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One of BYU–Hawaii’s most notable alumni passes away

Andrew Miller | University Relations
Thursday, 2 March 2017

LAIE, Hawaii – Eni F. H. Faleomavaega, former U.S. Congressional Representative for American Samoa and BYU–Hawaii alumnus (Class of 1964), passed away on February 22 surrounded by loved ones in his home in Provo, Utah. He is survived by his wife, Hinanui, and five children, two of whom also attended BYU­–Hawaii.

Eni was American Samoa’s longest-serving delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, having served 13 consecutive terms. Prior to serving in the House, Eni served as lieutenant governor and deputy attorney general of American Samoa, staff counsel to the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, and captain in the U.S. Army Reserve.

During his civil service, Eni was known for his active participation in international relations, human rights, and Native American and Asia-Pacific issues. His life embodies President David O. McKay’s prophecy about BYU–Hawaii educating “men and women whose influence will be felt for good toward the establishment of peace internationally.”

Eni was born in Vailoatai Village, American Samoa, in 1943. His family later moved to Hawaii where he graduated from Kahuku High School in 1962 and attended the Church College of Hawaii (CCH, later renamed BYU–Hawaii) from 1963 to 1964.

While at CCH Eni was the president of his freshman class and was one of the first performers at the Polynesian Cultural Center. About BYU–Hawaii, Eni said that “education is the salvation of our people, and that to me is the mission of BYU–Hawaii. Probably more than anything else, the spiritual education at BYU–Hawaii is like a little bit of heaven.”

Eni graduated from CCH in 1964 with an associate degree, after which he transferred to BYU in Provo and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and history. He later went on to earn a juris doctor from the University of Houston and a master of laws from the University of California, Berkeley, before beginning his political career.

Education was always important to Eni. In lieu of flowers, Eni’s family requests that memorial donations be made to the Eni F. H. Faleomavaega Scholarship at BYU–Hawaii, which will benefit Pacific Island students. To give online, go to bit.ly/enischolarship, select BYU–Hawaii Scholarships, and under “comments or instructions” type the name of the scholarship.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 11, at 11:00 a.m., preceded by a public viewing at 9:30 a.m., at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint at 1138 West 100 South in Spanish Fork, Utah.  At the same location the evening prior, there will be a family service for the public at 6:00 pm.

You can read more about Eni in the Washington Post and The New York Times.