Torch bearer, pace maker, trail blazer, at most times a loner those were the words describing Jamie Maxtone Graham from his childhood friend, Valentine Kambori, himself a former Secretary for National Planning.
The son of a coffee plantation Manager, his biological father died in the Waghi river when he was young and was raised by his Gulf, step-father in Madang adopting the name Jamie Posi.
He would later change his surname to Maxtone Graham when his American family travelled to PNG to ensure a name change.
But Maxtone-Graham would never forgot his roots.
His Gulf family in Madang were acknowledged at the funeral service at St Joseph’s Parish Boroko today. One in particular, his sister Agnes Elavo Eri, Wife of former PNG Ambassador to India, Tars Eri.
He attended Tusbab High School from the years 1971 -1974 and then to Sogeri National High School, finally studying Engineering at the University of Technology in Lae, Morobe Province.
His education aside, it was politics and his strong views and honesty, that made him stand out.
Politically, Maxtone- Graham began his career as an executive officer and advisor to former Prime Minister, Paias Wingti from 1990 to 1993.
He served the National Capital District as acting city administrator from 1999 to 2001
Four years later, his political career shot up after winning the Anglimp-South Waghi by-election, using the LPV system. And would serve his people from 2004 to 2012.
He would however, lose in the 2012 Gen Election when Jiwaka became a province and in 2017 stood for NCD Regional.
He was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2000 Queen’s New Years Honours List for his services to public service in Papua New Guinea.
Police Minister Brian Krammer was a rugby friend on the field before their chats turned to politics.
Kramer described Maxtone-Graham as someone who was not interested in power rather a better life for others.
Indeed leading the way in his later years on a road to health and well-being, using his own story as an inspiration to others.
Despite all his successes in the public eye, to his children, the young handsome men who carried his casket today, he was simply ‘dad’.
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