Thursday, February 7, 2013

It gives me pause. A moment of silence

A former colleague of mine passed away this week. He was too young, too vibrant, too gifted, and too loved to leave this world. He told me last year that he was planning to teach one more year then put up the teacher plan books and enter retirement, with lots of time for his grandchildren and family. I am in shock. I wish it wasn’t so, that he had decided to retire last year. Life is a mystery. We must be grateful for each day we enjoy. We must be thankful for all the people in our lives that mean so much to us. We must not treat our days as insignificant, although we often do.
Each moment is a gift. A moment we will never live again.
Lui, you will be missed.




NO one could dance—like Mr. T.
NO one could smile—like Mr. T.
NO one could get a group of Seventh and Eighth graders to clap, tap, side-step, swing, and drum in faultless rhythm—like Mr. T.
HIS students could tell he cared, that he desired their academic growth and for them to be their best as productive people—This was a gift he gave to his students.



AS a staff, we could count on Lui to ask clarifying questions—You know this if you’ve been to a staff meeting, and these often helped us, too!
I think Administration usually knew where Lui stood on the latest and best new expectation—He wasn’t one to keep quiet. . .He spoke his mind.
AT times, Lui would commiserate with some of us about the next teacher observation or  — You fill in the blank . . .  But, he came through, always.
AS teachers and staff, we had our own opinions—But we could always find common ground, ways to laugh or relate or understand each other. He was one of us!



Lui liked to tease; he could be found teasing his students, teachers, the office personnel, and administration—Well, I guess, just about everybody! Thanks for this!!!  Sometimes we can take ourselves too serious. . .
LUI made sure to come by and say words that would encourage us—at just the right time when we needed it; several of us experienced this in our interactions with him over the years.  Helping things seem just a bit better.
HE stopped by my room on my last day of teaching to wish me well in my future endeavors—He said he would be following the same path in the next year or two. I am sorry this will not be. I wish it could and sad that it won’t.



Lui loved his family—He was crazy about his grandchildren, just you ask him; his smile and twinkle in his eyes could light up a room!
IN his heart, his family was what it was all about—His happiness in being with them, his cheerfulness when they came into the conversation, and his plans and activities with them at the center. We can only imagine the depth of your loss.
The school family at Hamilton Elementary will miss him.
Forever he will be our teacher, colleague, and friend.
Mr. Tuato’o” - “Mr. T.”  - and “Lui”

 February 3, 2012

End note:  The graveside service was beautiful. Mary Tuato'o, Lui's wife was the MC.  She, and Lui's daughter spoke lovely tributes about his life and his love for them and others. His brother prayed a gracious prayer. Several of the family were in uniform. Lui's faith was touched on and also the accomplishments, becoming an American citizen, the first to receive a college degree in his family, his accomplishment at becoming a teacher. There were many tears by family, friends, and students, both past and current. A recording was played of his family singing Samoan hymns. They sang and I was touched. He was sixty.

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