Island music icon Jimmy Dee dies; leaders pay tribute

Jimmy Dee (Twitter photo)

Guam is mourning the passing of Jimmy Dee, an island music icon who for decades was at the forefront of Guam’s local music scene. He was 76.

Jackie Flores, Jim Flores, and Joleen Respicio issued the following statement this morning upon Jimmy Dee’s death:

“This morning, our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, James Henry Pangelinan Flores, known by most as Jimmy Dee, passed peacefully from this life, surrounded by his loved ones. While we are deeply saddened by his loss, we take comfort in knowing he now rests with the Lord. We are so grateful for the many messages of love and condolences we have already begun to receive, and we ask for your continued prayers as we get through this difficult time.”

In recognition of his many achievements, the Sorensen Media Group honored Jimmy and named him as an island icon during the 2017 Island Music Awards.

Jimmy’s upbeat, island-style music has always been a mainstay in island celebrations.

He was also a pillar of the island’s tourism industry with the establishment of Jimmy Dee’s beach bar in Tumon, a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

Jimmy was also famous for having created and nurtured the world-famous Chamorritas, a dance troupe that has entertained countless tourists since tourism began on island.

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero and Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio issue the following statements on the passing of Jimmy Dee:

“Today, we are deeply heartbroken by the passing of local legend, Jimmy Dee, whose music has become synonymous with the Håfa Adai spirit. For decades, he brought the masses to the dance floor, filling our lives with joy and laughter all while perpetuating our CHamoru language and culture to locals and visitors alike,” said Governor Leon Guerrero. “Our hearts go out to his wife Jackie, son Dr. Jimmy, and daughter Joleen, and their families.”

Lt. Governor Tenorio added, “More than sharing his musical talents and serving as an ambassador for our island on the international stage, Jimmy Dee committed his time and energy to fostering a new generation of local performers and entertainers to proudly represent our island home. While his passion and physical presence will be sorely missed, his legacy is undying and will live on through his timeless, singalong medleys that brought audiences to their feet.”

GVB President Carl Gutierrez said Jimmy and his dancing Chamorritas became a brand onto themselves and had become an indispensable and unforgettable part of Guam’s tourism industry.

“Jimmy Dee was a legend spanning 6 decades of promoting Guam and was one of the vanguards of promoting local musical talents. He was a GVB mainstay at every tourist event overseas. He was our compadre and Jackie is like FL Geri’s younger sister Dr. Jimmy Boy is our godson and Joleen is also a goddaughter I ask the community for their prayers,” Gutierrez said.

Speaker Therese Terlaje issued the following statement on the passing of Jimmy Dee:

“On behalf of the 36th Guam Legislature, it is with great sadness that we received the news of the passing of Mr. James “Jimmy Dee” Flores. Our prayers go out to his wife, Jackie; his son Jim, and daughter-in-law, Valerie; his daughter, Joleen; and his grandchildren, RJ and Isabella. I truly believe that language and music are the best ways to preserve memories, tradition, and culture for future generations. I know that Jimmy has been cataloging some of his life’s work in recent years which is a display of CHamoru pride and his desire to share his love of Guam with the rest of the world. I am grateful for the legacy of art that he has left behind for our children and grandchildren to share.”