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Our dear wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunty, and friend, Ruta Taua’i Iosua Danielson, slipped peacefully on to the next life on September 13, 2017. She passed surrounded by her loving family in her home in Independence, Missouri. She was 63 years old.
Ruta was born on May 22, 1954 in Faleniu, American Samoa to Nofoaiga Taua’i Iosua and Laine Fuimaono. She was the middle child of 11 children and loved all her siblings, especially her six sisters with whom she loved to laugh. The Iosuas dreamed of making a life for their family in America and after years of working and saving, they moved Ruta and her siblings to Hawaii where she attended Laie Elementary. They later moved to La Puente, California, where she attended middle school and her freshman year of high school. Ruta said her father wanted to be a part of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so in April of 1970, he joined other Polynesian families in moving to “Zion” in Independence, Missouri. Her father’s faith was an important example in her life of staying true to the gospel.
Ruta graduated from William Chrisman High School in 1972 and went to BYU Hawaii in Laie, where she met her future husband, Joseph Samita Danielson. They both danced at the Polynesian Cultural Center and Ruta loved to watch Joe do the fire knife dance. After a time of dating, they went to the courthouse to get married and when Joe pulled out his driver’s license, Ruta saw for the first time that he was 9 years her senior. She said, “I didn’t know you were that old!” But, she said she already knew he was her husband, loved him, and didn’t care how old he was. He was handsome to her and had eyes that lit up when he smiled.
Ruta and Joe were married on January 18, 1973. After living in Arizona, Hawaii, and California, the Danielsons finally settled down in Independence, Missouri, where Ruta always considered home. Ruta gave birth to 10 children, Gustav, Elizabeth, Rosemary, Alexander, Vaifagaloa, Iosefa, Puela, Pueata, Pavitt, and Pamelarae. The Danielsons were sealed for time and all eternity in the Mesa, Arizona temple on August 7, 1976.
Ruta always recognized the hand of God in her family’s life. After losing Iosefa during birth, and grieving that great loss, Ruta and Joe were blessed with two sons, twins she didn’t know she was carrying until two babies came out in the delivery room. Of this she said, “I knew the Lord made up for the loss of our son three years prior.”
Ruta was always committed to God. She was always humble. She sacrificed and lived her life for her family. She loved to be surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and you often saw her with a baby on her lap. Her family is where she found her greatest joy.
In her personal history she wrote, “I live a normal life, nothing exciting, but to be happy in this life.”
Over the past few years, and especially during the last months of her life, Ruta came to understand more about enduring well as her body weakened and she faced numerous health challenges. The lyrics to her favorite hymn personifies how she lived her final days:
E’en though it be a cross
That raiseth me.
Still all my song shall be
Nearer, my God, to thee
Nearer to God is where Ruta wanted to be. She’s now in His heavens with her sweet mother, Laine, father Nofoaiga, siblings Gafatasi, Lopeti, Vaifagaloa, Emele, and her son, Iosefa.
God answered her prayer for a peaceful departure. He blessed her to live longer than the doctors predicted, giving her the opportunity to spend her final weeks laughing, sharing memories, and talking story with her children, grandchildren, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews, and her eternal companion.
Ruta is survived by her beloved husband Joe, and her children Gus Danielson (Samantha), Liz Tuala (Lemalu), Rose Burkhardt (Jake), Alex Danielson (Irinna), Vai Coulson (Dan), Pue’la Danielson (Mai), Pue’ata Danielson, Pavitt Danielson, and Tupu Laulu (Tonu). She leaves a legacy of faith and love to 26 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
We, the family would like to thank all of the doctors, nurses, and health professionals who have supported Ruta through her mortal journey. We also express heartfelt appreciation to all of the family and friends who have helped to care for our mother and us during this difficult time.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, September 19 at the LDS Stake Center located at 705 W. Walnut St. in Independence, Missouri. The viewing will be at 9:30am followed by a memorial service at 10:00am. She’ll be laid to rest near her son, Iosefa, at Brooking Cemetery in Raytown, Missouri.
How grateful we are for our mother’s testimony and trust that this life is not the end. Because of Jesus Christ, we will see her again. Families can be together forever.
Thank you, Mom, for building our forever family and giving us your all. We love you.
Manuia lau malaga.