rose Lynn and his beautiful grandchildren. We thank God for their presence in Oakland
Posted by Norman Hazzard on July 29, 2020
From the first time I met Romeo, he grabbed my hand, wouldn't let go, when he saw that I loved Pinoy food, he told me when I come to Los Angeles, his wife would cook whatever I liked. The one thing that stayed with me, from the first time that I met Romeo, with that smile of his, I just felt like his son. It's safe to say Heaven will be a happier place with his presence! My meeting Romeo is one of the high points of my life!
Posted by James Bell on July 28, 2020
Dear Abesamis Family and your beloved Filipine Community and Church,
This is Opa Jim, father to Forrest, Rose Lynn's husband, and Opa to Sofia and Nora, the angels with dark hair and with the beauty, grace and wisdom from their Filipine Ancestry. Romy and Rosita raised three wonderful children with faith and courage coming to America from the Philippines. We celebrate now that they took this big step which brought the Abesamis family to Southern California with such great impact and faith leadership. Romy was always a forward thinker, and, in his presence, I always felt his great love, faith, wisdom and dignity. Now he is smiling back at us with Jesus who received him with these words: "Well done, my good and faithful servant in whom I am well pleased."
Posted by Belen Apolinario on July 28, 2020
Kuya (Uncle) Romy, thank you so much for the love and support you had extended to us, along with Eting Rosie and your immediate family.
Like what Jonathan said, "My family is forever grateful & indebted to this generous & loving man, our(kuya) Romy. Along with Eting Rosie & your immediate family, we wouldn't be where we are today without your outpouring support and love. Imagine for a period of one year, we were able to live with you since our family of seven immigrated here in the US. Because of your loving kindness & generosity, we as recipients also learned how to love & be generous to others.
It's hard to say goodbye though we are happy to realize that you are now happy with Jesus...no more pain...no more hurting of any kind. Rest assured we'll take good care of your loved ones, especially your loving wife, Eting Rosie. May you continue to rest in peace with our Lord Almighty.
Posted by Rose Lynn Abesamis-Bell on July 28, 2020
Sa lahat ng naging kaibigan kong lalaki buhat noong kami ay mga teenagers pa, siya ang pinakamabait at maka Dios. Naging para kaming magkakapatid lalo na nuung kararating niya dito sa USA. Tumira siya sa amin ng 11 months bago lumipat sa California. Daig pa niya ang tunay kong mga kapatid. I am glad that you are now with the Lord and all your loved ones who have gone before you. Laarni, special was so special to you. She is your inaanak sa binyag at sa kasal. My family will miss you a lot, but we will be assured that you are happy now in Paradise. We all love you and your whole family in the USA and in Penaranda. Rest in Peace, my brother!

FB Posted by Naomi Martin
Posted by Rose Lynn Abesamis-Bell on July 28, 2020
Our kuyang (uncle) Romy was one of the kindest people I ever met. He always make sure that her whole family is happy specially when the balikbayan box is comingsayang Di pa uso Ang video that timeand when they are on holiday in his beloved town (Penaranda) he likes to sit and take a nap in our silyang pare. He loves to chat with our kamag anak (relatives) mga pamangkin,apo,lapit bahay and kwento about his child hood in our Penaranda..You love and cherished our town with the story you shared to us ..❤️ Now you are with Tatang and Ima You can hug and kiss them together with dikong and Tangko... We will never forget you our Kuyang❤️Please guide you’re two sister...You are now at peace, no more pain... Our Budang bait and gwapo n kuyang Romy is signing off❤️We love you

Posted by Sarah A. Silvestre (niece)
Posted by Carminda Kho on July 27, 2020
I am saddened to have to say goodbye to uncle Romy. However, I am happy that he is now with our Lord Jesus. He is celebrating with God, where he is now free from pain. I will always remember uncle Romy as a jolly man who was a father figure to all of us. Growing up, uncle Romy and auntie Rosie would always be there for our youth group; feeding us, driving us around, they’re our cheerleaders, and greatest supporters in everything. He’s a great uncle, friend, and most especially, an awesome father. I love you uncle Romy. Please give my mama and papa a hug for me. Don’t worry po, we’ll take care of Auntie Rosie ❤️ Rosemarie, Romeo, Rose Lynn, me, and everyone, will be here for Auntie Rosie. We’ll be here for each other ❤️❤️❤️

love,
Carminda ❤️
Posted by Alfredo Agtarap on July 28, 2020
Friends and family in Christ:

Kuya Romy, was a gifted leader. He helped gave birth to Fil-Am ministry among United Methodists in the greater Los Angeles county that left behind a lasting impression: community development, church-start, and a steady support for those who were new arrivals like my family back in 1983., 

In him exemplifies the best partnership between clergy and laity. Salamat Kuya Romy and to her family especially his loving wife, Ate Rosie.

Dr. Fred Agtarap and Naomi Agtarap, with children Sophie, Sarah, and Shalom.
Posted by Rose Lynn Abesamis-Bell on July 27, 2020
We lost a man, a brother with a vision for church growth and evangelism. While in Rosewood, he noticed the migration of Filipinos from the Los Angeles City vicinities towards the West Covina area. In justifying his foresight of following the movement of Filipinos to the suburbs, just like the Methodist Circuit Riders of old, he said of the sacrifice required: “We need to die a little death so another congregation could live.” Bro. Romy, we salute you and commend you to the Lord to receive your reward! As the Scripture says, “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever” (Daniel 12:3). Bro. Romy, the stars in the heavens will always be a reminder of your witness!
Our condolences to the Abesamis Family.

FB posted by Rev. Miguel De Guzman
Posted by Rose Lynn Abesamis-Bell on July 27, 2020
I join Ate Rosie and family in this time of change for the family! Kuya Romy has long suffered physically but won the battle spiritually ! I thank God for his dedicated life to the Lord! God used him in my early years of social, educational, and spiritual development! As principal he hired me as a trusted teacher in Physical Education and Pilipino!
I can say more! For now, let me say .... I ❤️Kuya Romy!

FB Posted by Auring Piedad Garcia
Posted by Rose Lynn Abesamis-Bell on July 27, 2020
Bro. Romeo Abesamis was a jolly type High School Principal at Philippine Wesleyan College and a Santa Claus look alike fellow to me. With his 86 years life span, I believe, many would have been inspired by his presence. His happy mode still lingers in my memory to this time. Which made me recall a good invitation from our Lord Jesus Christ when he said: "... I am telling you the truth; the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your happiness may be complete."
John 16:23-24.
"... I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die..."
John 11:25-26.
A very nice offer which no one could equate or much more surpass. I hope such an offer would never find reluctance or delay in response from anyone knowing the brevity of life.
CHRIST'S PEACE be to everyone!
My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.

Posted by Renato Capule
on FB page for Philippine Wesleyan College community
Posted by Rose Lynn Abesamis-Bell on July 27, 2020

He personally wrote me a piece of advice when I was in high school because He saw my life had no purpose. I kept that letter and showed him when my best friend Eleanor Pascual Serrano and I visited him in their home in California. Kuya Romy has been a dad to so many. He left a legacy of his contaminating passion of serving God and others.

Posted by Marlene Espinosa Ona
on FB page for Philippine Wesleyan College community
Posted by Rose Lynn Abesamis-Bell on July 27, 2020
Beautiful smile. He was our teacher in ECONOMICS. He was one of my favorites along with Mr. Martin. I never got bored when Mr. Abesamis was teaching us. He was very lively and full of life. May the Holy Spirit comfort all of his loved ones.

Posted by Deo Bartolome
on FB page for Philippine Wesleyan College community
Posted by Zeni Casimiro on July 26, 2020
During those times when I just began my life here in California, I prayed fervently to God to provide my needs: supportive friends and a job to help my finances. One Sunday, in 1980, my Uncle, Pastor Amor Oribello and Auntie Delfina introduced my friend Edna (who came with me from the Philippines) and I to FFAUMC members. We found them friendly and warm that made us felt comfortable. One of them, was the late Ninong Romy with his smiling face and vibrant personality. His constant calls and visits to our apartment, assured us we can count on him for support. I found him as kind, compassionate, receptive Christian, ready to help. Through his connection with the owner of a travel agency, I got my first job which helped me pay bills. Also, I attended events where he was invited to speak, I was a fan and listened attentively as I found his speech uplifting and relevant.

His better half, Ate Rosie, became my Ninang during my wedding ceremony, thus I called them from Ate and Kuya to Ninang and Ninong and I became closer to them.

I praised and thanked God for these answered prayers!

I’d like to say from the bottom of my heart “thank you Ninong Romy for all your kind deeds you’ve done for me, I am forever grateful!”

To Ninang Rosie, Rosemarie, Rose Lynne, Romy Jr. and families,
Our heartfelt condolence to you all! May God brings you comfort and blessed assurance that Ninong Romy is now pain free and in His Kingdom will give you strength to move on. God bless you all!
Posted by Sylvia Bell-Tull on July 26, 2020
Dear Romy -- You lived a good, generous, loving life. Thank you for being a part of mine. Thank you for sharing your wonderful daughter, Rose Lynn, with us. Now you are at peace. You are missed; I miss you. You are greatly loved by so many. Keep you heavenly eyes on Sofia and Nora ... they are amazing and wonderful! You are in my heart and I send you, Rosie, and your family loving prayers. God bless you.
Lola Sylvia Bell-Tull
Posted by Rose Lynn Abesamis-Bell on July 26, 2020
Contributed by Nowella Aguilar Reyes:
Romy is the 2nd oldest cousin in his generation, my mother (Gloria T(rinidad) Abesamis-Agular being the oldest. They are first cousins. ... My recollection of him dates back to the time when our old house in Burgos Street was several houses away from where they lived years ago. (I was then in elementary). He and his wife Ate Rosie were both teachers(@ Phil. Wesleyan College (now Wesleyan University-Philippines). Kuya Romy, I learned later that he became Principal of said school. My mother would ask me to go to their house and bring her marketed meat to them for preservation because we didn’t have a refrigerator then.

Fast forward.... I later on learned that he left his job and relocated and permanently settled in the United States where they settled permanently...Fast forward again... i got the chance to visit the U.S. and had the chance to visit him So we reconnected.

In our short stay there, we almost forgot to sleep. We talked about our relatives, how their lives were changed by American culture and system, church matters, his old friends and many more. He seemed to have been entertained by my own tagalog vocabulary and intonation, I guess, which he rarely heard since he migrated.

He talked about his life in America and the joy of reconnecting with loved ones in Pinas.

Kuya Romy is a VERY JOLLY person. He loved his family and he was well
Loved and respected by his churchmates. He was fortunate enough to have been given a partner who Loved him so dearly. He and Ate Rosie were present at sister Clarafe and Manong Rufino's wedding in 1990 as wedding sponsors.

I am thankful I had the privilege of bonding with him when he was still strong, and when his health was deteriorating. But one thing is certain. Good souls never die. And Kuya Romy is one of those. He just relocated to a place where we believers would want to permanently settle when it’s call time in God’s own time.

Until we meet again, Kuya Romy. We love you (from your Ditse Goning and family).
John 14:2
Posted by Elizabeth Verniere on July 26, 2020
Kuya Romy was a special uncle-in law to me. I never had a dull moment with him. We always made each other smile and laugh. He was just a wonderful man. An angel has been added in Heaven. A faithful servant - well done , kuya Romy . We will surely miss you and only and always good thoughts for you. Have fun in the Lord’s mansion. R.I.P.

Sending our sincere condolences to my dearest Abesames family and relatives. Sharing in your sadness. Peace and comfort to you all with God’s loving presence. Hope I can visit u guys and b with you soon. Big warm hugs!❤️❤️❤️The Joco -Verniere family.
Posted by Nenita Naldoza on July 26, 2020
To: The Family of Kuya Romy. I share your grief for the loss of Kuya Romy. Our loss here on earth is heaven's gain, for indeed, Kuya Romy was a good person through and through. Kuya Romy's family (Ate Rosie, Mary Rose, and Boy) was my second family in Cabanatuan City during my stint as a young college teacher at Phil Wesleyan College. I love them so much. When I was in the United States for my graduate studies, I had occasions to visit them in Cerritos (?) LA, California, and attended worship services in Rosewood UMC with the family.
I thank the Lord for their good hearts in accepting me when I was in Cabanatuan City. Of course, Ate Rosie's (Apolinario) family in Orion, Bataan had been long-time friends (I come from Hermosa, Bataan). God bless, Kuya Romy (you are finally home now). God bless Ate Rosie and the family!
Dr Ben Tayabas

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Aurora Garcia on July 31, 2020
Numerous memories flood my mind as I sit and ponder how Kuya Romy and I met at Wesleyan University -Philippines aka Philippine Wesleyan College. I was a newly graduate sixth-grader when with my friend and classmate, Leonora Penetrante, Kuya Romy came following us in a “kalesa”, horse driven carriage . He wanted to treat us for snacks but we were not sure if it was proper to ride with him , culture taboo in mind. So Leonora and I ran to our rented house and hid there until he left , frustrated or disappointed , I guess!
 Then he became our Literature teacher in first year high school. He was the most romantic, poetic, jolly, and vibrant teacher! Down to earth teaching, he was not shy of letting us know of his relationship with then sweetheart, Rosita Apolinario of Orion, Bataan. He even showed us her picture which we all admired ! Her beauty undeniably captured Kuya Romy’ s heart! 
  So they got married and started a family! He continued to be my teacher in third year high school in Economics. Oh , how we “hated “ him for requiring us an assimilation two weeks before closing school! But we got through it! He passed everyone anyway! 
   When I finished college, he was principal of the High School department. Immediately, he hired me without requiring any resume and in my part I did not have to submit an application to be employed. First I taught Literature to Freshmen students. Then Pilipino to Sophomore students.  What’ s funny was I taught Physical Education while I was pregnant with Erna on my third year. I guess because that was the need of the year! 
   Then there was a strike in the college. I joined the strike but unknown to some . It was very timely because I gave birth to Erna that year. Kuya Romy was part of the administration so he was sort of caught in the middle. To make the story short, Ely and he collaborated on applying for a visa to the US. He left a year before we did and ended in Iowa with the Martins. When we came in 1970 he moved from Iowa to LA to join us. 
  That started a new kind of relationship between us...one that God made and arranged for us so we can be partners in the ministry for Jesus! How he wanted for me not to work in the secular world and just concentrate in church work! But I wanted to fly! No regrets! 
  All I know is he modeled a giving, loving, generous, dedicated and committed life for the Lord! Thank you, Lord , for the eternal friendship you bestowed to us : Garcias and
Abesamises through Kuya Romy! Halleluia! You are now in the bossom of God Almighty, Kuya Romy!
Ate Rosie, Rosemarie, Boy, and Roselynn together with your spouses and children, I pray for your comfort and joy : Comfort that gives peace and joy that gives hope for tomorrow!
Posted by Rosemarie Pangilinan on July 30, 2020
One of dad’s favorite things to do is take family road trips. During the summer we would travel, sometimes for weeks at a time. He would go to AAA so he could plan out our adventures on what was called a Trip Tik. Basically a map that outlined our path.  We would go across the country visiting different national parks and sites along the way. Dad had this natural way of engaging with the park ranger, gatekeeper, attendants... soon after he would gather us to take a picture with someone he just met. Sometimes as kids we were embarrassed but now I realize what a gift it is to be able to look at someone’s eyes and make a connection. Making them feel that they are the most important person in that moment. I cherish those road trips with all my heart.  Dad, your road trip to eternity is complete. Thank you for teaching me to see each person as if I am looking into the eyes of Jesus. 
Posted by N. Adiel DePano on July 30, 2020
It is said that the two most important dates in a person’s life are the date one was born, and the date of one’s death. Separating the two dates is a dash—what does that dash stand for? If two dates are the bookends of one’s life, then the book itself, or the content of the pages of the book are what gives significance to the book itself. It’s what determines whether a book becomes a bestseller or not.

To write a book about kuya Romy’s life is a daunting task even for the best of authors. Kuya Romy was the epitome of James 2:18—Someone might say, “You have faith, but I have deeds.” Show me your faith without doing anything, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

Looking back, God knew what he was doing when I was sent to First Filipino-American United Methodist Church as my first appointment back in 1986. What a distinct privilege it was to work closely with kuya Romy—a layperson that every local church ought to have! I may have been the younger person, but he had the fire, the ideas, and the stamina to get things done. He had the charisma; he had a way with people that brought them together to collaborate, which was no easy thing in a congregation that had some real strong personalities.

Kuya Romy kept it simple. The Bible says in James 2:8-9, This royal law is found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” If you obey this law, you are doing right. But if you treat one person as being more important than another, you are sinning. You are guilty of breaking God’s law.

Kuya Romy organized our elderly members for fellowship, for outings, for road trips. I remember borrowing a 15-seat van owned by First UMC Los Angeles from the Rev. Fink. We used it to take the seniors on a road trip to Santa Barbara.

Kuya Romy, a social worker by training, was a walking resource center. He helped new immigrants secure their social security card, first job, first car, first dwelling, etc. He took them to the public clinic, connected them with Filipino doctors. He showed them how to use public transportation. He was the public transportation majority of the time. He and ate Rosie opened their home as a temporary shelter, as a feeding center, and when Pabling used to live with them, even as an auto repair shop helping countless folks who otherwise could not afford to have the necessary repairs done to their vehicles.

Kuya Romy and ate Rosie were part of an all-church effort that orchestrated the wedding of Brenda and I on June 25, 1988 at Covina UMC. In fact, he was one of our ninongs. This union produced three children—Katerina, Julian, and Pauline, and two grandkids—Caden Joel (3) and Malia Angeline (9 months), by Katerina and our son-in-law Jape Cadlaon. Rosemarie is one of Katerina’s ninangs. Rose Lynn is one of Julian’s ninangs.

I can go on and on. But I cannot possibly capture the full significance of kuya Romy’s life. It is too much a task to place upon one person. The author of the epistle of James writes in chapter 2, verse 23—"Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” And Abraham was called God’s friend. (James 2:23)

No higher honor can be accorded to anyone than to be called a friend of God. Kuya Romy was a friend of God.

In closing, I’d like to share a poem by Linda Ellis entitled, “The Dash.”

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

Kuya Romy, you have all the reasons to be proud! We love you!
his Life

Early Philippine Wesleyan College Memories from Auring Piedad Garcia

Numerous memories flood my mind as I sit and ponder how Kuya Romy and I met at Wesleyan University-Philippines aka Philippine Wesleyan College. I was a newly graduated sixth-grader when with my friend and classmate, Leonora Penetrante, Kuya Romy came following us in a “kalesa”, horse driven carriage. He wanted to treat us for snacks but we were not sure if it was proper to ride with him, culture taboo in mind. So Leonora and I ran to our rented house and hid there until he left, frustrated or disappointed, I guess!

Then he became our Literature teacher in first year high school. He was the most romantic, poetic, jolly, and vibrant teacher! Down to earth teaching, he was not shy of letting us know of his relationship with then sweetheart, Rosita Apolinario of Orion, Bataan. He even showed us her picture which we all admired! Her beauty undeniably captured Kuya Romy’s heart! 
 
So they got married and started a family! He continued to be my teacher in third year high school in Economics. Oh, how we “hated “ him for requiring us an assimilation two weeks before closing school! But we got through it! He passed everyone anyway! 
 
When I finished college, he was principal of the High School department. Immediately, he hired me without requiring any resume and in my part I did not have to submit an application to be employed. First I taught Literature to Freshmen students. Then Pilipino to Sophomore students.  What’s funny was I taught Physical Education while I was pregnant with Erna on my third year. I guess because that was the need of the year! 
 
Then there was a strike in the college. I joined the strike but unknown to some. It was very timely because I gave birth to Erna that year. Kuya Romy was part of the administration so he was sort of caught in the middle. To make the story short, Ely and he collaborated on applying for a visa to the US. He left a year before we did and ended in Iowa with the Martins. When we came in 1970 he moved from Iowa to LA to join us. 

That started a new kind of relationship between us...one that God made and arranged for us so we can be partners in the ministry for Jesus! How he wanted for me not to work in the secular world and just concentrate in church work! But I wanted to fly! No regrets! 

All I know is he modeled a giving, loving, generous, dedicated and committed life for the Lord! Thank you, Lord, for the eternal friendship you bestowed to us: Garcias and
Abesamises through Kuya Romy! Halleluia! You are now in the bossom of God Almighty, Kuya Romy!

Ate Rosie, Rosemarie, Boy, and Roselynn together with your spouses and children, I pray for your comfort and joy: Comfort that gives peace and joy that gives hope for tomorrow!

Loving message from mahal na kapatid Mrs. Lucila Abesamis Alejandro

In behalf of my family I wish to convey our deepest sympathy and condolences to the bereaved family of Kuyang.
Isa sa malungkot na pangyayari sa buhay ng tao ay kapag may miyembro ng pamilya na sumakabilang buhay na, ngunit ang lahat ng ating kalungkutan ay mapapawi dahil sa ating pananalig at pananampalataya sa diyos, na siyang laha na may kagustuhan nito.
Si Kuyang ay nabuhay sa ibabaw ng lupa na taglay niya ang katangian ng pagiging mabait, magalang at ulirang anak. Mapagmahal sa kapatid at kapwa. Siya ay dakilang asawa at responsableng ama ng kanilang mga anak.
Kuyang hindi ko makakalimutan ang lagi mong pangaral sa amin na mamuhay sa makakristong pamamaraan at ibahagi namin ito sa aming mga kasama. “Live in a christian way of living and share it to others”.
To sum up, Kuyang is a very fine and responsible man. He is known by everybody as a man of principle, values, abiding faith, and unfaltering love for the lord. An outstanding teacher, a fiscalizer, a leader and a friend to everyone. God knows Kuyang had fulfilled his life on this earth. All of us will die and only God knows this. For Kuyang, you have left your physical body on this earth but your memories lingers on.
Let us remember that “Death is the golden key that opens the palace of eternity”. Kuyang we will never forget you. Goodbye for now.
Before I end, let me share to everybody verses from the holy scriptures found in Psalm 23.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

A WORD ABOUT ROMY ABESAMIS by Rev. Dr. Ben Vinluan

ROMEO ABESAMIS was a long time colleague in the Filipino-American community, particularly in the development of ministries within the United Methodist Church for Filipinos in southern California and in the California-Pacific Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.  I shall confine my words in the development of what has come to be known as The Filipino Caucus, California-Pacific Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Filipinos started arriving in southern California in the early 1970s, as the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1966 started to kick in high gear.  As a result, many of the arrivals included Methodists from the Philippines and, when they did arrive, they started attending mostly Caucasian United Methodist churches.  This created undue pressures on the ministries of those churches, particularly in the downtown Los Angeles and metro areas of Los Angeles county.  Their numbers begun to adversely affect the ministries of those churches because they were not prepared to do ethnic ministries; or provide the appropriate and necessary ministries for the new arrivals. 

Several pastors of Los Angeles area churches, including Gardena, Wilmington, and Torrance started informally meeting together beginning in early 1972 for the purpose of finding some viable approaches to an increasing problem, and opportunity for ministry. With help from the Annual Conference Department of Ethnic Planning and Strategy some ideas begun to emerge.  It was decided to organize an advisory council that would assist in developing ministry for and with Filipinos.  In late June, 1972, the group of pastors, and some representative Filipinos from the local churches where there were any, met at First UMC of Los Angeles.  Among those Filipino representations were Romeo Abesamis, who was one of 2 from Rosewood UMC.  Efforts at organizing were, for the most part for the rest of 1972, not as fruitful as expected, however.  Monthly meetings were held in an effort to develop a common purpose and unified vision, and the lay person that was elected chair of the advisory council soon relocated to Texas for job reasons.  By the beginning of 1973, the group needed a new chair of the group and, because the first chair was lay person, they needed the new chair to be clergy.  That fell on Ben Vinluan, who just arrived from the Hawaii District to become associate pastor at First UMC, LA. Vinluan served as president for two years, and Romeo Abesamis continued to represent Rosewood, along with a new lay person, Amado Umaguing. 

Abesamis emerged as a strong laity member of the Filipino Caucus.  The first years were exciting, but difficult years for the Caucus.  One of the concerns was that of what our identity was going to be.  Romy, as most of us started calling him, was one of the proponents of naming the group Bayanihan, which is Pilipino for mutual support.  As good as that sounded, many were opposed on the ground that it pushes the envelop too hard.  And so it went: for the good part of 1973 we spent time debating the pros and cons.  Ultimately, the group settled on the name Bayanihan Filipino Caucus.  And that was the official name that was registered, and the name we had when we opened our bank account, with Amado Umaguing Treasurer.  Significantly, Bayanihan Filipino Caucus received a grant from the General Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist in late 1973.

Romeo Abesamis stepped in as the new president of the group in late 1974, serving for 2 years.  He would return again in later years to serve another two-year term.  Romy has continued to support the growth of the Bayanihan Filipino Caucus as President or, when he was not president, as a member of the council through the years.  And some point he also became the community developer or otherwise serving in various other capacities, which show his commitment and dedication for an organization dedicated to building bridges between communities and across cultural divisions; and reaching out to others for the glory of God.

The group, revisiting the discussion about identity, sometime in the mid 1980s, decided to drop Bayanihan from its name.  Today it’s known simply as Filipino Caucus, or FC.  It has continued to grow in power and influence for good, thanks to the support of dedicated lay people like Romeo Abesamis, along with that of Filipino-American clergy, as well as Caucasian clergy like Dick Edgar.  As we mourn the passing of this brother, colleague and co-worker in our community, we lift a prayer to God that his legacy of faith, dedication to family and community and his church, by the grace of God continue to be means of blessing to the glory of God. I mourn his passing as a valued friend, colleague and fellow-pioneer in ministry to and with Filipinos in southern California and in this Conference.  Rest in God’s peace, brother Romy.

Rev. Dr. Ben Vinluan
and Gerda Vinluan
Aug. 1, 2020

Recent stories

A Message from Ate Joy to Uncle Romy

Shared by Rose Lynn Abesamis-Bell on August 3, 2020
Thank you Uncle Romy for your love, care and kindness, and for the fond memories... We will miss your joke, laughter and your beautiful smile. Your love and faith in God shine through your family and those around you. I still remember when you went to Bataan Phils. in early 80's, I was in high school that time and you handed me the U.S student visa form that my parents needed to sign when you and Auntie Rosie filed a student visa petition for me here in the States, unfortunately, it didn't go through coz of incomplete docs on my part and for personal reason. You and Auntie Rosie have always been there for me. You will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Uncle Heaven gained another angel. God bless. We love you (Romeo Abesamis 8/11/33-7/20/20)

My Big Brother

Shared by Rosemarie Pangilinan on July 28, 2020
Tribute letter written by Paz San Pedro

Paalam Mang Juan

Shared by Rose Lynn Abesamis-Bell on July 27, 2020
Thank you Uncle Romy for all you've done for FFAUMC..thanks for the hard work, sacrifice and love .. PAALAM MANG JUAN

Joey Albarracin
First Fil-Am UMC of SGV