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Final Farewell for Slain Newark Student

A memorial service was held Friday for Newark Memorial High School senior Osana Futi, 18, who died after a stabbing in Fremont in late April.

One thing was made clear as hundreds mourned together for slain Newark student Osana Futi Friday, it was clear he was known for many characteristics.

Caring, happy, dedicated, loving, physical, a workaholic and spirited.

Those were just some of the one-word descriptions students and staff had about the 18-year-old who died three weeks ago from a violent stabbing in Fremont. An 18-year-old Fremont man has been .

“He’s indescribable,” one student said.

A protector

When English teacher Clare Alcott learned that Futi – along with half of the football team – was going to be in her first period class, she knew she was in for some fun.

Futi was a leader, she said. So much of a leader that he would start loud football chants in class for fun and even convinced her to hold a dance off; one in which mainly ended up in him being the only one dancing, she recalled.

“It was just Osana making sure everyone was having a good time,” Alcott said. “Between his goofiness and his boombox backpack, I think everyone just loved to be around him.”

But there was more to the soon-to-be graduate with the big hair and big smile that caught the teacher’s attention. Alcott said while Futi was known for being carefree, he intelligent and genuinely caring. He’d often help a classmate who is a special needs student with her belongings or moving her desk, Alcott said.

“I think of Osana as a protector,” Alcott said. “He just had this ability to make people feel safe, to make people feel valued.”

More than a football player

Born in America Samoa, Futi came to Newark at the age of 11 and relatives have said football was in his blood.

Since arriving, he has lived with his aunt Soliafoli Ieremia whose sons were also football players. So it was no surprise that Futi also joined the football team and was named 2011 Defensive Player of the Year.

But Athletics Director and Football Coach Rich Swift said Futi was more than just a football player on the Cougars team. He kept spirits high off the field and played hard on it, Swift said.

But his death was heartbreaking for the longtime coach.

“I never felt a rage like that ever,” Swift said of learning about Futi’s killing.

Swift said after Futi’s best friend and former teammate Justice Afoa was stabbed to death in Newark in December 2010, Futi was “wrongfully expelled” and many gathered to fight the Newark Unified Board of Education’s decision.

It was a fight they won, and a fight that was not initiated because Futi was a good football player, Swift said. It was a fight that community members fought because ‘he’s a good person,” Swift said.

“He has a good heart,” he added.

Memories and lessons from an uncle

Bryan Sao remembers the first time he met his nephew vividly.

“[He was a] chubby, slanted eyes, overweight kid who barely spoke English when came from Samoa,” Sao said.

And while Sao said Futi was a troubled kid because he had lost his father at a young age, Sao said he related to him because he, too, grew up without a father figure. So, he took on a fatherly role.

“He referred to me as his uncle – a title of honor that I will be proud of and cherish,” Sao said.

The night before Futi’s death, Sao said he actually spent the night sleeping in his nephew’s bed and that when his nephew came home in the morning, they spent the whole day together.

“That day, I actually really, really got to see how far he came from that little kid,” Sao said.

Sao said while friends of Futi might remember him as a protector who could appear intimidating, fighting and resorting to violence does not make you tough. He said that isn’t what made Futi tough.

“When you’re 10 and you don’t know English, and you learn English. That’s tough,” Sao said. “Tough is not having your father around. … Doing the thing that’s not always the popular thing to do. That’s tough.”

Sao said if there is one thing he wants Newark’s youth to take away from his nephew’s death is to learn to forgive.

“To the man who took my nephew’s life, I forgive you,” Sao said. “And that’s tough.

“Learn to forgive. That’s really what’s tough,” he said.

Since Futi’s death, the Newark community has come together in prayer and support. Many have helped raise funds for the student’s memorial services. And all of these efforts are deeply appreciated, Sao said.

“It’s your kind words, stories, generosity and prayers that have helped us cope with the loss of a son, brother, nephew, cousin, and friend.”

Futi’s body will be transported to America Samoa where he was born and where his biological mother and extended family reside on May 17.

Relatives said they also plan to fill a memory box full of personal belongings and remembrances of Futi – including his cap and gown – and place it at a burial site at the Chapel of Chimes in Hayward. The date for that memorial service has not yet been set.

Donations can still be made. Those who would like to donate can visit any Wells Fargo bank and deposit the donation to the Osana Futi Memorial Fund, account no. 8201800763 or visit WePay here to submit your donation online.

For more information on how to donate, contact Kelly at ladyleopard139@sbcglobal.net or 510-719-0333.

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M K B May 14, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Do you know the facts on why he was killed? No matter what the situation, no one has the right to take someone else's life. If there was an argument, then it should have been dealt with like men, and if that involves a good old fashion fist fight, then so be it. From what i've read it sounds like he was an outstanding, caring person that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with someone who has no regard for human life. You sound very ignorant in your statement....On another note, maybe you should learn how to spell before you come on a public forum and make accusations and judge someone.
Danielle Lofton May 15, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Jhon doe you clearly joined this to slander his name. It's appaulling to read such ignorant assumptions. Bashing the media because you believe your he say she say is much more accurate. I don't even need to express how right you are not because God knows, he knows, and I know. But you are forgiven. God bless.
Nika Megino May 15, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Comments that violate Patch's Terms of Use were deleted. Patch Terms do not allow comments that are defamatory, abusive, obscene or profane.
Lab Rat May 15, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Jhon Doe's comments were deleted, but I already read them. I get what Jhon Doe and c.n.pers are saying. We all want to believe our Sons are still the sweet little kids we raised. The reality is, the streets of Newark are filled with violent young men. Many kids, including my own Son are at risk to become either victims or perpetrators of violent crimes. The media wants to paint a perfect portrait of star athletes and bright, loving, kids, who became innocent victims of violent thugs. The word on the streets tells a different story: These two young men had a history of fighting, severely beating other kids and breaking up parties with acts of extreme violence. It is an absolute tragedy for their families, that these two best friends met the same fate. I feel for their families, I really do. I pray, my Son does not meet a similar fate. But, I also have to face the reality that my Son is also in danger, because he is by no means a perfect kid either. Listen to these young men. They are telling you what's really happening on our streets and at the parties in Newark. They're not saying, these young men deserved to die. They are trying to tell us, there is another, darker side to this story and the media's version has white washed the images of the victims. My teenage Son was deeply moved by this story, because he had seen the victims around . But, he was also not surprised, because he knew (and once saw) the violent reputation they had for fighting and never backing down.
Jhon doe May 16, 2012 at 05:59 AM
Daniella i even said that "I'm not saying he was bad or good" cause he was a good friend and loving family person. i just told you the truth about him and you got mad and you can believe what you want but don't think that what you believe is right. The media has you see and know only what they want you to see and know. But For Nika you can delete my post all you want but you're full of it saying you took my comment off because of profanity! i go on the patch all the time to see its stupid fictions stories about MY HOOD and people leave comments with profanity all the time but you don't delete them. you wanted to delete mine cause i called you out on how you media news people don't know what is really going on in you're own city and are feeding the community false news stories and not even telling the entire truth. so how does that make you look that a non-journalist know his facts when a journalist has her facts wrong!! so go on Nika delete my comments all you want but you can't stop people from finding out the truth, and Lab rat thanks for actually taking the time to read what i put shoot(i would say another word but Nika has a problem with the way people talk in real life ahah) not like the Daniella who think i was just talking smack when i wasn't . SO LETS SEE HOW LONG THIS POST STAYS UP BEFORE SOMEONE MAKES UP AN EXCUSE TO TAKE IT DOWN. oh and from now on get your damn facts right!!! stop making people believe in fiction stories

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