April 12, 1927 ~ October 30, 2018
Sione Tonga Finau
With heavy hearts, we declare the passing of Sione Tonga Finau - who has honorably concluded his mortal journey of 91 years here on earth. From the humblest of beginnings in Fo’ui, Tonga on April 12, 1927, to the tender finale in Hemet, California on October 30, 2018 - this amazing and simple man can indisputably lay claim to the dual titles of “World’s Hardest Worker”, and “Greenest Thumb on Earth”. His ability and desire to work was an anomaly amongst humans. Ten years after certifying for senior citizenship, he could still outwork all teenagers and most twenty somethings. Those over thirty had finally gained the wisdom to realize it was a futile battle, thus waving the proverbial white flag - lest some life-altering injury should shatter one’s future of physical normalcy. Yet thankfully, those who witnessed this constant display of superhuman strength, were unconsciously absorbing a fraction of his power through some form of osmosis. How grateful and humbled we -his descendants- are for his example and for “walking the walk” and not “talking the talk”. One of the few phrases he could utter in English was, “Too much talk!” How true he was to his wise words of “Less talk - more work!”
He had the mysterious ability to grow any type of tree, flower, plant, or shrub his heart desired. While running the notorious Aloha Tree Service landscaping business, he would scour the Inglewood and Los Angeles area for vegetation native to his beautiful homeland of Tonga. When his eagle-eye spotted anything of interest, he would attempt to secure a portion of said shrubbery or foliage as a triumphant and welcome addition to the tropical paradise he created in Lennox. Anyone who had the privilege of witnessing this thriving jungle could attest to the awesomeness of its existence. How does a single-lot home in Lennox become filled with sugar cane, banana trees, orange trees, cabbage, peppers, aloe vera, and kava? And that was only the backyardâ€¦â€¦up front was a whole host of trees and shrubs native to Tonga, another breed of sugar cane, and the towering magnolia that served as the best playground on earth (as well as the ladder to the house rooftop) for all the grandkids. We are definitively star-struck at the legendary greenness of his thumbs, and respectfully apologize to all the plants that will never be - because the spirit of the man who could bring them to life has departed terra firma.
Grandpa Sione is survived by all eight children: Lupe, Telekaki, Ana, Kinga, Sinu, Kelepi, David, and Bo. He loved his children with a heart that defies description. His captivating smile and unforgettable laugh will never be forgotten. Times of frustration were usually accompanied with the famous glottal growl, but that endearing growl was also present during times of laughter and playfulness. It became a trademark of sorts, and no one in the family has its tone and quality of sound mastered like the O.G. - Sione Tonga Finau. All of his eight children were born in Tonga, where they lived to witness the true legend of the man. From working in the field to fishing in the sea, or running the horse and chariot to feeding the neighbors, Grandpa’s hard work took care of all those who were fortunate enough to be in his vicinity. And that’s where the tale of the man begins to morph into the reality of a man who was truly Christ-like. His most important and lasting legacy is his faithfulness and commitment to being a true follower of Jesus Christ. His example of hard work, caring, sharing, and steadfastness in the gospel as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is what truly defines him as a superhero here on earth. He served two missions for the Church - one in Eua, Tonga, and the other in Los Angeles, CA. His selflessness and sacrifice, along with constant ministering to those in need - are the most important works he performed during his mortal existence. He was also a faithful temple worker at the Los Angeles Temple for many years.
Sione is also survived by all 53 grandchildren, and 70+ great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by the true love of his life - his wife Na’ati, his parents (Potolaka & Akanesi Lupe), all seven siblings (Sesimani, Sifoni, Sulieti, Oto Ota, Mele Viola, Sateki, Tevita), and great-grandson Dominick Finau. “We honor and love you Sione Tonga Finau, for being the best dad, husband, grandpa, and great-grandpa ever!” It shall be well with you on the other side, for your legacy in Christ has been sealed on earth and in heaven.
Sione, oku mau mate he ofa atu kiate koe. Neongo pe kuo ke si’I hiki atu ki he tafa’aki he taha, oku mahino kiate kimautolu he te tau toe fakataha i he kaha’u na. Fakafeta’i mo e fakamalo kia te koe, ko e uhi koe peteliake lelei a e famili ni, mo e sipinga lelei na’ake tuku mai kiate kimautolu ho’o fanau - ke mau muimui ai o fakahoko ko e fanau talangofua mo fai totonu. Na’e pehe ange a Nifai ki he’ene tamai, “Teu alu o fai a e ngaahi me’a kuo fekau e he Eiki, he oku ou ilo oku ikai tuku ai e he Eiki ha fekau ki he fanau a e tangata kae ikai te ne teuteu ha hala ma’anautolu ke nau lava ai o fai a e me’a kuo ne fekau kiate kinautolu." Sione, na’ake hoko ko e hala ko ia kiate kimautolu, he na’ake osi teuteu he hala ke mau fou ai ke mau lava ai o fai a e me’a kuo ne fekau e he Eiki kiate kimautolu. Amusia koe, Sione Tonga Finau, oku ke a’usia. Folua a koe, he koe fononga atu ki palataisi oku faka’ofo’ofa. Alu a tangata ngaue o e Lolo Paongo. Ofa lahi atu kiate koe Sione Tonga.
Famili - mou tokonga mai he ko e popo’aki eni e tau kuiâ€¦oku ne pehe maiâ€¦”Luv you so much! Nofo a.”
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