Siope Sitanilei Lopeti: Kainga, families and friends say goodbye to a loved one

A memorial service on May 21 was held by Sanalio’s and Lopeti’s families and  kainga of Pea, Tongatapu to farewell their beloved Mr Siope Sitanilei Lopeti (49) who died while he was sailing on a boat from Nuku’alofa to Vava’u Islands .

Lopeti who has just arrived in Tonga from Hawaii for his Church of Tonga Annual Conference to be held in Vava’u was expected to return to Tongatapu after the conference to join  his dad’s 75 birthday scheduled to be celebrated last week.

His brother, Nesiasi Kamoto Lopeti, told Kaniva News Sitanilei was “apparently died” in the boat and the voyage has to stop at Pangai,  Ha’apai to drop him off before it continued on to Vava’u.

He was taken to Niu’ui Hospital in Hihifo, Ha’apai before his younger brother arrived by aircraft from the mainland  Tongatapu to return his body.

Police could not be reached for comments but the family says they suspected heart attack was the cause of his death.

His wife Pakilau Lopeti has to fly from Hawaii with their only son ‘Alekisio Sateki Lopeti to join his funeral in Tonga.

Sitanilei Lopeti, an alumnus of Atenisi University served as a church steward in their Tongan community Church of Tonga in Hawaii.

He is the eldest son of Tekifaiva Sanalio Lopeti and Mele Lopeti of Pea, Tongatapu.

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