Roketi “Rocket” Esau, 54, of Centralia passed away, July 24, 2020, leaving behind his life partner, Angela Taylor, son, Jason Esau, stepdaughters, Skylar and Savana, along with many brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother Fa’alelea Esau Vaialega and his father Esau Vaialega.
Roketi was born in American Samoa on January 12th, 1966. He was a 1984 Leone (American Samoa) High School graduate and 1988 Northeast Missouri State University alumni, where he excelled playing football. He was a 2-time ASHSAA Offensive Back of the Year in American Samoa and a college football standout at Northeast Missouri State University where he was also a 2-time Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association’s first team selection at running back. Nicknamed “Rocket,” Roketi was gifted with blazing track sprinter speed that resulted in numerous touchdowns while breaking numerous football records. His many on-field accomplishments earned his subsequent selection to the Minnesota Vikings.
After a stint in the NFL, Roketi moved to Moberly, Missouri, to work in the restaurant industry while volunteering to coach football for other up-and-coming football stars. In 1996, the highlight of Roketi’s life happened when his son, Jason, was born. He later moved to St. Peters, Missouri, where he worked at McKesson Corporation, a pharmaceutical distribution company, located in O’Fallon, Missouri, where he quickly worked up through the ranks to become the Facility Trainer. During this period, Roketi travelled weekly to Fayette, Missouri, to visit Jason, attending his games, concerts and school events. Being a Dad was the most important thing in life to Rocket. During this time he also met and befriended a group of Samoan kids going to school at Central Methodist University. He helped them feel more at home by barbecuing for them and cooking many of their favorite dishes from home.
Roketi left McKesson in 2017 and moved to Centralia, Missouri, to be with his life partner and love of his life, Angela. They loved to spend their time seeing new places, going to sporting events and concerts, and visiting family. They also ran two small businesses in Moberly, MO. Before long, Roketi had reconnected with old friends and made so many new ones. He became friends with several of the sons of past friends and encouraged them to be the best in all they did in life. Young and old, Roketi never failed to make you feel loved.
Roketi will always be remembered for his infectious laugh and warm smile. He had a unique gift to make every person he talked to feel good because every person he met quickly became a friend. His love for his family and friends was inspirational. Roketi was a dedicated father to his son, Jason, and his stepdaughters, Skylar and Savana. His love for them was unmatched.
People come and go into and out of our lives. Although they leave, you are left enriched by the interactions you had with them. In his short life, Roketi enriched so many lives. He taught us to laugh more about those things you just cannot control in your life. He showed us that hard work can be fulfilling. Also, he reminded us daily about the importance of family and friends.
Words of comfort and support may be shared with the family at a visitation which will be held Thursday August 13, 2020 from 3:00 to 6:00 pm at the Cater Funeral Home. Services honoring Rocket’s life will be held Friday, August 14, 2020, 10:30 am in the Cater Funeral Home Chapel. Committal prayer and burial will follow at the East Lawn Cemetery, Mexico, MO.