Uaealesi Epenesa Baldwin passes away in U.S.
Kenosha, WI — Uaealesi Epenesa Baldwin, beloved matriarch of the Epenesa family, went to be with her Lord, on Friday, December 18, 2020, at the age of 74.
Uaealesi lived a wonderful and generous life dedicated to loving and caring for others - family, friends, patients, and neighbors in need.
Affectionately known to friends as Wya, she was born to parents Epenesa Lima Fualau and Su'e Vaimilia To'omãata on December 17, 1946, in American Samoa. She loved her seven brothers and two sisters.
Uaealesi was always a sharp student with a strong spirit who wanted to serve others as a nurse. In 1968, she left American Samoa after earning an academic scholarship to study nursing at Western Kentucky University. She completed her nursing degree at Texas Women's University and worked tirelessly as a nurse for over 50 years. During her career she worked at hospitals across the US including Illinois, California, Mississippi, and South Carolina and in Keflavík, Iceland.
In 1985, Uaealesi and her family returned to Illinois where she began 35 years as a nurse at Saint Therese Medical Center and later Vista Medical Center, in Waukegan, where she worked as a frontline worker against COVID. At every hospital she was beloved as a devoted friend and colleague. She was respected as a great nurse who spoke her mind and who cared deeply for her friends and patients. She was known for her generosity and fun-loving nature. Many considered her as their own mom.
Uaealesi was known by many names to those who loved her. Wya to her friends, Nana, Beema, Bacca, Grandma, and Mom to her children, grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Nothing was more important or precious to Uaealesi than her family (Aiga). She worked and sacrificed selflessly for her family and loved to give them gifts. For Mom, any occasion was a good reason for a dinner or barbecue or vacation with family and she was happiest surrounded by her family talking and dancing and laughing.
Uaealesi is survived by her son, Christopher RuBert, wife Amy, and grandchildren Elijah, Lao, and Tai; son, Thomas Baldwin and grandchildren Zachary and Kailani; son, Joseph Baldwin, wife Brook, and grandchildren, Bliss, Sky, Raine, Eko Blue, and Ocean; brothers, Vaimili Vailolo and Le'asa Su'e Epenesa; sister, Fa'auã Nua; and a host of loving nieces, nephews, and life-long friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Epenesa Lima Fualau and Su'e Vaimilia To'omãata; brothers, Tasene Epenesa, Vainini Su'e Epenesa, Lala Su'e Epenesa Sr., Fuia Epenesa, and Clarence Eka Vaimili To'omaata; and sister, Vaasaumamau Vaimili To'omaata.
Visitation will take place on Saturday, January 23rd, at Proko Funeral Home, from 2:00 p.m. until the time of service at 4:00 p.m. Interment will be private. Facial coverings and social distancing are required for those attending. To stream services online, please copy and paste the following link into your browser on Satirday, Jan. 23 at 4:00 p.m. http://client.tribucast.com/tcid/51656034