Ivan Flores Chiriqui Libre Editor memorial

David Dell

By David Dell

Osvaldo Ivan Flores passed away in David City, Panama on Monday morning September the 5th 2016.

After 12 years of long and painful renal dialysis, his strong and faithful heart finally gave out. “Ivan” as his friends called him, was the founder and editor of this on-line newspaper; The Chiriquí Libre and the print edition of the short-lived Chiriqui Times.

Ivan and I had collaborated on many articles and stories of both Panama and Chiriquí. We both shared a desire to preserve the history and the mysteries of this great part of Panama.

Ivan was an eye witness to the American Invasion of Panama in 1989. As we compiled the article we agreed that it was more than an invasion, it turned out to be a watershed for this country - it turned out to be the liberation of Panama from a brutal military dictatorship.

Ivan was fluent in the English language - thanks to the schooling he obtained from the legendary Monk, Brother Elred Wetli. It was his desire to see a statue erected to “El Brother” in Volcan, sadly the necessary finances could not be raised and that project is on hold.

Church service

Ivan is survived by his wife Iris, sons Austin and Osvaldo, and his two daughters Claudia and Laura. The memorial service was held in the Catholic Church in Volcan on Tuesday September 6, 2016. Some observers feel it was one of the largest attended memorial services in the history of the town. He has been laid to rest in the old Volcan cemetery.

Previous edition of Chiriqui Times

Previous edition of Chiriqui Times

Previous edition of Chiriqui Times

Ivan was justifiably proud to be the editor of the fledgling CHIRIQUI TIMES print edition newspaper. Although advertising revenues were close to non-existent, making the paper’s life very short lived - it did make an historic first for the Panamanian Newspaper Industry. Below is the first time an article was printed in Panama in the Ngobe language

Previous edition of Chiriqui Times in ngobe

Walking in the street with the cascet

The road to the old Volcan cemetery lies one mile West of the main road.

The tradition here is that the coffin is unloaded from the hearse at the main road junction. Then family & friends walk the departed’s last mile together.

I will miss my old friend and the many talks and discussions we had on Life, liberty and the pursuit of the newspaper reporter’s goals. We trudged up mountainsides and down steamy jungle rivers as we sought to record and document the history and mystery that seems to abound in Panama.

Ivan had an amazing spirit; I would visit him and find him down and dejected and yet after 15 minutes of shooting the breeze and of putting the world to rights - his “Energizer Bunny” spirit would kick in and he was up and ready to take on the world - just one more time.

Ivan Flores grave

It is my hope that the proposed museum in Volcan will be named in his honour as he has done so much to preserve this city’s history & heritage.

Good bye my friend, I promise, I promise, I will never forget you.

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