A legacy of hard work, love for family and generosity

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

A cloud of sadness has been hovering over Samoa during the past week. 

It’s been hard to shake it to be quite honest.

Amidst the celebration of the 2018 Teuila Festival, the Miss Samoa Pageant and a number of events held, it’s undeniable there was a touch of sadness in the air. 

For many of us, it came with the news about the passing of a beloved father, former politician and giant of the business community, Hans Joachim Keil. 

He was a wonderful gentleman, someone who one had such a deep, meaningful and profound involvement in everything celebrated in Samoa during the past few days.

You talk about the Teuila Festival; he was one of the pioneers, you speak about the Miss Samoa, he was heavily involved, not just during his life in public office but also a staunch member of the business community, which is the lifeblood of such events. 

And yet Mr. Keil is no more. He had been in the United States and had only arrived back in the country before he died peacefully at his family’s home in Lotopa two weeks ago. Aged 74, he had succumbed to cancer.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Keil’s passing is an enormously sad time for this country. It is especially a sad occasion for his children, family and many people who knew him well. 

Many of them had been taking to social media to write tributes and express their condolences in the last fortnight since the news of his passing. Yesterday, hundreds more turned up to pay their last respects during his final service. It was a fitting farewell to such a humble soul who was always unassuming and yet had such a heart of gold.

Lotopa has lost its favourite son. Ironically, Lotopa was where it all started for Mr. Keil. The proud son of William and Violet Keil, Joe was raised on a cocoa and coconut plantation there where he learnt a lot of the skills and enjoyed some of the most memorable times of his life. 

It was also the humble beginnings that would go on to shape the life of a man who grew up and had such an impact on many facets of life in Samoa. From aviation, to business, politics, history and the media, Mr. Keil was a talented and gifted man. He was God’s gift to Samoa in many ways.

He wasn’t always someone who wanted the limelight. That did not matter much to him. 

What mattered most to him was his family. Married to Celine Hellesoe, they were parents to Violette, Bella and Katrina and their special boy Nathan. You only had to watch his relationship with Nathan to know that Mr. Keil placed his family’s welfare and Nathan’s happiness above all else. It was such a beautiful relationship, one that should be emulated and remembered.

Today, we know this much, there is a time and a season for everything. 

Mr. Keil was placed on this earth for a purpose and his life was one that was well lived.

A man of unquenchable talent and drive to succeed, he was a remarkable soul yet he was humble, unassuming and continued to do things that would make life better not just for himself, but for his family and those around him.

Today, this nation is in mourning because a special man, who was raised by God for his purpose and his glory, has completed his mission on earth. 

Indeed for 74 long years, Mr. Keil served his God-given mission. He did this through people God placed in his path, whether it was his family, business community, church members and of course through the Government. 

For Joe, it was an illustrious career, one many people can only envy. 

Fly high Mr. Keil. 

In the meantime, we extend our deepest condolences to Celine, Violette, Bella, Katrina and the grandkids Tiana, Natalia, Selena, Rex, Nathaneal, Leila, Tama, Tara and Toa. Have a peaceful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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