Susana Leiato Lutali passes away at 80 years old
Former first lady Susana Leiato Lutali, the wife of the late governor A.P. Lutali, passed away at around 6:45am yesterday at LBJ Medical Center.
Mrs. Lutali held the matai title of Maeata’anoa of Fagaitua.
“My mother passed away peacefully surrounded by all of her kids and family. She heard all of us saying our goodbyes,” said daughter Josie Lutali. “She was diagnosed with uterus cancer last year which was inoperable, so we have accepted it.”
Josie said that after her mother was diagnosed here, on island, with cancer, “I took her off island for verification and to get a second and then a third opinion, which all confirmed the first diagnosis.”
“So we knew what was going to happen to our dear beloved mother. We just prayed to God to give our mother and us kids the strength to move forward,” said Josie in a brief telephone interview from the hospital. “We wanted her to have peace, no more pain and she is now at peace in the hands of the Lord. She is also now together with our dad.”
First Lady Mrs. Lutali will always be remembered for her impeccable sense of style from her beautifully coifed hair to her tailored puletasis.
A familiar sight during her husband's two terms in office was to see Mrs. Lutali tending to our territory's roadside plantings with her committee of women in her puletasi and broad rimmed hat. Many of the bushes and trees that one sees on the mountain side of our public roads were originally planted by Mrs. Lutali and her gardening committee.
“My mother always made sure she was dressed in a puletasi while in public, during her tenure as first lady and afterwards. The only time she would wear pants in public, was when she was playing golf,” said Josie.
Asked what she missed most about her mother, Josie said, “her support - she was very supportive of all of us and was a loving and caring mother. She was a perfectionist - which was her nature. She was very faithful when it came to her overall health - eating the right food, checking her blood pressure.”
However, “the only issue of health that she had lacked was certain health issues pertaining to women only and she didn’t conduct the check ups,” she said.
Mrs. Lutali spearheaded beautification projects territory-wide during her husbands terms from 1985 to 1989 and again from 1993 to 1997. The late governor passed away in 2002.
Mrs. Lutali again ventured into local politics during the 2004 general election seeking District #5's (Sua No. 1) seat in the House of Representatives, comprised of Fagaitua, Amaua, Auto, Alega, Avaio, Aumi and Lauli’i. She was unsuccessful in her bid.
She will be remembered as a First Lady with an unswerving commitment to the territory and her family who carried herself with elegance and grace whether she was attending a state function or tending to her beloved gardens.
Mrs. Lutali is survived by her eight children and many grandchildren. She lost two sons a couple of years ago.
Funeral services for Mrs. Lutali are pending to be announced soon.
Samoa News expresses our deepest condolences to the Lutali family.