Tributes flow for beloved Tupua

By Deidre Fanene ,

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MARIST MOMENT: Tupua Fred Wetzell and P.M. Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

MARIST MOMENT: Tupua Fred Wetzell and P.M. Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi. (Photo: Tony Callaghan)

Tributes to the life and service of the Tupua Friedrich Wetzell flowed freely – and from all directions yesterday – when the nation mourned his passing.

They came from all over the world when the news broke in the morning about Tupua’s passing.

New Zealand Member of Parliament, Su’a William Sio, said Tupua’s passing marked the end of an era for Samoa.

“He was such a beautiful man with a lovely sense of humour, a zest for life and a strong passion for life in Samoa. He will be sorely missed,” Su’a wrote.

In Samoa, the Chamber of Commerce paid tribute to a man described as a pillar of strength for the business community. 

“Tupua was the President and founder of Apia Concrete Products and since its establishment in 1973 has been a long serving member of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce,” the Chamber said in a statement.

“In 2013, at the Chamber of Commerce Queen's Jubilee Event, Tupua was awarded by the Honorable Prime Minister for long service to the Private Sector of Samoa.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Wetzell family at this time. Tupua was a great man, and as they say, no great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men. Rest in Peace Tupua Friedrich Wetzell.”

But Tupua’s legacy does not stop with his business acumen.

His passion for sport and the love to give wherever and whenever needed is what will be remembered by many.

For Marist Samoa, whom Tupua had supported for many years, in his passing, Samoa has lost a warrior. 

“Today, we bid farewell to one of the Marist St. Joseph's Sports Club pillars. Fa'afetai Tupua mo lou agalelei ile Aiga Malisi. O lea misia oe e le tatou Kalapu. Our prayers and thoughts go to Tupua's Children and the ACP/ Wetzell Family in Samoa. Rest in Love Sir Too Poor!” 

The Samoa Rugby Union also honoured him with a message of condolence.

“It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Samoa Rugby Union’s long time Benefactor and close Supporter, Afioga Tupua Fred Wetzel.

“The Board, Management and staff of Samoa Rugby Union extend its heartfelt condolences to the Wetzel family in this difficult times.”

For the Apia Hash House Harrier, the man who is famously known as “too poor” has left many memories.

“We recall our last Xmas hash in 2015 at Matautu when you rocked up with your body guard Richard to grace us once again with your presence,” the Group wrote.

“As usual you spoilt us by offering to shout the dinner for all the Hashers and in return we could only give you a Shirt. You must have collected quite a few of these simple tokens of our appreciation and alofas for your never ending love and support.

“You will be sorely missed. We will miss your singing and your duets with Godfather. We thank the universe for having blessed us with a soul like you.

“To Norman, Vernon, Angie and your beautiful family, our deepest condolences for the passing of Opa, Dad & Chief and friend to All.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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