Lolo Soetoro

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Bandung, Indonesia
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Bandung, Indonesia

Lolo Soetoro Mangunharjo, sometimes known as Mangundikardjo, was an Indonesian geologist best known for being Barack Obama’s stepfather. He was the 44th President of the United States. He served in the Indonesian army as a colonel and afterwards worked for Union Oil Company in government relations. He made headlines two decades after his death when Barack Obama chose to run for president. Conservatives questioned whether Obama, who spent four years of his youth in Indonesia, was a practicing Muslim, citing the fact that the majority of his stepfather’s relatives were devout Muslims. It was also alleged that Soetoro had adopted him and that he had Indonesian citizenship, citing his enrollment documents at the Santo Fransiskus Assisis School in Jakarta as Barry Soetoro. Detractors attempted to cast doubt on his eligibility to run for president, despite the fac

Childhood and Adolescence of Lolo Soetoro

Soetoro Martodihardjo, often known as “Lolo” Soetoro, was born in Bandoeng, West Java, Dutch East Indies, on January 2, 1935. (now Indonesia). Martodihardjo, his father, worked for a mining company in Yogyakarta.

He was the eighth of his parents’ ten children. The Dutch soldiers burned down their houses during the Indonesian National Revolution, murdering his father and elder brother. He and his mother were able to flee to the countryside.

He studied geography at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta and graduated with a bachelor’s degree. Following graduation, he began working for the Indonesian Army Topographic Service as a civilian employee.

He received an Indonesian Army Topographic Service scholarship to study geography at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1962. He began attending the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, in September of that year and graduated with a master’s degree in geography in June 1964.

Lolo Soetoro

Lolo Soetoro

Workplace & Personal Life of Lolo Soetoro

Lolo Soetoro began his professional life as a geologist with the Indonesian Army Topographic Service. After returning to Indonesia in 1965, he worked for General Suharto, Indonesia’s second President, as a colonel in the Indonesian armed forces.

While both were students at the University of Hawaii, he met single mother Ann Dunham at the East-West Center. After dating for a few years, the two married on March 15, 1965, in Hawaii.

He became the stepfather of Barack Obama, who is three years old, after his marriage to Dunham. On August 15, 1970, the couple welcomed a daughter named Maya Kasandra Soetoro into the world.

He returned to Indonesia for business a year after marrying Dunham, while Dunham and Obama stayed at Dunham’s parents’ residence in Honolulu so Dunham could finish her education. Dunham traveled to Jakarta with her six-year-old son to live with Soetoro after finishing a bachelor’s degree in anthropology in 1967.

Soetoro worked for Dinas Topografi, a mapmaking survey company contracted by the Indonesian army, until 1970. After that, he found a new position at Union Oil Company in government relations, which helped him better his financial circumstances.

The family resided in a newly built neighborhood in Menteng Dalam, where they owned a house in the Tebet subdistrict’s administrative village, for two and a half years.

The family relocated to the Matraman Dalam neighborhood in the Pegangsaan administrative village of the Menteng subdistrict in Central Jakarta after Lolo Soetoro started working at Union Oil Company. During this period, he also replaced his Japanese motorcycle with an automobile.

Barack Obama, who spent a few years at the government-run Besuki School, relocated to Hawaii in the mid-1970s to live with his grandparents and attend Punahou School. After receiving a scholarship to study anthropology at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, Ann Dunham joined him there with her daughter a year later.

Three years later, Dunham and her daughter returned to live with Soetoro, while Obama chose to remain with his grandparents. In 1976, the family relocated to Yogyakarta, where they stayed with Soetoro’s 76-year-old mother for six months.

According to reports, Lolo Soetoro and his wife began to have divergent interests as he became more immersed in Western society and Dunham became more interested in Indonesian culture. Ann Dunham committed herself to studying rural enterprise in Indonesia after the couple divorced on November 6, 1980.

Lolo Soetoro married Erna Kustina in 1980 and had two children with her: Yusuf Aji Soetoro, a son, and Rahayu Nurmaida Soetoro, a daughter.
Lolo Soetoro died on March 2, 1987, at the age of 52, from liver disease and was buried in Tanah Kusir Cemetery in South Jakarta.

Lolo Soetoro

Lolo Soetoro

Barack Obama’s Connections

Barack Obama was registered at the Santo Fransiskus Assisis School in Jakarta as Barry Soetoro, an Indonesian citizen, leading many to believe that Lolo Soetoro had officially adopted him. Conservatives utilized this information once Obama chose to run for president in 2007 to question whether he had ever formally changed his citizenship to become a US citizen.

Obama’s presidential campaign, reports surfaced that he spent four years of his early life in a Muslim Indonesian household halfway around the world. When his religious beliefs were questioned, his campaign advisers explicitly said that he “was not raised a Muslim, and is a dedicated Christian,” emphasizing the fact that most of his stepfather’s relatives were ardent Muslims.

Obama stated in his second book, ‘The Audacity of Hope,’ published in 2006, that he was not raised in a religious home and hence did not develop religious views until he was an adult. In a 2007 story in the Chicago Tribune, Lolo Soetoro was described as “more of a free spirit than a devout Muslim, according to former friends and neighbors.”

Major Projects of Lolo Soetoro

The imprint he made on a young Barack Obama, who was strongly inspired by his stepfather’s temperament, is possibly Lolo Soetoro’s most astonishing achievement. Obama later detailed how his ideals affected him as a child in his 1995 memoir, ‘Dreams from My Father,’ noting that his stepfather offered him “a very hardheaded assessment of how the world works.”

Estimated Net Worth

The estimated net worth of Lolo Soetoro is about $1 million.


After his stepson, Barack Obama was hurt in a school fight in the late 1960s, Lolo Soetoro purchased two sets of boxing gloves, one for himself and the other for his stepson. He offered the little child lessons about the hazardous world where strong men often take advantage of the weak after a half-hour sparring session with him to educate him on how to protect himself.

Rumors circulated in the tabloids during Obama’s presidential campaign that he, his mother, and his stepfather were all linked to the CIA. While Soetoro worked for CIA-backed tyrant General Suharto, Dunham apparently worked for USAID as a CIA cover agent, and Obama spent almost a year for CIA front company Business International Corporation, Inc.