Samiu Bloomfield gestures at passing motorists in March 2016. He died Sunday at 70 years old. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Samiu Bloomfield gestures at passing motorists in March 2016. He died Sunday at 70 years old. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

A tattoo-covered, flag-waving Everett icon dies

Samiu Bloomfield was found and taken to a hospital after he went missing a few days. He was 70.

EVERETT — Samiu Bloomfield, known for his tattoo-covered body and waving U.S. flags around downtown Everett, died Sunday morning.

He was 70.

Bloomfield had medical issues and was missing for a few days, his son wrote in a Facebook post. Vili Bloomfield said that a Good Samaritan found his dad and called for an ambulance, which took him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He said his father had surgery, but was unable to recover and died.

The family was going to publicize funeral details later.

“Thank you again for the enormous show of support for my father,” he wrote. “I’m glad he made an impression on so many lives. Ofa atu.”

“’Ofa atu” is Tongan. It means “I love you.”

Samiu Bloomfield, seen here March 2016 waving flags as people drive by on Broadway in Everett, was known for his face tattooed like an American flag and body like a graffiti covered wall and inked from head to toe. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Samiu Bloomfield, seen here March 2016 waving flags as people drive by on Broadway in Everett, was known for his face tattooed like an American flag and body like a graffiti covered wall and inked from head to toe. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Samiu Bloomfield told The Herald he grew up in Tonga. He said he immigrated to the United States at 19 years old by stowing away on a boat to California, lured by American dreams of opportunity and fortunes. He got a green card in 1976, worked on a fishing boat in Alaska and then at a fish processing plant in Everett.

Once here, he married, had children and became a grandfather.

He and his wife, Dora, painted their Everett home with a red, white and blue color scheme in honor of the U.S. flag’s colors. She did the American flag tattoo on his face, another in a nearly lifelong collection in tribute to his chosen nation.

“America to me is heaven,” Bloomfield told The Herald in 2016.

Bloomfield, called Sam or Sammy to many around the city, was dedicated to taking care of his physique and became a fixture at the downtown YMCA. It took a disciplined schedule of every other day workouts to keep sculpted abs and python biceps.

Samiu Bloomfield, seen here in March 2016, stands on Broadway in Everett looking like a feral version of Uncle Sam as he waves to people. He died Sunday at 70 years old. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Samiu Bloomfield, seen here in March 2016, stands on Broadway in Everett looking like a feral version of Uncle Sam as he waves to people. He died Sunday at 70 years old. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Eventually, he began taking to the streets for his one-man patriotic shows. Many mornings he would don an Uncle Sam hat, trot around in place and wave a pair of U.S. flags to passing motorists at Broadway and Everett Avenue.

“It gives me a reason to get up every day,” he said in 2016.

Flags and balloons are seen at a memorial for Samiu Bloomfield at the corner of Broadway and Everett Ave. on Monday in Everett. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Flags and balloons are seen at a memorial for Samiu Bloomfield at the corner of Broadway and Everett Ave. on Monday in Everett. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

The house was lost after his wife died and he hadn’t paid the bills. He moved into a motorhome parked at a relative’s house near downtown Everett, where he could continue his displays until health problems kept him from them. Any time he wasn’t there for an extended stretch of days, people would post on social media and write to The Herald asking if he was OK, because they missed him.

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037. Twitter @benwatanabe.

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