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Chairman of Senate budget committee was 60

By Tina Mata’afa PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, (Samoa News, August 4, 2009) - Senator Liufau Sonoma died yesterday at Straub Hospital in Honolulu, Hawai΄i. He was 60 years old. According to his daughters Sylvia Mauga and Vaiata Pulu, the senator died at around 4 p.m. Hawai΄i time (3 p.m. local time). He had traveled to Hawai΄i for medical treatment in June.

"He was such a great father and a great provider," said Mauga via telephone from Aua, where relatives and friends gathered to console his family. "I’m just so thankful for the relationship we had with him...we’re doing okay with God’s help, and we’re trying to be strong for my mom."

Mauga said the late senator and his wife Mrs. Sive Matautia Sonoma Liufau -- celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary in Honolulu in June.

His daughters chuckled as they remembered their father’s great sense of humor and fun loving nature.

"He was funny all around," Mauga said, "And he was an awesome singer."

Mrs. Sonoma and several of their children were at the senator’s side when he passed away peacefully, said Mauga.

She noted that her mother and siblings were visited by Governor Togiola Tulafono, the Fono leadership and other members of the delegation in the Aloha State for Samoan Heritage Week yesterday at Straub.

Senator Liufau was sworn into office February of this year for his second term as one of the three senators for Ma’oputasi, representing the villages of Aua, Leloaloa, Lepua and Atu’u.

Liufau, who is chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, was unable to attend the January 3, 2009 swearing in ceremony for all members of the 31st Legislature due to medical reasons.

Liufau was also chairman of the Development Bank of American Samoa (DBAS) board of directors. He first entered the Senate in January 2005 and was serving his second four-year term.

Liufau had maintained his post as a meteorologist at the NOAA National Weather Station in Tafuna, due to the shortage of qualified personnel for the local weather station. He started working at the weather station in 1970 and attained certification as a meteorologist in 1992.

Liufau, of Aua, was first appointed to the DBAS board in 2001 and has been chairman since 2002.

The late senator and Mrs. Sonoma have nine children and six grandchildren. The children are: Vaiata Pulu; Sylvia Mauga; Leutu Sua; Tumua Brown; Utaifeau Leonard Liufau Sonoma; Eua Siuloa; Tanielu Sonoma, Jr.; Danielle Sonoma and Lenny Sonoma.

Samoa News management and staff extend their deepest condolences to the family of the late Sen. Liufau Sonoma, for their great loss.

(Story updated to show Tumua Brown is not deceased but is alive and well and employed at Nu’uuli Poly-Technical High School.)

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