Maliu / Deaths
Iole Logona Rapi Sotoa
San Diego lost one of its most beloved Fathers when Iole Lonoga Rapi Sotoa, affectionately known as "Kojak", passed away. He was a fixture at the 45th St First Congregational Church in National City where everyone remembered him for his stoic style which always reflected his pride to be Samoan. He wore the ulafala and ie lavalava to all functions. He was a Deacon in the church and dearly beloved to the Pastor and his wife. He definitely had style and charisma which in his later years was less conspicuous, but there was no doubting he was strong willed and your typical Samoan father who was strict but a man who loved his family. He is survived by his children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. A stalwart in the San Diego Samoan Community and his children are very well known in the entertainment field. Kiki Sotoa has operated her dance group Taupou Samoa and built it into one of the most popular dance troupes in Southern California. Sarona her sister is also well known for her voice and skills as an entertainer. Aliitama Sotoa has been working in American Samoa after retiring from SDG&E, the San Diego Energy company, helping the government with their energy situation. All of Iole Sotoa's children are well respected in San Diego and this is a testament to Iole or Kojak's example. As they say the fruit doesnt fall far from the tree.
Click on the slide show below to see pictures of the funeral courtesy of Albert Ainuu
Click on the slide show below to see pictures of the funeral courtesy of Albert Ainuu
The former Speaker of the House and flamboyant personality of Samoan politics has passed away. Leota Leulua'ialii Itu'au Ale is remembered.
By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia, Samoa Observer, May 14, 2016
The life of one of the founding members of the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P) and a former Speaker of Parliament, Leota Leuluaiali’i Ituau Ale, was celebrated yesterday.
Leota, who died two weeks ago, was granted a state funeral before he was laid to rest at Solosolo.
The Former Speaker, Leota Leuluaiali'i Ituau Ale was given a state funeral where his coffin was carried by police officers to his resting place at his home, Solosolo.
The Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi were among the mourners.
His final service was held at Solosolo Catholic church where his body was carried by Police officers while villagers stood on the side of the road to pay their last respects to one of their high chiefs.
The former M.P for Anoama’a West needs no introduction to the thousands of people who know him. For many of them, they simply remember him as the man with a big smile.
Seumanu Tili remembers his uncle Leota Leuluaialii Ituau Ale
Prime Minister Tuilaepa paid tribute to Leota, hailing a successful political career that spanned 31 years. While many M.Ps would only last for one term, Leota was the exception.
“He loved to talk to people no matter who they are,” Tuilaepa recalled. “Even when you are angry at him for something, the moment you meet with Leota and start talking, you forget all about it, you just laugh at his jokes.”
During a conversation with a Catholic priest, Tuilaepa said they talked about Leota being very talented and someone who always puts Solosolo first. During March General Election, Leota ran against the current M.P., Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo, and lost.
Tuilaepa recalled that Leota visited his office after he lost the election.
“Every other candidate they would be sad but Leota he was happy,” he said.
“He told me he’s happy that he had lots of votes which means that it was not important to him that he wins the election rather what was more important to him was winning more votes from his villagers.”
Before Leota passed away, asked the Prime Minister if his village could perform in the upcoming Independence celebration. Tuilaepa responded to him that there are plenty of days.
He remembered that in 1979, Leota was elected as Deputy Leader of the Human Rights Protection Party while Va’ai Kolone was the Leader.
Tuilaepa said Leota did not want second place and as a result, he resigned from the party and supported the government that was led by Tupuola Efi.
It was then that former Prime Minister, Tofilau Eti Alesana was made deputy leader and later became the Prime Minister.
“Every time I see Leota, I keep telling him that Tofilau would not have been a Prime Minister if he hadn’t walked away from the party,” said Tuilaepa. “He would’ve been a Prime Minister to today.”
The former Speaker is remembered for some of the historical changes in Parliament that he contributed tp. One of them is amending the term in Parliament from three years to five.
According to Tuilaepa, in order for the amendment to be passed, the government needed two third majority. Leota had the “foresight and wisdom” and went against the Opposition by voting for the change.
Tuilaepa also acknowledged Leota for supporting a motion he made in 1981 when he first entered Parliament. The motion was to allow Tuilaepa to deliver his maiden speech in Parliament when he won the by-election to be done without a timeframe to finish it.
He said Leota was the first to support the motion.
Leota’s wife, Taulapapa Wilma O’killy Ale nee Wornell shared many fond memories of her husband. She said he was someone who never turns anyone away if they asked for help. “Even when he’s about to lie down to rest and someone approaches home at night, he gets up and takes them in,” she said.
Taulapapa also remembered that just after the general election a lot of youths from the village came to Leota for assistance in filling in their forms for the New Zealand quota.
“When they left, I said to Leota you know none of them voted for you in the election because they know we don’t have any money to give them.
“His response was ‘don’t be like that they are looking for help but don’t use those weak things to stop us from helping them.The election is over now and all we can do is pray that they will succeed’.”
Taulapapa also spoke about the pain they had to endure when they went through trouble with the village. She remembered how their house was stoned and burnt but Leota was not bitter about it.
“He told me that was my problem that I say my rosary but I don’t have faith,” she said.
“For eight years (that we were banished) we went through a lot of pain but he kept saying to forgive them and be patient. So I said to him you might as well go and be a pastor.”
Leota went to Toamua Primary School and later attended Samoa College. He went on to study at Whangarei Boys High School, Auckland University and the University of South Pacific.
He holds a Master in History and Political Studies from Auckland University and a Bachelor in History and Samoan from the National University of Samoa.
His career life started from the Prime Minister’s office where he was a foreign officer.
Leota was also the Private Secretary to Prime Minister Mata’afa and Tupua Tamasese.
In the Judiciary sector, he was the senior interpreter and translator at the Legislative Assembly and the Supreme, Magistrate Courts and Land and Titles Court.
He was a teacher at Samoa College and at the Institute of Samoan Studies.
Leota entered parliament in 1970 to 2001 where he was the speaker on from 1970 – 1972.
Apart from being a Deputy leader for H.R.P.P. he had also worked as the Manager of Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Museum at Malua for two years.
Robert Tuata Faagalulu McKenzie. Sept 4, 1927 - Sept 11, 2015.
Robert Tuata Faagalulu McKenzie passed away on November 11, 2015, which was also Veterans Day. His final services were held at the Tropical Breeze Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Las Vegas, Nevada. Robert was born September 4, 1927 and was 88 years old at the time of his passing.
Robert McKenzie was a Police officer in the Samoa Police Department before he became a teacher. He met and married the love of his life Mekala Tuimaseve and had 3 children, Robert, Jr., Bert and Elda. He was very well known in the Pesega and CCWS school system. He taught Standard 4B or 8th grade in Pesega Elementary School for many years until he was called by the Mormon Church as a translator for the Samoan language in their Translation department. He worked there until he moved his family to New Zealand in 1973 and then they moved to Honolulu, Hawaii.
He passed away peacefully of natural causes and was considered by all a very honorable man. His sense of humor was both witty and contagious. He was known for the smile which was seen constantly on his face. he loved the sport of tennis which he passed on to his son Robert McKenzie, Jr. He is survived by his 3 children Robert, Jr.McKenzie, Bert McKenzie and Elda Kolone and their children.
The ceremony for his funeral was conducted by Bishop Purcell and the body was interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Las Vegas, NV. The Family Service was conducted by his son Bert McKenzie from Salt Lake City, UT. The Family Service was both touching and enlightening as members of the family who had never met before were introduced to each other at this meeting and enhanced the day. There were members of the family from California, Utah, and Hawaii present at the funeral. Music was provided by the Tropical Breeze Choir under the direction of Tasi Te'o.
‘Favorite Foodie’ Stacy Fawcett and sons Josiah and McCann Utu remembered in Plano memorial service
BY ROBERT PHILPOT
Scott Fawcett, brother of slain “Favorite Foodie” Stacy Fawcett, began his remarks at a memorial for Fawcett and her two teenage sons Tuesday by saying that people had been asking how many funerals there were going to be for the trio.
“While that is a legitimate question, it truly never even occurred to us to have two or three funerals,” Scott Fawcett said. “We’re having one funeral, obviously. These three would want to go to heaven together.”
The closeness among Stacy Fawcett, her 19-year-old son, McCann Utu Jr., and her 17-year-old son, Josiah, was a recurring theme about the service, which drew a large crowd of family, friends, and Plano West High School students wearing football jerseys in the teens’ honor to Prestonwood Baptist Church.
McCann Utu Sr., father of McCann Utu Jr. and Josiah Utu, speaks Tuesday evening at a memorial for the boys and their mother, Stacy Fawcett, at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas,
firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Rev. Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood, noted the size of the crowd, which filled roughly two-thirds of the large sanctuary.
The service was four days after Fawcett and her sons died. Early Friday morning, Plano police were notified that a “male subject” had reported that he committed murder. Officers found Stacy Fawcett and Josiah Utu dead at the scene, and McCann Utu Jr. with stab wounds that he died from later.
A family member told WFAA/Channel 8 that McCann Utu Jr. had called 911 while repeatedly stabbing himself. According to the family, the teen had never been the same since suffering a traumatic brain injury more than a year ago.
“For every parent who has a child in any sport, I ask that you think about how can we make change, how can we protect our precious children who love sports but suffer these terrible head injuries,” McCann Utu Sr., the boys’ father and Fawcett’s ex-husband, said at the service. “Because my son paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
“But while here on Earth,” Utu continued, struggling to get through his brief remarks, “my son lived, my son loved and my son laughed. And I know that he would want each of us to be the same.”
Stacy Fawcett was recalled in the memorial program as a force to be reckoned with (the program included an anecdote about Fawcett, an accomplished figure skater, skating with Olympian Dorothy Hamill at the grand opening of the Dallas Galleria).
Fawcett’s mother, Lynn Croft, spoke of Fawcett’s force of personality.
“You’d just kind of get in and put your seat belt on, because there was so much love,” Croft said. “I never met a more determined person in my life to take care of her children. She did not ever meet a stranger. She loved people.”
Fawcett who appeared weekly on the Saturday-morning edition of Channel 8’s News 8 Daybreak during “Favorite Foodie” segments, was well-known in the local media and food communities. She also blogged about food for radio station KVIL/103.7 FM’s website, and was an advocate for anti-hunger causes such as the North Texas Food Bank.
“That segment that she did on Saturday mornings was the highlight of her week,” Croft said. “She looked forward to that every week. She would start to ask me about what to fix on Wednesday, she would go over it, and two minutes later: ‘I changed my mind! I was going to do such-and-such, but I might do such-and-such on top of it.’ ‘Sounds good.’ Minutes later: ‘You know what? I think such-and-such might even be better!’ ”
Like all the speakers, Croft appeared to be trying to make sense of the tragedy. But she wanted it made clear that McCann Utu Jr. loved his mother.
“Mental illness is not something that we all understand,” Croft said. “Stacy was always the kind of person who thinks that she can fix things. Whether she’s fixing something to eat or just fixing things. She was bound and determined to fix this. And she, and I, did the best that we could.”
Samoa farewells Dr. Caffarelli.