Mrs Vera Milovale Ho Ching Annesley, Samoa News Publisher was a quiet and unassuming businesswoman. It was at her funeral service this past Monday that many heard for the first time her numerous achievements. She was indeed a trailblazer.
Talanei reported that Mrs Annesley, known to many as Aunty Vera, died in Honolulu, on November 5th, a week shy of her 95th birthday.
Her funeral was held at the Fatuoaiga Hall, and family, business associates, golf buddies, family matai, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews shared fond memories of her.
A common thread in their testimonies was kindness and love, a strong sense of family, being astute with numbers, being a good poker player, giving to others, a big Elvis Presley fan, devout Catholic, and an elegant lady.
Eldest daughter, Robin Annesley-Dalton, gave a snapshot of her mother’s life at her Mass of Resurrection today at the Holy Family Cathedral, led by Bishop Kolio Etuale, with several priests assisting.
Vera was the only daughter of Ho Ching (Osini), a US navy retiree, and Milovale Scanlan Ho Ching.
She had four brothers: Charlie, Puka, Joe, and Mifi, who have all passed away.
She attended St Francis School but was later sent to attend school in Samoa when the Catholic schools here were closed during World War II.
She moved back to Tutuila to finish her education and then began working for the government.
During a vacation in the mainland instead of returning home, she continued to New Zealand.
Her suitor, Faleatasi (Gus) Arthur Annesley followed Vera to New Zealand where the two got married in 1949 and settled in Auckland. Vera learned to sew on her own and according to Robin became a sought-after seamstress in Auckland.
The couple later returned to American Samoa with three of their four children and started small business ventures.
The Annesleys operated a store in Fagatogo, behind the courthouse (Faleoloa o Te’o) and many families would vouch for the couple’s kindness. There was also a fabric store, a Chevrolet dealership, and other businesses.
Among some of the well-known achievements of the Annesleys was starting the Amerika Samoa Bank with other business friends. Mrs. Annesley became the first female chair of the bank’s Board of Directors.