EO Fuentes, 84

Eleuterio O. Fuentes, more popularly known as EO, passed away yesterday. He was 84.

EO taught English and Literature when I was in college at the University of Mindanao more than 30 years ago. I was not lucky to sit at his classes because I was at the Engineering Department. But I frequently met him at the Bolton campus because he headed the Publication Office of the university. We did not have a student newspaper at that time due to martial law. But budding campus writers mingled around his office and learned many things from him including photography. In our company were the likes of Jojo Santes, Nikki Gomez, Jimmy Cabrera, Dibay Garcia, Cecille Muñoz and Henrylito Tacio.

EO was softspoken yet his students enjoyed his Ilongo charm, wit and humor.

Christine Rizardo Omar of the Ateneo de Davao Univeristy School of Governance was once his student assistant.

I crossed path again with EO when I started to write for local newspapers where he also contributed articles. We also met at printing presses where we both published newsletters and edited local newspapers. He was industrious and prolific.

Our third encounter was many years later when my wife, Evelyn, became active in the floriculture industry. EO was likewise a horticulture enthusiast and in spite his advancing age, he was doing PR work for the group around FIDI, the floriculture industry association.

The main material I used as backgrounder for the City Council Resolution in 2001 proposing to name Waling-waling as the new national flower was written by EO.

My wife served as FIDI’s 3rd president in 2002. EO and Evelyn worked together on many projects and publications of FIDI. EO was already suffering from bouts of broncho pneumonia during this time. My wife often told me that EO has limited his activities to writing and making sure the printing presses finished their publications on time.

I am not sure if he has pending work at the presses. Its truly sad to think though that he has already written 30. He was a hardworker until his last breath.

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