WHO WAS NEIME? Some comments from family, friends, business associates and diplomats include:
"Neime talking to you or walking in a room was like feeling the intensely beautiful heat of the sun... our loss of her is like the sun itslef, setting and it's the darkest of days without her warmth and burst of life blessing us in the room."
"I wanted you to know what a special person Neime was to me, and how she had such an wonderful impact on my life in Pohnpei. She was one of the very few Micronesians who was totally in tune with two worlds, equally at home in Hawaii and Pohnpei. She despised the hypocrisy of certain establishments and their role in the suppression of women and their silence on domestic violence. There was no one else like her in Pohnpei. Her laughter and her wonderful smile will be with me always."
"In Washington and the capitals of the U.S. affiliated Pacific islands, there is a lot of talk about the importance of private sector led development. Neime didn't just talk, she just did it, made it happen, and made it work... Neime was a larger than life personality, a trail blazing woman entrepreneur, a former nurse and health care specialist, a true humanitarian."
"Neime was a charming island woman with a big and generous heart. She lived the island way as a child, growing up in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia. She went on from a life of fishing and doing chores, playing and going to church, in the old fashioned ways of Micronesia, to success in the modern global village as an international business leader. It is hard to imagine an island girl, indeed, a person of any background from any place in the world, casting their net any wider than Neime cast hers, harvesting an abundance of love and success. She will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by all those whose lives she touched."
NEIME TALLEY ALOKOA PRESTON
Neime was born on April 28, 1950 in Kosrae, Micronesia and passed away on her 59th birthday, Tuesday, April 28 2009 one week after a sudden cardiac arrest collapse. She is survived by her husband, Henry Preston, children Juliana Lynette Preston, Srue Helen Preston; step children, Whitmore Preston and Hilary Preston as well as her four grandchildren, Liana-NeiLoria Preston-Irons, Linea-MeLora Preston-Irons, Milan Preston-Porter and Noel Briscoe Preston. Her mother, Srue Talley Alokoa, passed away several years ago but her surviving siblings include sisters Tapita Tebuteb, Lillian Skilling, Sepe Youngstrom, Mary Ann Nena, Martha Thomson, Ruth Skilling & brothers Iuver & Rivelee Alokoa. Her beloved father Raleigh George passed away several years ago as well, but she is survived by her father that raised, supported & loved her throughout her years, Sisuo Alokoa.
Neime's education included elementary school in Kosrae, Micronesia where as a young child living in Malem she decided an intense pursuit of the best grades & greatest knowledge would be the only way to succeed in life with her happily at the reigns; She progressed onto High School in Pohnpei, Micronesia where she was the class Valedictorian at PICS High School. After receiving the first full scholarship to Oklahoma Baptist University in the United States she graduated and forged ahead to the University of Hawaii where she received a Registered Nursing degree.
Neime had a strong interest in women's issues and was selected as one of the representatives of the Pacific Islands to the first ever International Women's Year Women's Conference in San Antonio Texas in 1977 (representing Kosrae and Pohnpei) along with other female leaders of the time like Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug and more. As a registered nurse, her work included coordination of the Hypertension Screening Program in Pohnpei in 1977 and 1978 and later in Honolulu, Hawaii she used her knowledge & education to serve as a Patient Coordinator for the Federated States of Micronesia. After years of giving back to her country by volunteering her time away from family & kids with her blood, sweat, tears and even wallet to serve the FSM patients through both the FSM Consulate as well as on individual requests, she then turned her attention to her dream of opening & operating her own thriving retail, wholesale and resort development business in Kosrae and Pohnpei.
Neime also supported many local causes for FSM citizens in Pohnpei, Kosrae as well as Hawaii and beyond; educational programs to support individual & community growth, as well as domestic violence issues, alcohol abuse, in addition to establishing church relations as an elected Worlds Mission leader at her church in Honolulu, Central Union Church. She also loved and supported her loved sports events including sponsoring countless events, clubs, dinners, parties, softball, baseball & volleyball teams - all in addition to donations to families in need, students needing financial and morale support.
She was also involved in FSM rotary and even legislative action, which included a long standing and celebrated "inside joke" that sessions at our Capitol addressed her in opening remarks only because too many of them owed their tenure to her support & advice! She always wanted to help her community but never just by TALKING, but rather by WALKING the WALK. Anyone who knew her knew that was always appreciated as a strong leader and forceful advocate for the causes in which she believed. She befriended many people, local as well as foreigners. She was never shy to counter unfair criticism of the islands and islanders, especially by outsiders.
The day Neime suffered her collapse perfectly illustrated just how involved she was with issues she held near and dear to her heart - at the time she had just finished a great speech on the strength of FSM's future in regards to the private and public sector's relationship with the US. This was after her participation in a meeting earlier in the day at the Women's leaders conference at our country's capitol (Palikir). She fully grasped and felt the need to acknowledge further the significance of these relationships to the well being of the FSM, citizens and future. Whether that be one of the business leaders forgoing self-interests for the better good of the public or a young women realizing that life's successes would be short-lived without her individual satisfaction met since the likelihood to provide the best for those she loves is slim when she can't achieve her own personal or professional aspirations. This is how Neime lived and her example has inspired many beyond just family, friends, Micronesia, the US and beyond! Even with her great business & personal successes, one of Neime's highest held concerns was health care in the FSM and her family is establishing a foundation in her honor to support health care programs, particularly in Kosrae and Pohnpei.