Memorial Speech for Josefa Tuamoto’s Solomon Islands Funeral
Hello Everyone, My name is Steve Reid.
I have known Jo for probably around 16 or 17 years, way back to when he was the Head of marketing at Tourism Fiji. When I first met him, I don’t think I had ever met a smoother, cooler guy with a million dollar smile. By the way, you know, over time and with inflation, that million dollar smile grew to be a billion dollar smile. But back then Jo was as whip smart as he was charming. And we became mates. And more than that, for the first time, I had found someone my own age who I would gladly follow.
You see, I like to consider myself a bit of a master of observation. And I am going to tell you something that I observed about Jo that maybe no one else may have noticed. Jo was always an alpha, a leader… that’s pretty obvious, but Jo rarely, if ever, entered a room first. He never had to mark his territory… Nope, when Jo entered the room, it instantly became ‘his’ room, but never by force or loud boisterousness, but just by sheer overwhelming warmth and charm… and that smile.
But you know what really sold me on Jo as a person? Well, Jo was always cool, Jo was always smooth, Jo was always smart… but over the years, Jo became even more of a strategic thinker, so much more of a leader, and even cooler and smoother and all the while being more humble than ever. I got to observe his meeting with the Tourism Solomons team and he ran the single best structured and most effective meeting I ever saw. It was a Beethoven symphony and that was just his regular Monday morning meeting that he was performing live every single week. I was so jealous of everyone at Tourism Solomons who got to watch these command performances all the time. They are the luckiest and best trained staff in the known universe.
Jo was an inspiration to me always. He was so good at most things that he never needed to truly re-invent himself… but he was always, always was improving himself, his relationships, his work, his health. Jo was always re-improving himself almost every single day. For so many years, I kept hope that I could be better, because my friend, who was one of the best ever, was always getting even better!!! And that was not luck… that was effort… that was his dedication to being a better person, a better human being, a better soul.
God Bless you Jo, and I know God has a very special place for you… For all you did for so many of us, you led by example and you gave us so much hope and inspiration.
I love you Jo and I really miss you.