James Henry Pangelinan Flores
Jan. 14, 1945 – Aug. 19, 2021
An icon of local music, James Henry Pangelinan Flores – known as “Jimmy Dee” passed away at the age of 76.
While Dee came from a musically talented family and learned to play several instruments by the time he finished elementary school, he was never formally trained beyond his education in music at John F. Kennedy High School, where he learned to read music and studies trumpet and saxophone for two years. During that period, Dee became lead singer and guitarists for the Glow Lites, a group that played hit music. Former Glow Lites include Gerald S.A. Perez, now vice president of the Guam Visitors Bureau.
It is a little-known fact that Dee graduated in 1967 from California State University in Los Angeles with a bachelor’s of science in business administration. He told Guam Business Magazine in April 1990, “My family stressed the importance of a good education, so then I entered the master’s program.”
At the same time, Dee became lead singer of a band in Southern California. “We were very versatile and were never out of work,” he said. “Music took too much time away from my studies and was so lucrative that I said, ‘I’m not going to be an accountant anyway, so I’ll go with the music.”
In 1971 Dee recorded his first single in Los Angeles. The flip side had the original version of what would become his trademark song “Hafa Adai.” The following year, Jimmy Dee and the Silent Majority came to Guam on tour and Dee was asked by the late Norbert Upingco, director of the Guam Visitors Bureau to help with promotions. In 1973 – in a tourist industry dominated by Hawaiian and Samoan dancers, Dee began performing at the Guam Hotel Okura.
Dee was appointed deputy director of GVB in 1976, a position he held for seven years. “My business background was useful to them,” he said. He was allowed to continue outside work in entertainment and in 1978 opened his Jimmy Dee and the Chamorritas dinner show at the Hilton in Guam. The group also toured widely in Asia.
Dee continued writing songs and releasing albums on his Napu Records label and he also opened the Chamorrita Dance Studio in Anigua.
Under the umbrella of Jimmy Dee Enterprises, Dee and his wife Jackie Torres Flores would also form Imperial Insurance and invest in real estate through JDK Corp/and Aloha Development Corp. with partners James Ji and the late Wen Hui “Kay” Chang, founder of Kay’s Enterprises and Aloha Development. But always drawn to entertainment, Dee would also partner to open Dees Gold Disc nightclub in Tumon, later sold.
Dee opened Jimmy Dee’s Beach Bar Resort in 1994 on Agana Bay. The Chamorrita Sunset Fiesta, the local food and the beachside ambiance would draw through the years not only tourist groups, but scores of VIP visitors. The property was also the location of a major Flores Family Reunion in 2014.
James Henry Pangelinan Flores is survived by his wife, Jackie T. Flores, son James H. Flores and daughter Joleen F. Respicio. mbj