REV. PUNEFU “WILLIE” SIANIA
Rev Punefu W. Siania (Papa), 83, of Waipahu, Hawaii passed from this life on January 5, 2011 at Pali Momi hospital. Preceeded in death by his mother, Pele Paogofie of Pava’ia’i, Am. Samoa, father, Willie Siania of Satupa’itea, Savai’i, and his wife, Mua’au P.Siania of Nu’u’uli, Am. Samoa. Punefu graduated from Marist Brothers HS in Am. Samoa, Kapiolani Community College (AS) and Central Michigan University (BS).
At the early age of 22, Punefu had already established himself as an entrepreneur in Am Samoa with several businesses (bakery shop, grocery store and bus passenger service) that were very prosperous. Punefu gained a wealth of knowledge as he worked as the Sr. Court Administrator for the Supreme Court of Am. Samoa. In his 13 years in the courts, he conducted legal research; public defender for 7 of his court years; legal translator/interpreter; and Director of Vital Statistics (birth/death, Land/Titles; Marriage/Divorce) etc. Meanwhile, Punefu was also a devoted layman in the Methodist Church.
Approximately 14 years later, Punefu was to pursue Law School at Georgetown University. Instead, he decided to expand his entrepreneurial wings and relocated his family in 1965 to Honolulu, establishing himself as a PR officer with Pan American Airlines, a Sales Rep for Tavares Travel Service, as well as founding one of the first Samoan owned grocery stores in Honolulu and continued to open several other stores in various locations in the Kalihi-Palama area. Punefu, by choice, raised his family in the projects (Kam IV & Mayor Wright Homes). At the time, 6 of his 7 children, ranging in the ages of 15 years to a few months old with his youngest son being born in 1975. Punefu maximized their living conditions as an opportunity to teach his children and have them experience first-hand, humility, hard work, perserverance, respect, honor, appreciation, love, family, cohesiveness, confidence, self-worth, opportunity, pride, time management and a wide world of choices.
In his lifetime, Punefu used his God given ability as an educator by teaching at Farrington High, State Safety Driving Instructor/Inspector, and also as a Citizenship instructor for the US Immigration Office. Punefu was involved in numerous projects with the City and State (Model Cities Program, HCAP, SSPA, Homeless Programs Youth Corrections & First to Work). He was a political activist, a proud Republican that worked gracefully with Democrats. Punefu had several political and dignitary friends like Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, John Waihe’e, John Carroll and his good friend Uncle Barney Trask who once at Mayor Wrights, cooked us Turkey for Thanksgiving with the best home-made gravy ever.
In 1985, Punefu was ordained as a full fledged Reverend with the Methodist Church of Samoa (MCS) in Hawaii. After his retirement from the MCS in 1997, he attended Harris United Methodist Church where he continued to use his credentials as a Pastor. He also continued to be very active in the community and practiced his legal experience by representing numerous families in Family Court mitigating on their behalf such cases as: welfare fraud, divorce, adoption, misdemeanor, and child/spousal abuse. Rev Siania trusted in God as his provider and his security, as the scripture says, “If God before us, who can be against us?” Papa remained a strong independent individual going about his every-day business whether driving, catching the city bus, handi-van or walking until he lost his left leg in August of 2009 due to a serious infection.
Dad ran his course, finished his race and reached his final destination on Wednesday, January 5, 2011. He is survived by daughters, Musuai M. (Chaco Unutoa) Siania – Mua’au, Ma’alona, Mitiana, Manaia of Waipahu, HI; Soia M. (Rev Pio) – Musuai, Oikoumene, Tafilele, Pio, Gerrica, Punefu, Taimane Pa’u’ulu of Honolulu and Western Samoa; Feagaimaleata D.L. (Seali’i) – Seali’i Epenesa of Waipahu, HI; sons, Toetu T.F.(Tafa’imamao) – Christian, Leopeni, Toetu, Misipati, John, Fred, Wesley, Tolia Solaita of Nuuuli, Am Samoa, Honolulu & CA; Leopeni A. (Manuia) – Pele, Leopeni, Lemueli Siania of Pearl City, HI; Christian P. (Ella) – Tasha, Christian, Creighton, Carmen, Camryn Siania of Waipahu, HI and Tofigatele G.B. (Sherrie) – Malosi Siania of San Bernardino, CA; 29 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; Hanai children Arnel (Menchie) Bautista, Tammy Hara, Elton (Cynthia) Bahrens, Joseph Solaita, Christian Solaita, Amo Solaita, Akesa Ah-Yen, Monotaga Levi and Tanielu Jr. Solaita.
Visitation 8:30 a.m. Friday (February 4) at Mililani Mortuary Mauka Chapel; Service 10:30 a.m. Burial 12:30 p.m. at Mililani Memorial Park. Casual Attire. Flowers Welcome.