The life of former Police Commissioner, Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo, was celebrated by relatives, friends and colleagues during a service at the Loimata O Apaula Congregational Christian Church at Papauta yesterday.
Described as a quiet person with a heart of gold, Lilomaiava’s legacy as a former Police Commissioner and a great leader will be sorely missed.
The former Commissioner was the loving husband to Suiitiiti Tolupeni – Taioalo, a proud father to Leao, Mua’autau, Molia, Jerry, Sione, Time and Isu Taioalo, the son of the late Taioalo and Tauatua Isu Matautia Taioalo and a sibling to Mailei, Taua Su’a, Suivaaia, Matamatanonofo, Leifimauloto, Tutogi and Faapaiaga.
Lilomaiava passed away on Wednesday 16 December. He was 59. Among the mourners yesterday were the Member of the Council of Deputies, Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II; Chief Justice, His Honour Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu; Leader of the Opposition Palusalue Faapo II; Police Commissioner Fuiavailiili Egon Keil and his Assistant Commissioners, Afamasaga Michael Soonalole and Fauono Talalelei Tapu and some of the Cabinet Ministers.
In paying tribute to his brother, Su’a Taioalo Matautia said Lilomaiava was a man with a big heart.
“He was the eldest of all of us and when our father passed away he was the man of our family,” said Su’a. “He paid for all of his sibling’s school fees including mine when he started working in 1976.
“We are who we are right now because of him and he went through a lot in not only building up his own family but also looking after his siblings and our parents.
“He left us so soon but [we] never got the chance to say thank you to him for looking after us, his siblings.
“I have never once heard him complain about anything when we were young, even when he has a family of his own to look after.”
Su’a spoke of his brother’s love for his work as a police officer and as a police commissioner. “He was so committed to his work that he won’t come home until a case is solved and that’s the kind of person he is,” said Su’a.
“He is not scared to die. As a matter of fact, he was ready to die in his work, and there were also times that people will threaten him because of the cases that he was on, but that didn’t stop him from working so hard.
“He has a big heart, through his service as a police officer and a police commissioner.
“That’s the kind of person my brother was.
“I see him as somebody who leads from the front; he is not scared of anything as a police commissioner.
“I once saw his picture on [the] front page of the Samoa Observer with one of the issues in one of the villages and to me, that is one characteristic of a good leader, a brave leader, of someone that leads with not only words but with actions, and I know my brother was ready to die in his work.
“He was brave too, and he may not be big in size but he has a big heart.” Su’a said his brother found being terminated as police commissioner tough.
“You all have known of what happened with his position and I could see in his eyes that he was hurt, but he always carried it by himself.
“As brothers and sisters, his wife and his children, we all look to him as a hero.
“He may not be a hero in the eyes of some people, but to our eyes he was great hero.
“He may not be a leader to some but to us he was a great leader.
“He was inspirational to all of our children; he was...committed and a brave man.
“In our eyes, you are still a leader, and you were a great hero and you have made us all proud.”