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Am Samoa native passes away in Colorado

Ventura "Van" Liufau

Haxton, COLORADO — Ventura "Van" Liufau, 96, of Haxtun, CO, passed into Heaven Thursday, May 18, 2023 in Haxtun. The funeral service was Thursday, May 25th at 10:30 a.m. at the Haxtun United Methodist Church with Pastor Jeri Soens officiating.

Ventura was born September 8, 1926 in Aua Tutuila, American Samoa to Faafe'ai and Tausolia Liufau.

He married Julia Strobel August 11, 1956 in Bethune, CO at Hope Congregational Church. This union with Christ at the center has lasted over 66 years.

One would be hard pressed to find a more unique and challenging life journey than Van's. Geographically it went from the small island of American Samoa to Hawaii, stretching across the mainland to New York, next to South Dakota Back to Hawaii and finally landing in Colorado.

In American Samoa, Van attended grades one through 8 at a small private school for the sons of the high chiefs. The next four years were spent teaching English to a diverse group of high school age students, resident military personnel and adults from around the island. Van eventually found passage on a Navy ship headed for the Hawaiian Islands and crossed the equator to his new home in Honolulu.

Ventura settled into his Hawaiian surroundings as he began attended Punahou. Here he completed his high school graduation requirements as well as coursework that would prepare him for college. That college opportunity was provided by a philanthropist from Hawaii and Ventura was off to college at Colgate University in New York.

In New ork Van completed his first year of college which included a time of exposure to the arts and religion. The experience was memorable, but he found himself drawn to his calling to ministry and education taking him to the congregational College in Yankton SD. The move to South Dakota proved to be his most life changing as he met the beautiful German farm girl from Colorado and they soon married and started their life together. The newlyweds had a desire to experience Hawaii and so they made it their first home, complete with two new arrivals that became their family of four. After about three years, when Hawaii became a state, they made the decision to return to South Dakota so that Van could complete college. He also achieved another important milestone and became a proud citizen of the United States after graduation.

Van's first job was a teaching position in Elbert Colorado which was close to home for Julia. The next and last move would be to Haxtun, Colorado where he and Julia have made their home since 1964. Van has enjoyed the opportunities to teach and coach in the Haxtun Schools where he was a part of two track and one football state championships. He has been a member of the Haxtun United Methodist Church, Lions Club and has provided Luau's that were attended by hundreds of NE Colorado residents as well as leading several vacation trips to Hawaii that included an education component through NJC for teachers.

Van's long time residency in Haxtun brought him into contact with many people in the surrounding communities. The lives he touched were better for it. Van will be missed by Julia and the rest of the family and those he knew as friends. His strong faith that carried him on earth has now escorted escorted him into Heaven. His legacy lives on through the lives of his loving wife and the lives of his children and grandchildren.

Van is survived by his wife Julia (Strobel) Liufau, daughter Renee' (Liufau) Liufau-Uili, son Ronald Liufau and daughter-in-law Carol. Renee' and Ron each have two children who love their "Papa". Christina Uili, Peter Liufau, Nicolas Uili and Andrew Liufau.