|Birth: ||Nov. 13, 1949, American Samoa|
|Death: ||Jan. 27, 2011, American Samoa|
Peni "Ben" Solaita was my father in law. My husband is the oldest of four children. Ben was the current President of the National Olympic Committee for American Samoa. His brother Tolia Solaita (also on find a grave)was the first Samoan to play major league baseball. I will write more in time. My thoughts are really scattered because this loss for has been devastating. Please Google his name until I get this finished and you will truly understand what a great person we have lost~
We were on the Island for approximately 3 weeks for the services and funeral of my father in law; Ben Solaita. While there, I heard of a great man; a coach, a businessman, a boss, a skipper, a president, a brother, a uncle, a cousin, a friend, a dad, a husband. I would like to share a bit about Ben the Father in law, Ben the "Papa" to our children Samoa News said it best in their article dated January 28th, Ben is survived by "great" grandchildren. In his eyes, all of his grandchildren were great and it showed every time he saw them. Ben was the proud "Papa" of 8 grandchildren. Launikko, Mathyus, Brandon (who he named), Keonahi'ilani (Laupati's), Alisi, David, (Sale's), Louis (Soia's), Peni (His namesake) (Louis'). The first 6 live off Island. However, the distance never got in the way of his relationship with them. His last visit to the states was 3 months before he passed, and he was planning another visit in Feb/March 2011.
I will share with you what I as a daughter in law has learned from his several visits, our talks, emails and phone calls. Ben Solaita was a man with unconditional love. His heart was a magnet of care and concern. His faith, at one time tested after the death of his brother, was rebuilt with his own relationship with Our Heavenly Father. He was a forgiving man, understanding man, and visiting his grandkids was a highlight of his life. The smile so many spoke about at his services, was evident every time he was around or spoke to them on the phone. He called the grandkids usually weekly, or every other day. He was a proud father, and attended many events off Island that were memorable in the lives of his own children. When introduced many years ago to our children's daycare provider, she described his handshake as "so powerful it felt like a hug." Ben was an amazing listener, and his advice/opinions were always accepted and respected. He was a very selfless person, especially when it came to family. So often people come in our lives but rarely does anyone have such a huge impact as Ben did. There are not many people with all the great qualities Ben possessed in this world. That is why this loss is so devastating. J.A. had wrote to my husband the day after his passing, " I realized yesterday that my dad taught me to be a man. Your dad taught me to be a better man." So many men young and old could testify to that same sentiment.
I want to share one story that will sum up the type of "Papa" Ben was. May of 2009 his oldest grandson was receiving an Outstanding Student Award from school. The award was going to be given out at the minor league baseball field of the High Desert Mavericks in Adelanto California. Ben flew from American Samoa to California and attended the ceremony. This award was not for high school nor for college. This was a first grader, who's dad was in Officer School in Virginia. Papa made it a point to be there. When thanked for coming, his reply with that contagious smile and deep laughter, " Of course I had to be here for my son." That right there shows the overflowing amount of love he had for his grandkids. To make a trip like that where others may have never seen the importance of it.
We are still in a state of disbelief. He played a major part in the lives of his kids and grandkids. He is sorely missed. However, it was very comforting to see the out pour of love during his services, hearing the stories from family and friends, letters to the editor, news articles, etc. His legacy will live through his kids, through his grandkids, and through each individual whose life he impacted in some kind of way; myself included. Ben was the MVP (Most Valuable Person) in our family, and the MVP (Most Valuable Papa) to our kids. No one in this lifetime will ever be able to top that title, MVP~
Ben is the grandfather to 3 step-grandchildren Lonjay, Noralia and Leilia and 9 grandchildren Nikko, Mathyus, Brandon, Keona, Alisi, David, Louis, Peni, and Teleiotis.
My heartfelt Thank You to Rosetta Neeson for sponsoring my father in laws memorial. A sign that angels do still exist amongst us.
Cause of death: Stroke which lead to a coma.
Tulafono Ioane Solaita (1918 - 2000)
Lili'aifao Maugalei Soliai Solaita (1920 - 1992)
Tolia Solaita (1947 - 1990)*
Peni Solaita (1949 - 2011)
Eastern, American Samoa
Plot: Buried on Family land next to his brother Tolia, and mother Li'lia.
Created by: Nique
Record added: Jan 27, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 64778264
Added: Nov. 22, 2014
Hey dad, it's 9:47, Nov 12.... And I am about to go to bed. But I wanted to come by and say happy birthday before I go to sleep. It's hard to believe it's going on 4 years that you have been gone. No amount of words can describe how much we miss you. ...(Read more)|
Added: Nov. 12, 2014
Added: Aug. 31, 2014
|There are 193 more notes not showing...|
Click here to view all notes...