Mary Ann Punua

Posted On July 10th, 2013 -

MARY ANN PUNUA Mary Ann Ku’uleialoha Punua, “Auntie Ku’ulei” of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii. She passed away at her home on Sunday June 23, 2013 at the age of 79. She was born on March 30, 1934 in Ho’olehua, Moloka’i. She was a wonderful wife, loving mother & grandmother, kumu hula & professional hula dancer. She touched many lives during her fifty years of teaching the hula. She had Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed in 1999. Among her hula teachers were Iolani Luahine, Hoakalei Kamauu, Kent Ghirard, and Ruby Ahakuelo. Ku’ulei began teaching on Kaua’i in 1954. Her halau continued until 2004. She shared her hula talent all over the world such as Tahiti, New Zealand, Canada, Korea and throughout the mainland United States. Ku’ulei is a 1953 graduate of St. Andrew’s Priory. As a delegate with the Episcopal church, she met the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2002, she was the 1st recipient of the honored Lei o Ke Ali’i Emmalani award presented by St. Andrew’s Priory. In 2009, the Kaua’i Museum presented Ku’ulei with the prestigious Living Treasure recognition. Ku’ulei loved working with the community and empowering the lives of the youth. She personally mentored & groomed many people in the family’s Polynesian show and was instrumental in the Junior Miss pageants, Episcopal church, and Zonta organization. She is preceded in death by: parents, Alexander & Violet Jesse; brother, Leroy Jesse. She is survived by: husband, Victor Punua Sr.; children, Victor (Cheryle) Punua Jr., John Punua, Kuuleialoha (Yossi) Johnson, Wallis (Shana) Punua, Edward (Vanessa) Punua; sister, Edith Mar; brother, Leonard Jesse; 11 grandchildren: Kei’alohi, Kawehi, Kaimana, Helekunihi, Kai’aiki, Kamaka’ehukai, Kala’ewaipu’ilani, Kawai’iki, Lilikalani, Leimomi, and Herenui, and 2 great- grandchildren; Victoria and Kamakau. Numerous Aunties, Uncles, nieces and nephews. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, July 20, 2013 at All Saints Church, Kapaa visitation 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. service at 11:00 A.M. The family would especially like to thank Emily Ramos, Cheryle Punua, Sharon Tanicala, and Juvie Bercasio for their loving caregiving.


- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran