“Julie” Sword remembered

Taulapapa William Sword has confirmed the passing of his wife, Juliette Caroline Sword, the first Miss South Pacific (1987), who was Miss American Samoa at the time.

Her final church service will be at the Mililani Mortuary Makai Chapel on the island of Oahu in Hawai’i, and is set for 9:30a.m. Feb 11, according to Taulapapa in an email from Honolulu this week.

The following in an obituary prepared for her funeral service and shared with Samoa News by Taulapapa:

Juliette Caroline Sword passed away at her home in Mililani, Hawai’i at 7 p.m. Sunday night, January 28, surrounded by family and friends.

She had been fighting pancreatic cancer since she was diagnosed in October 2016. After having a tumor removed with the "whipple" procedure, she went through chemotherapy and radiation — to no avail.

Juliette was only 56 years old, born Oct. 27, 1961, and was born and raised in Gataivai, American Samoa. Her life was full of achievements and constructive efforts. She started her working life at Spencers store in Pago Pago and then attended a business school in Hawai’i.

She was a trained flight attendant for Samoa Air. Juliette Spencer won the inaugural Miss South Pacific — now the Miss Pacific pageant — title in 1987. When she was crowned Miss South Pacific, which touted the sarong and a sand runway, she was humble in her achievement and proceeded to represent the Samoas and the Pacific in many events.

Juliette then became a member of the Miss South Pacific Board in Samoa, and established MASI (Miss American Samoa, Inc.) to recruit, prepare and counsel young ladies for the Miss South Pacific Pageants. She did this for 10 years and mentored many young ladies, three of whom became Miss South Pacific.

She became the model for many young ladies and gave much back to society in later years by being involved in pageants, ladies paddling groups, aerobics events and other charitable events. 

Later she was a registered aerobics instructor, physical education instructor for the ASCC, physical education teacher for South Pacific Academy and later a registered Samoan interpreter in Hawai’i. Juliette has been written about in several publications about young ladies in American Samoa.

In November of 2017, during her illness, she travelled to Paris (visiting the Louvre, had lunch on the Eiffel tower, toured Notre Dame Cathedral and had dinner on the Seine), Rome (tour and lunch in the Vatican, St. Peters Basilica, and the Coliseum) and Tuscany, visiting Florence, Sienna, Pisa and Venice (enjoyed a gondola ride with a singing tenor accompanied by an accordion player) — her dream trip.

She is survived by her husband of 29 years Taulapapa William Sword, and her proudest achievement was raising sons Will J, John, and Spencer.

She is the daughter of Sia and Denver Spencer (deceased) and was raised by her grandparents Tuugaelagi and Tauamo Tarrant (deceased). She leaves behind many friends, relatives and colleagues in American Samoa, Samoa, and Hawa’ii.

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