On January 2nd, 2021, our beloved mother, Fuiavailili Lagaaia Tauvao Laulu Kome Taito of West Jordan, Utah, passed away as a result of Covid-19. Kome was born in the village Faáala Palauli, Samoa on March 4, 1943 to her late parents, Tulali Tauvao Laulu and Apuauro Fáaláuláu Puletiu. Kome was the 5th of 7 children born to her parents.
Kome grew up in Savaii where she and her sister, Della, worked by horseback on their father’s cocoa and taro plantation. Our mom fondly recalled these teenage years as very happy. At 16, she immigrated to Auckland, New Zealand to live with her most loved older brother, Koloti Laulu in 1960. It was at Koloti’s home she met and later married our father, Anesi Vaápáu Taito on September 25, 1965. Our dad had been on holiday in Auckland from working on a farm in Whangarei and met our mother and he never went back.
Our parents had 5 children within 4 years: Katrina, Terrence (Eki), the twins, Victoria and Gloria, and Lee Roy. They raised their very young family in Auckland, NZ with the help of her young sister, Mariaha. We absolutely loved being raised in NZ but our mom was restless and wanted to be closer to her own mother and wanted more opportunities for her children. So, in 1978, our parents picked up their children and, for a second time for both, immigrated to a new country, the United States.
Once in the U.S., Kome started working towards what would become her life’s passion and legacy – her Samoan Heritage and Culture. Mailo Pio once wrote about Samoan Culture that Samoa is a structured society founded upon principles of protocol, honor, dignity, respect and love. This was our mother to the very end. She raised her children this way and expected people around her to behave in this manner.
Beginning in 1978, she worked tirelessly with the Salt Lake Samoan Community to bring about organization amongst the very few Matai (high chiefs) here in the valley. It was from this organization of Matai that the first Samoan LDS ward (Emerson Ward) came to fruition. These Matai also voted to make her the first female “Pulenu’u” (President) which is highly unusual for a very patriarchal society. Later in life, she was president of or chaired many Samoan organizations and events, including the annual Samoan Flag Day, Samoa mo Samoa, Samoan Cultural Association and others. Her final Samoan Flag Day Event was in 2014 which made her 71 years of age.
She was a faithful member of the LDS Church and taught Gospel Doctrine in her beloved Mapusaga Ward for well over 2 decades and again at the Highland 8th Samoan Ward until she was sidelined by an old softball injury from NZ that required surgery at the age of 75.
Her pride and joy and most cherished thing in her life were her four grandsons; Dominique, Courtney, Rene and Anesi, and four great-grandchildren; Manaia, Kaheana, Kealii and Nakoa.
Kome is survived by her brother, Koloti Laulu (Utah), sisters; Laveileoge Broderlow (Samoa), Ainofo Afó (American Samoa), Suresa Tafua (Utah), Mariaha Afuvai (Washington), Moe Laulu (Samoa), Sitaiti Laulu (Samoa) and Nuualiitia Laulu (Samoa). Children Katrina Totoa Taito(daughter), Terrence Anesi and Lisa Flexman Taito (son and daughter in law) Victoria Leitu Taito (daughter) Gloria Moe Taito (daughter) LeeRoy Taito (son), grandchildren Dominique Anisi and Kanani Ahquin Taito, Courtney Tanu and Selesi Schwenke Taito, Rene Siaosi Taito, Anisi Tyler Taito and great-grandchildren Manaia, Kaheana, Keali'ikanaka'ole and Nakoa Taito.
Kome is preceded in death by her husband, Anesi Vaapau Taito and great-granddaughter, Kaheana Taito and other siblings.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a limited family viewing and funeral service will be on January 9, 2021 at 9:00 AM. To join the funeral services at 9:00 AM via Zoom, please see the instructions below. Graveside service and interment will immediately follow.
1. Joining by computer a. Go to zoom.us in any internet browser
b. Click “join meeting”
c. Enter the meeting id - 8012981564
d. A box will open saying “https://zoom.us wants to open this application”. Click “open zoom”
e. Click “Join with Computer Audio”
f. Click “Mute” in the bottom left-hand corner so that your audio does not interrupt the funeral services
2. Joining by phone or iPad a. Download the Zoom app
b. Open the app and select “join a meeting”
c. Enter the meeting id - 8012981564
d. Select “join without video”
e. Select “Call using internet audio”
f. Select “mute” in the bottom left-hand corner so that your audio does not interrupt the funeral services.