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ASTCA CEO Pulelei’ite Tufele Jr. passes away, services pending

Pulelei’ite Li’amatua Tufele Jr [SN file photo]

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Chief Executive Officer of the American Samoa TeleCommunications Authority (ASTCA) Pulelei’ite Li’amatua Tufele Jr. passed away peacefully at the LBJ Medical Center early Friday evening.

The news of Pulelei’ite’s death sent shockwaves across the territory.

Over 100 mourners, including Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Sialega Mauga, House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale, Secretary of Samoan Affairs Mauga Tasi Asuega, cabinet members, and lawmakers, joined family members and friends at the LBJ chapel for a brief prayer service around 6:30p.m.

Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga was not present, as he had departed the territory earlier in the day for a meeting in Hawaii.

Dozens of employees from Bluesky, where Pulelei’ite once served as Chief Operating Officer, stopped by to pay their respects. An announcement informing ASTCA employees that their CEO had passed away went out and resulted in a group from ASTCA stopping by to say goodbye to their boss who, according to family members and friends, was eager to get the Hawaiki cable on line in the next few weeks.

Pulelei’ite is the son of the late PC Tufele Li’amatua, the first Samoan lieutenant governor of American Samoa, and Tofiga Aulava Tufele, a longtime nurse at LBJ Hospital.

His career portfolio includes multiple terms in the House of Representatives as faipule for Sua County, which he stepped down from when he took up the CEO position at ASTCA.

Pulelei’ite was groomed to walk in his father’s footsteps, living in the public light of business and politics.

A date and time for final funeral services are yet to be confirmed.

Pulelei’ite leaves behind his wife Sinataaga Gaoteote Tufele and three children: Tofiga, Faalele, and Li’a Jr.

Samoan News extends its deepest condolences to the Tufele family for their loss.