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Son of late Gov. Peter Tali and Nora Coleman passes away

LOS ANGELES —  Born in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 17, 1951, Bruce Joseph Fanene Coleman, the sixth of the twelve children of the late Governor Tali Peter T. and Nora Kawailiula Coleman passed away peacefully on November 26, 2013 in Los Angeles. The military veteran and businessman was 62.


His early childhood years were spent in American Samoa where he attended Marist Brothers School in Atu'u and A'oga Samoa in Nuuuli.  This was a time he always recounted to his own kids as one of his favorite times in his life - living in American Samoa, eating Samoan food and fishing.  He would often walk from Government House on Maugaoalii to Nuuuli to play with his friends.


At the end of Coleman's five year term as the first and only native born Samoan governor who was appointed by President Eisenhower, Bruce's father's job would require the family to move to the Marshall Islands in the mid-1960s where his father became the Chief Administrator of the Marshalls during President John F Kennedy's administration.  Bruce wanted to remain in American Samoa but his dad appealed to his young son Bruce's heart as a dreamer and told him that they played movies every night in the Marshalls as opposed to once a week in American Samoa.  Bruce's eyes immediately lit up and he asked "When do we leave?"  Bruce always loved movies. 


In his teen years, he attended Kamehameha High School in Hawaii where he graduated with the class of 1968.  Following graduation, Bruce traveled to Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands where his family now lived as his father was appointed as Chief Administrator for the Marianas Islands and later on as Deputy High Commissioner of the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.  During this time Bruce got a job building pre-fabricated homes for families whose homes had been destroyed by a recent typhoon.  He was paid $0.17 an hour.


When that project was done, Bruce joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps, where he served our Nation for three years as a communication specialist.  Upon completion of his military service he took advantage of the G.I. Bill to attend the University of Guam where he graduated with a Bachelor's Degree and met his future wife Vickie Sablan of Saipan, Mariana Islands.


He is survived by his wife Vickie, his son Michael and daughter-in-law Heather and his daughter Alithea.  He is also survived by his eleven brothers and sisters: "Dyke" William Patrick Pouono, "Skip" Peter Tali Jr., Milton John Falemalama, Charles Ulualofaiga, Aumua Amata, Richard Fa'aeainasamoa, Paul Vaela'a, Barrett Francis Tali, Alan David Mahiai, Sina'ita'aga Patricia and Limonmon Coleman Glenister.  


Caption for photo below:  The late Gov. Tali Peter T. Coleman, his wife Nora Kawailiula and their twelve children on their 50th wedding anniversary. Bruce Joseph Fanene, the young man wearing glasses, who passed away last week, is standing beside Gov. Tali.  The remainder of the Coleman children are all alive and well today. The Coleman daughters are in the front row. L to R: Limonmon Mary, Sina'ita'aga Patricia and Aumua Amata. The sons standing on the left of the photo, from front to rear include Barrett Francis Tali, Milton Falemalama,  Paul Vaela'a and Bruce Joseph Fanene.  On the right side of the photo, standing on the left of Mrs. Coleman  is "Dyke" William Patrick Pouono, Richard Fa'aeainasamoa and Charles Ulualofaiga. In the front row, on the far right is Alan David Mahiai standing beside "Skip" Peter Tali Jr., who is standing beside Aumua. [courtesy photo]