Provo, UT, Vili Sunia Lolohea of Orem, UT, age 65, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones at Utah Valley Hospital, after a 15-year battle with heart disease. Although he left this world worn and weak, he will always be remembered for his strength, both of body and mind.
Vili was born across the sea in the Kingdom of Tonga, in Kolofo’ou, Tongatapu, to his mother Fusi Talia Lolohea, and father Viliami Sunia. As a child he was known to skip school in favor of a day of fishing. The rewards of his fishing were often a main source of food for his family, and later his contributions came from work as a cook’s assistant with the Merchant Marines starting at the age of 14.
He traveled the world twice by ship, until the ship that brought him to America left him stranded in this land. He was taken in by family in California, where he lived and learned different trades. Eventually his life took him to the state of Utah. It was here that he met his wife of 41 years, and where they ultimately settled down to raise their family.
While Vili was versed in many trades, masonry was his passion. It provided an artistic and physical outlet, and he was highly skilled. Vili could point out the homes and businesses that he had worked on in almost any town through which he drove. Masonry was a tool he used to teach the power and importance of hard work, both of which he passed on to his posterity.
When age and health required, Vili returned to his childhood love of fishing as a full-time hobby. Vili most often fished at Utah Lake, and spread the joy of fishing to all he came in contact with. His life as a fisherman allowed Vili to fight his body’s ailments and be active. The resiliency and strength he gained from fishing allowed him to fish the waters of Utah for 15 years longer than medical expectations. He was truly a champion of body and mind.
Always one to take his own path, Vili had an abiding, though unconventional, testimony in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His exhilarating, yet humble presence influenced all he came in contact with.
Vili is survived by his wife Julie Gleed Lolohea of Orem, Utah, his eldest son Edgar Juarez and his posterity, his and Julie's six children: Talia (Tevita) Maumau, Silakivai (Blanca) Lolohea, Vili Lolohea, Latutama (Nuku) ‘Anitoni, Penelope Lolohea, and Darl Lolohea, his six grandchildren: Mosese, Mason, JennaLee, Silakivai, Esalina, and Latutama, and his sisters Latutama (Siosiua Kaiama) Lavulo and Sapate Pa'ame (Viliami) Anga’aelangi. He was preceded in death by his granddaughter Lile Genevieve Maumau, his mother Fusi Talia Lolohea, his father Viliami Sunia, his sisters Penelope (‘Inoke) Hu’akau and Luisa (Penisimani) Fakalata. Vili is also survived by his beloved dogs, Copper, Sadie, and Storm.