FEUNRMF Chairman
passes away July 26th


Dr. Josephine Cojuangco Reyes, Ed.D., chairman of the Far Eastern University Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation (FEUNRMF), died July 26, 2011. She was 83. Born on November 26, 1927, Dr. Reyes was delivering a eulogy for her older brother, Don Pedro Cojuangco, at the Santuario de San Antonio, when she collapsed. She was pronounced at St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City. Don Pedro, who was 13 months her senior, was board chairman and president of the Hacienda Luisita sugar estate in Tarlac. Dr. Reyes was the second of six Cojuangco children, Pedro, Teresita Lopa, former Philippine President Cory Aquino, Jose, Jr., and Maria Paz Teopaco, the last two surviving her.

An educator, Dr. Reyes obtained her A.B. degree at Marymount College in New York, her M.A. degree at Columbia University, New York, and her Ed.D. at the Far Eastern University in Manila. She was the seventh president of the Far Eastern University from 1985 to 1989, and served as Chairman of the Board of the FEUNRMF following the death of her husband, Nicanor Reyes, Jr., who was president of the FEU. Dr. Reyes chaired her last board meeting a couple of weeks before her demise. She was also past Director and Vice-president of the Centra Azucarera de Tarlac and the President of the Luisita Realty Corporation.

Dr. Reyes is the elder sister of former Philippine President Cory Aquino and Tarlac Representative Jose Cojuangco, Jr. Their parents were Jose C. Cojuangco, Sr. of Tarlac and Demetria Sumulong of Antipolo, Rizal. The incumbent President of the Philippines, Bengina Aquino III is her nephew, who was elected in 2010.

Dr. Reyes regularly flew to the United States to join the FEU medical alumni at their annual reunion and convention. Her last such trip was to the 32nd Annual Reunion and Convention of the FEU-Dr. Nicanor Reyes School of Medicine Alumni Foundation in Las Vegas on June 15-18, 2011, where she officiated the medal award ceremonies for the Silver (Class of ’86) and Golden (Class of ’61) Jubilarians.

Her remains were cremated and services were held at the Don Bosco Church in Makati. The eulogies were delivered by Dr. Reyes’s grand- and great-grandchildren, son Butch Reyes, her most likely successor, and President Benigno Aquino III. Her ashes were interred in the family mausoleum where President Cory is.

A family friend and past president and chairman of the medical alumni Foundation, Indiana cardiac surgeon Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, who was a Board Trustee of the FEUNRMF from 1998 to 2008, who immediately flew to Manila upon receiving the news to attend the services for Dr. Reyes, had this to say:

“This is a tragic loss that will leave a great void in all of us who knew her…we will all miss her quiet, shy demeanor and her charming smile that belie her deep intellect, purpose-driven life, great sense of humor, friendliness, warmth, and compassion. In spite of her age, she religiously attended our annual alumni reunion-convention in the United States, flying across the oceans, spending for her own airfare. She found joy in being with the alumni. From per own personal funds, and without fanfare, she would also pay the tuition fees for poor deserving students to enable them to graduate. She is such a lady. A lady we will never forget. My wife, Farida, and I will remember her with fond memories. We are all somewhat diminished by her passing. May she walk with God and enjoy eternal joy and peace.”

Copyright 1998 Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS
All Rights Reserved