Cover photo for Kilifi Tapa Matavao's Obituary
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Kilifi Tapa Matavao

June 9, 1950 — August 23, 2019

SFC Kilifi “Chief Smoke” Tapa Matavao, Jr. (United States Army, ret.) passed away Friday, August 23, 2019, at his home in Hinesville, Georgia, at the tender age of 69 years.

An initial Homegoing Celebration service will be held at 6:00 pm, Tuesday, September 3, 2019, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 220 Sandy Run Drive, Hinesville, Georgia 31313.  A second Homegoing Celebration service will be held at 6:00 pm, Thursday, September 5, 2019, at the Cannon Mortuary, located at 2460 Bengal Boulevard, Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121.  A final chapel service will be at 10:00 am, Friday, September 6, 2019 at the Yorkshire Building 4200 West Skye Drive, South Jordan, UT 84095.  Burial will follow at Utah Veterans Cemetery and Memorial Park located at 17111 S. 1700 W., Bluffdale, Utah 84065.

Kilifi was born June 9, 1950, in Ofu Manu’a, American Samoa to Tapa and Faimafili (Tufu) Matavao.  He graduated from Mapusaga High School in 1970.  Kilifi served a faithful church mission in Samoa from 1970-1972.  In January of 1974, he married the late Jane Tofoipupu (Tuitele) in Waianae, Hawaii.  He enlisted in the United States Army on August 15, 1974, in Honolulu, Hawaii.  On February 14, 1986, he married Pavitt Elizabeth (Danielson) in Laie, Hawaii.  Sergeant First Class Kilifi Matavao served as a Field Artilleryman for 22 honorable years and retired August 31, 1996.  He continued serving throughout his life as a Ward Mission Leader, Counselor, Temple Ordinance Worker, and Bishop of the Hinesville Ward.  Many describe him as shy, humble, and ultimately a peacemaker.  He loved sharing and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to all who would listen and receive it.  He loved reading scriptures, traveling, gardening, sports, but mostly missionary work and serving the Lord.  He absolutely cherished any time he could spend with his children and grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Jane, and his son Kilifi T. Matavao, III in 2014.

Kilifi is survived by his wife, Pavitt Elizabeth (Danielson) of Vaitoloa, Western Samoa; his five sons; George Lauifiafa and his wife Sa’ane of West Jordan, UT; Newel Fa’atuiolemotu and his wife Leslie of Las Vegas, NV; Joseph Fa’avesi of Columbia, SC; Auvae William and his wife Josephine of Victorville, CA; and Timothy Pu’ela of Euless, TX; his two daughters, Marie Filomena and her husband Ronnie Lavon Slack of Bagdad, FL; and Salamasina Leilani Matavao of Hinesville, GA; 12 grandchildren; his four brothers; Salasopa (Lepepaina), Epati (Ruta),  Liae (Roseanne), and Ulavale Matavao, 2 sisters; Maveve Cordle (Larry), and Aniva Wilson and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. 

Carter Funeral Home Oglethorpe Chapel is in charge of arrangements.  Online condolences may be made at


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Starts at 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

220 Sandy Run Drive
Hinesville, GA 31313

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