Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Henry Chang Wo Jr. / 1941-2015

Posted On October 12th, 2015 -

Activist fought fearlessly to preserve shorelines, protect limu

Susan Essoyan /

Hawaiian kupuna Henry Chang Wo Jr. sounded the alarm over vanishing limu and led efforts to protect and restore seaweed beds and the ecosystems they anchor.

Known fondly as “Uncle Henry,” the lanky Ewa Beach resident crisscrossed the islands giving “show and tell” sessions, educating thousands of keiki and adults on the care, uses and role of limu in the Hawaiian way of life. He died of lung cancer at age 74 on Sept. 19 and will be remembered at a service on Oct. 29.

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“He was a living treasure,” said Alan Murakami, director of community engagement for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. “There are not a lot of people left like that. He spoke from the heart, quietly, humbly, with passion. It made you want to listen.”

Born in Honolulu on May 19, 1941, Chang Wo grew up in Halawa and would go to the Ewa shoreline with his family every weekend to fish and pick limu, according to his niece, Zsanette “Sugar” Alfafara-Pires. His mother and grandmother taught him to gather the different species carefully, without disturbing the roots, back when native seaweed was so plentiful it reached up onto the sand. He called the area “The House of Limu.”

In later years, he was dismayed to see native seaweeds disappearing after sugarcane fields gave way to housing development in the area. He worked to remove invasive species and replant native varieties, anchoring the willowy algae with rocks. When overzealous harvesters yanked that limu up by the roots, he spearheaded a successful campaign to get the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to set aside a “no pick zone” to allow the limu to regenerate at Ewa Beach. The Limu Management Area became part of Hawaii law effective Jan. 1, 2007.

A diver and fisherman, Chang Wo was fearless in protecting his ocean heritage. He challenged Haseko (Ewa) Inc. before the Board of Land and Natural Resources when the developer sought permission to bulldoze a berm along the sandy beach in front of Kaloi Gulch to allow storm runoff to flow directly into the ocean at Oneula Beach Park. He was concerned that pollutants such as motor oil and pesticides would kill the limu. The permit was granted, but the case is on appeal.

“Uncle Henry was the salt of the ocean,” said David Kimo Frankel, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. attorney representing him on the case. “He was totally the salt of the earth, but really, he was the salt of the ocean.”

A Kamehameha Schools graduate, Chang Wo co-founded the Ewa Limu Project. He taught that limu was a crucial part of the web of life, a source of nutrition and healing. With help from the nonprofit Kua’aina Ulu Auamo, better known as KUA, he linked up with other practitioners in Limu Hui to share and pass on their knowledge.

“It’s the start of life, it has all the energy,” he said in a Limu Hui video. “It has all the vitamins. And without you realizing it, by eating limu, you don’t have to go to Longs Drugs and pick up all those pills. It’s right in our limu. And it’s something that we losing. We losing the knowledge of it. … We are the last ones that need to keep up this practice and get all the young kids involved.”

In 2009, he asked Wally Ito to join him at limu “show and tell” sessions, with Ito offering the scientific side of the equation while Chang Wo presented the traditional side. They talked to school groups, halau, Hawaiian clubs and neighbor island communities. At first, they were doing three or four talks a year, Ito said, but demand grew to the point where they were making one presentation almost every week.

“Uncle Henry said that where the fresh water meets the salt water, that’s where the ocean hanau, that’s where the ocean gives birth,” recalled Ito, Limu Hui coordinator for KUA. Many freshwater species spend part of their life cycle in the ocean, and saltwater species in their larval stage spend time in that brackish water environment, Ito noted.

Chang Wo urged residents on neighbor islands to cherish shoreline areas that were still relatively pristine, urging them to protect the entire sweep of land from mountaintop to ocean.

“He would warn them, this is what happened to Ewa, so watch out, look up mauka,” Ito said. “You need to be careful of what happens up mauka.”

Chang Wo was still working as a maintenance mechanic for the Department of Transportation’s Airports Division when he fell ill. He also worked for Hawaiian Electric and spent a decade at Johnston Atoll with Holmes & Narver Inc.

In recent years, “Uncle Henry” spent Saturdays with Ito and others at a state aquaculture facility at Sand Island, growing limu, including ogo, huluhuluwaena and eleele, along with mullet. They provided limu to community groups to plant in their areas. His friends vowed to carry on that mission.

A celebration of Chang Wo’s life will be held at Mililani Memorial Park and Mortuary, mauka chapel, in Waipahu, on Oct. 29, with visitation at 5:30 p.m. and the service at 6:30 p.m. Chang Wo had three sons, Mark and Timothy Chang Wo and Justin Alfafara, and eight grandchildren.

Kevin K.J. Chang, KUA’s executive director, said Chang Wo’s message continues to resonate.

“Henry’s story became a reminder to us all about how easy it is to lose something,” he said, “that in some cases nostalgia is not enough but a salve, that what we lose if we are not careful could actually be a link in the chain of life that we depend on.

Posted in Featured

Bobby Pedro / 1950-2015

Posted On October 3rd, 2015 -

Medic was popular ‘people person’ who improved outreach

Leila Fujimori /

Young Bobby Pedro was a thin, fit medic with long, curly hair, who looked like Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz and was “very popular with the nurses,” said longtime friend and acting Emergency Medical Services Assistant Chief Eddie Fujioka.Bobby-Pedro-1_ne-2273676

“My first impression of Bobby was that he was a real charismatic person,” said Fujioka, who recalls going on an ambulance ride-along with Pedro in 1977, when Fujioka was a college student and summer hire. “He was very likable, super nice guy, got along with everybody. He would help anybody, especially the young interns. If they were having struggles during internship, he would take the time to demonstrate proper techniques. He was very popular with the emergency room doctors and nurses aswell.”

The 65-year-old retired Emergency Medical Services district chief, who served 36 years with the city’s EMS and spearheaded its public outreach program, died Tuesday.

“The outpouring of love we’ve had from his friends and from the community has been so tremendous and much appreciated,” said Pedro’s daughter, Reyneen Pedro. “He was a wonderful father and grandfather, and he meant everything to us.”

Dennis Yurong, Pedro’s first boss at EMS said, “He developed into a very caring individual in EMS, and I think he left that legacy and was able to pass that on to whomeverhe mentored. That’s why everyone speaks so highly of him.”

As a paramedic, Pedro demonstrated a great deal of care and compassion for his patients, his colleagues say.

“When someone was in pain or discomfort, he really did the best he could to make the person comfortable,” Fujioka said. “Regardless of how minor the patient’s condition was, he treated everyone the same.”

Fujioka picked up one of Pedro’s trademark practices.

“Before we left the hospital, we would always go in and check in on the patient to wish them luck and to take care,” he said, adding that this is something he doesn’t seeothers doing anymore.

Yurong, who became EMS operations chief, selected Pedro to be the primary public relations person to start a campaign to educate the public about EMS and “to take ourmission on the road” by visiting schools and hospitals in an ambulance.

“He did a very, very good job,” he said. “I believe what he did had an impact on recruitment, better relationship with the hospitals and staff.”

Retired EMS secretary Karen Lee called him “a people person of the department,” and she maintained a close friendship with him after he retired in 2010 due to his failinghealth.

After his leg was amputated a few months ago, Lee found him a secondhand scooter, which he used to get around as well as to catch the bus or The Handi-Van to attendconcerts, movies and cultural festivals .

“He would not waste time just sitting at home,” she said. “He was very independent. He wasn’t the type to give up.”

An Aug. 17 Honolulu Star-Advertiser article on kidney disease featured Pedro, who had become a Type 2 diabetic and an amputee on dialysis, due, in part, to his admittedconsumption of Big Gulps and “all the wrong foods.”

“I neglected myself,” the father of four told the Star-Advertiser. “I took care of everybody else except myself.”

Ex-wife Gilda Morita attested to that, saying Pedro had been planning for his only son’s wedding in November.

“He was totally looking forward to that, and we were hoping he would be there for the wedding,” she said. “He was so much a part of everybody’s lives.”

His daughter, Genell Simoes, said, “This happened too soon and we wish we had more time with him. We love him and miss him and are very grateful for having him inour lives.

The key to Pedro’s relationships, both working and personal, was to try to be nice to everyone.

He was a likable, fun guy, with “a really rascal laugh when he’d tell jokes or funny stories about other people,” Fujioka said. This earned him the nickname “the Portuguesedevil.”

Yurong said, “He had a big hand at fostering a sense of ohana and belonging…. He had a gift of bringing people together and to share good times.”

Richard Mendonca, 45, an EMS supervisor in Waipio, said Pedro was his district chief when he was a paramedic. The two met in 1992, and remained friends. For the pastthree years, Mendonca had taken him to Las Vegas.

“The thing about Bobby was, he always gave his all,” he said. “If you needed anything, he would give it to you without any recognition.”

So Mendonca never thought twice about helping him out, especially after he got sick, “because if I needed anything, he would help me out.”

For this year’s Vegas trip, they flew first class, rented a special van to accommodate his scooter and drove to Boulder City, Nev., so Pedro could get his wish to ride a train.

“People couldn’t understand why people would bend over backwards for the district chief,” Mendonca said. “His philosophy is to take care of his people first,” even if theyare wrong, then later “pull you on the side and say, ‘Eh, you were wrong.’”

“Physically, he’s not here anymore, but as long as you keep him in your heart, he’s basically everywhere now.”

Pedro is also survived by his son, Riley; daughters Reyneen Pedro, Genell Simoes and Geryze Simoes; and four grandchildren.

His service will be Oct. 19 at Oahu Cemetery.

Posted in Featured

JAMES R. BRANDON / 1927-2015

Posted On October 1st, 2015 -

UH theater professor was top Western authority on Kabuki

Wayne Harada / Special to the Star-Advertiser

James R. Brandon, a pioneering University of Hawaii drama professor-director who translated classic Kabuki theater and made it accessible to English-speaking audiences, died Sept. 19 under hospice care in Honolulu. He was 88.Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 9.46.46 PM

For more than a half-century, he was an educator, actor, director, playwright and author of things Kabuki; he translated and directed the classical Japanese plays, and triggered discussion and learning through books he published and courses he taught.

His efforts planted the seeds to inspire other Asian scholars and peers to explore and enjoy his niche in the creative arts, and he opened Kabuki to a global audience from his Hawaii base.

“I know of no other person who has accomplished as much as he has done — taking the work of one country (Japan) and presenting it so beautifully,” said Terence Knapp, his UH colleague for more than three decades — now retired and an emeritus professor — who specialized in Shakespearean and classical drama while Brandon focused on Kabuki and its intricate staging rituals. “He was a pioneer in staging Asian theater for the rest of the world; he started it all.”

Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak, professor and head of the Asian Theatre Program at the university, was mentored by Brandon. She described him as “an extraordinary person — a groundbreaking, insightful and prolific scholar with exceptionally broad and deep interests, focusing on Japan and especially Kabuki but encompassing Southeast Asia, India, Korea and China.

“And one of the finest teachers I’ve ever known,” said Wichmann-Walczak, who has engaged Beijing opera the way Brandon embraced Kabuki. “He opened the world of Asian theater study for me; gave me the gift of field research skills; modeled for me the role of a teaching editor, scholar and artist; and continued to challenge me and help me grow in every respect of my professional life throughout his own. I will be forever grateful to him, as will so many others.”

Brandon was emeritus professor of drama and theater at the UH-Manoa campus, where he served for 32 years, joining the staff in 1968 and retiring in 2000.

Audiences will especially remember Brandon for such landmark translated Kabuki shows as “Sukeroku: Flower of Edo” and “Narukami the Thundergod” at Kennedy Theatre.

As his reputation grew with study visits to Japan, Brandon befriended icons of Kabuki theater. Another of Brandon’s triumphs, “The Forty-Seven Samurai,” was co-translated and co-directed with esteemed Japan Kabuki artist Nakamura Matagoro. It premiered at Kennedy and made a historic tour of Hawaii and 13 mainland states between March and May 1979.

Brandon is credited with authoring about 80 articles, book chapters and reviews in his specialty, and writing an additional 20 books, making him the eminent authority on Kabuki to Western followers. He created conversations where there were none, not just for Kabuki, but for Javanese theater.

His volumes — such as “Theatre in Southeast Asia” (1967), “On Thrones of Gold: Three Javanese Shadow Plays” (1970) and “Kabuki: Five Classic Plays” (1975) — were classroom textbooks.

He amassed numerous commendations and awards, including the Imperial Decoration of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, from the government of Japan; the John D. Rockefeller III Award from the Asian Cultural Council for his exemplary contributions to the understanding and appreciation of Asian theater; the UH Regents’ Medal for Outstanding Teaching; a national award as Outstanding Teacher of the Year from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education; and several Po’okela Awards from the Hawaii State Theatre Council for theatrical excellence.

His wife of 54 years, Reiko Mochinaga Brandon, herself an artist in textiles, theater sets and costume design, was one of his Japanese teachers in postwar Japan, when she was a student teaching Japanese at the American Embassy during the era Brandon was discovering “this incredible theater form (Kabuki) in Japan,” she said.

Brandon had been drafted into the Army and served during the Korean War, but headed to Japan for his R&R and discovered Kabuki. “He had acted in so many plays, including Shakespeare, but he was totally stunned and impressed with Kabuki after seeing it. It was something he wanted to do.”

Their meeting, she said, was “the beginning of our life together.” They wed in Michigan between mutual degree and commitment grants in Asia and Europe.

“We never competed in our careers, but supported each other,” said his widow, who was an East-West Center scholar who earned a Master of Fine Arts from UH. They shared parallel careers when she ventured into theater sets and costumes while he translated and directed Kabuki dramas and comedies.

Brandon was born in Mazomanie, Wis. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1955 and joined the Foreign Service for six years, working in Java and Japan. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1961, he began teaching Asian theater at the University of Michigan’s Department of Speech and Comparative Literature, where he directed his first two Kabuki productions in English. It was after he joined UH-Manoa, however, that he became the prolific trailblazing authority of Kabuki in English.

Besides his wife, Brandon is survived by a niece, Janet Wright.

A memorial celebration of his life and achievements will be held at 1 p.m. Nov. 29 at Kennedy Theatre.

Posted in Featured


Posted On September 18th, 2015 -

Services set for benefactor, ‘Sully’s’ widow

Star-Advertiser staff

A memorial service for philanthropist and prominent community leader Joanna Sullivan will be held Sunday at ‘Iolani School.Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 10.08.06 PM copy

Sullivan, widow of Foodland founder Maurice J. “Sully” Sullivan, died at her home in Honolulu on Sept. 2 at the age of 94.

Family, friends and Foodland employees will pay tribute to her in services Sunday at the Sullivan Center for Innovation and Leadership. All Foodland stores on Oahu will be closed from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday so that employees can attend.

The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Sullivan was born July 4, 1921 in Honolulu. The McKinley High School graduate was studying at the University of Hawaii when she left school to help her mother run Lanikai Store, a small grocery in Kailua. She met her late husband at the store, and he would later become her family’s business partner. They opened Foodland Market City on May 6, 1948. Joanna Sullivan named the store Foodland.

The Sullivans supported numerous causes and organizations, and after Maurice Sullivan died, Joanna Sullivan continued building on his legacy through contributions. She supported the funding of scholarships at ‘Iolani and Punahou schools as well as Chaminade University, and the Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation. She also made large gifts to St. Francis Cardiac Care Center, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, Ronald McDonald House, the Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu, Honolulu Museum of Art, Sullivan Administration building at Punahou School, Sullivan Library at Chaminade University and Sullivan Center at ‘Iolani School.

Joanna Sullivan was named Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Honolulu Chapter in 2008 and again in 2013.

She is survived by children Kitty Sullivan Wo, Jenai Sullivan Wall, Colleen Sullivan and Patrick Sullivan; and five grandchildren.

Sunday’s services at ‘Iolani will begin with visitation at 9:30 a.m., followed by memorial services from 11 a.m. to noon. Parking will be available at the school’s parking lot on Kamoku Street. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii, Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation, ‘Iolani School, Punahou School or Chaminade University.

Posted in Featured

MICHAEL PURDY / 1954-2015

Posted On August 15th, 2015 -

Dentist founded isle candy business

Michael Tsai /

2015 August 15 rec’d - OBT CTY - Michael Purdy, president & CEO of Island Princess, is pictured at the company's Kea'au processing plant. Courtesy Island Princess

Dr. Michael Purdy came to Hawaii to practice dentistry but will be best remembered as one of the state’s most popular purveyors of chocolates, nuts and toothsome confections.

Owner and founder of Island Princess, Purdy died on Aug. 9 at age 61.

Purdy grew up in Valsetz, Ore., and attended Oregon State University and the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center.

In 1983, Purdy and and his wife, Gwen, moved to Wailuku, where Purdy opened a dental practice.

Two years later, the couple founded the Maui’s Best retail store chain. The following year, Purdy started Island Princess, offering a line of gourmet chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and other confections. By 1988, Purdy had retired from dentistry to manage Island Princess full time.

“Michael Purdy was a self-made man with a tireless work ethic,” said Island Princess General Manager Jerry Kalua in a statement Friday. “He had a down-to-earth style that immediately made one feel comfortable when talking to him. He touched so many lives within the company, as well as within the local and international business community.”

Purdy’s entrepreneurial instincts and willingness to work hard were apparent early on.

At age 6, he washed cars and chopped firewood for money. At 12, he spent his savings to buy a lawn mower, which he used to start his own neighborhood mowing business. At 15, he lied about his age to get a job at a plywood mill, a job that helped pay for college and dental school.

Purdy is survived by his wife, Gwen; father Oswald; sisters Deborah Delaney and Kelly Stenberg; and brothers Kevin and Tim.

Private services will be held in Oregon.

Donations may be made to Providence Portland Medical Foundation, 4805 NE Glisan St., Portland, OR 97213. (Please note on check or donation: “In Memory of Michael Purdy.”) Online donations in memory of Michael Purdy can be made at All donations will be directed to a cancer research project that Purdy participated in last year.

Posted in Featured


Posted On July 31st, 2015 -

Windward Oahu lawmaker praised for ‘voice of reason’

Gary Kubota /

Colleen Rose Meyer, who represented part of Windward Oahu for 14 years in the state House, six of them as minority floor leader, died July 17 at her Kaneohe home after a yearlong fight with cancer. She was 76.

20150801_OBIT“She was a true, consistent, legislative voice of reason, a dedicated public servant, who knew and could work with all people while flashing an infectious smile,” said state Sen. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Kahala-Hawaii Kai). “I will miss her.”

She was born in Honolulu and grew up in Manoa. Meyer graduated from Punahou School in 1957 and attended San Mateo College in California, where she earned an associate’s degree in 1959. She married her high school sweetheart George “Tim” Meyer on Aug. 17, 1960.

Meyer obtained her Realtor’s license and worked as a real estate broker for many years, and she built homes on Oahu and Hawaii island.

She served on the Kahaluu Neighborhood Board before running for public office.

Meyer was unsuccessful in running for the state House in 1992. But she eventually won and served as a state representative from 1995 through 2008.

She lost in the Republican primary for the state Senate in 2014, shortly before she was diagnosed with cancer.

Meyer also served on many boards, including as chairwoman of the Self Help Housing Corporation of Hawaii, a group that provides technical help to low-income residents building their own home.

Meyer is survived by husband George C. Meyer; son George C. Jr; daughter Megan Gelman; sister Patricia Shanahan Banard; grandsons Christopher Price, Geoffrey Gelman, and Max Meyer; and sister-in-law Theresa Shanahan.

A celebration of life will be held Aug. 15 at 3 p.m. at the home of Rick and Crystal Towill, 47-460 Waihee Place, Kaneohe. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shriners Hospital for Children.

Posted in Featured


Posted On July 2nd, 2015 -

Big-wave pioneer helped build Hokule‘a

By Gary T. Kubota /

Wallace Frank Froiseth, a surfing pioneer and devoted Hoku­le‘a supporter, died Monday at his home in Kai­muki. He was 95.

19990523 CTY Uncle Wally (Wallace Froiseth), 80, oldest crew member Photo by Kathryn Bender

Born Dec. 21, 1919, in Los Angeles, Froiseth moved with his parents to a house near Wai­kiki when he was 3 years old. He spent much of his youth in the ocean, eventually learning from beachboy John D. Kau­piko how to make a surfboard.

Froiseth was a pioneer of big-wave surfing, helping to develop the hot curl surfboard (which was designed for big waves) and riding big surf with George Dow­ning and Rabbit Kekai at Makaha and Wai­mea in the 1950s.

“The outer reef was always a mystery to them. … They wanted to catch bigger and bigger waves,” said Froiseth’s daughter Luana Froiseth.

Also, Froiseth and other surfers helped found the Wai­kiki Surf Club in 1948, competing in canoe regattas. He was the first to enter his canoe crew in the Molo­kai-Oahu canoe race.

In addition, Froiseth was an accomplished sailor, working with designer Herb Kane and canoe builder Wright Bowman to create the double-hulled sailing canoe Hoku­le‘a in the early 1970s.

“There would be no Hoku­le‘a without Wally Froiseth,” said Nai­noa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “He was the driving force … taking care of the Hoku­le‘a.”

Luana added, “He loved building the Hoku­le‘a. It was his pride and joy.”

In its historic voyage from Oahu to Tahiti using noninstrument navigation techniques in 1976, the Hoku­le‘a crew proved Native Hawaiians were capable of navigating thousands of miles to find distant islands centuries ago.

Thompson recalled how after the swamping of the Hoku­le‘a at sea in the late 1970s, Froiseth helped to restore the double-hulled sailing canoe in dry dock and set a high standard for caring for the vessel. “In many ways he saved the Hoku­le‘a,” Thompson said.

Froiseth served as a federal firefighter at Pearl Harbor for 25 years, eventually holding the post of fire chief, and later became a pilot boat operator. He also operated tugs in Okinawa, Hono­lulu and Pearl Harbor.

The Waikiki Surf Club will give a blessing in honor of the waterman before Saturday’s July 4th Outrigger Canoe Club regatta. Services are expected to be announced in a few weeks, according to Froiseth’s family.

In addition to daughter Luana, Froiseth is survived by wife Alice, daughters Tina Dumaran and Leiola Demello, and son Tenee.

Posted in Featured

HUGH CLARK / 1940 – 2015

Posted On June 12th, 2015 -

Veteran Big Isle journalist was ‘a newsman’s newsman’

2015 June 12 CTY - Hugh Clark - Hugh Clark, former Honolulu Advertiser Hawaii Island Bureau Chief, photo from 2002 November 15. HSA photo archive

By Kevin Dayton /

Longtime editor and newspaper reporter Hugh Clark, who chronicled decades of Hawaii island news and sports events with a competitive energy that often overwhelmed his frustrated competitors, died Thursday at Hospice of Hilo’s Pohai Malama care center following a long bout with cancer. He was 75.

Clark wrote about politics, crime and volcanic eruptions from his base in Hilo for the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and The Hono­lulu Advertiser, and was “a driven newsman,” said Gene Tao, a longtime friend and colleague.

“Whatever journalism I know, really practical experience, I learned it from him,” said Tao, who worked with Clark for years. “He was a really great teacher, very ethical, very professional, and in private circumstances very, very sociable.”

Anne Clark said she and her husband shared a sense of humor and a love of travel that they passed on to their daughter.

“Hugh just loved the Big Island; he loved the community. He was so into reading, writing, reporting. That was his love and he did it so well, and we shared it,” she said. “I was lucky to be part of the 27 years we were married. It went by too quick and it happened too fast.”

Hugh James Clark was born in Santa Rosa, Calif., and grew up in Washington state, Idaho and Willits, Calif. He graduated from Humboldt State University, where he was active in college publications and worked his way through school as assistant sports editor for the former Humboldt Times.

He went on to work at daily newspapers in Idaho, California, Texas and Nevada, including stints as editor of the Levelland Daily Sun and the Ely Daily Times. He was named news editor at the Tribune-Herald in Hilo in 1966.

As news editor at the Tribune-Herald, Clark resembled the tough, gruff city editors portrayed in the movies, Tao said. Clark recruited Tao to the newspaper, and the two became close friends.

“I rated him as a newsman’s newsman,” said Tao, who went on to become editor of the Tribune-Herald. “He was very strict about the words, the grammar, the facts, the writing.”

When the two friends would become weary of the Hilo rain, Tao recalled how they would drive to Kona for weekend outings to stroll in the sun on Alii Drive to relax. “We all loved to drink a little bit, and in those days we drank beer and gin and tonic,” Tao said. “I really miss him.”

Clark left the Tribune-Herald in 1971 after an angry dispute with newspaper management over an editorial Clark wrote about a local land-use issue. He was immediately hired by the Advertiser as its Hawaii island bureau chief, but Clark was so furious at the Tribune-Herald that for years he refused to set foot in the newspaper building, Tao said.

That quarrel with his former employer provided an extra edge to Clark’s reporting for the Advertiser, said Jim Richardson, the former state editor for the Advertiser who supervised Clark.

Clark would work all day covering business and county government, and then race off to a local high school to cover sports. “He would drive the Tribune-Herald crazy because he covered so many things,” Richardson said.

Mike Middlesworth, former managing editor and business manager for the Advertiser, said Clark “covered his island like a blanket. There wasn’t anything that went on over there that he didn’t know about. He knew everybody.”

Clark was a founding member of the Big Island Press Club and served as its president. He was an outspoken advocate for open-records and open-meetings laws to make government operations more transparent, and was named the press club’s member of the year several times.

He also led a successful political push to incorporate language into the Hawaii County Charter to require open meetings by county boards, Tao said.

An avid sports fan, Clark was a beginning member of the Nissan Hall of Honor high school sports recognition program and served that organization for 32 years. In 2004 he was inducted into the University of Hawaii-Hilo Athletic Hall of Fame for his reporting on sports.

He was also a 30-year volunteer with the American Lung Association and served on its national board of directors.

Clark is survived by wife Anne and daughter Sandhya, a graduate student at Columbia University, as well as brother Tom and sister Joan Sinclair, both of California.

Services will be at Dodo Mortuary in Hilo on Friday. Visitation will be from 4 to
5 p.m., followed by the services. Ashes will be placed in Hilo Bay at a later date.

Posted in Featured

MICHAEL CORD / 1949-2015

Posted On May 8th, 2015 -

Producer revived ‘lost’ recordings of islands’ music

2015 May 8 - OBT - Michael Cord. Courtesy of Cord family.

By John Berger /

Michael Cord, the musician and record producer whose restoration and reissue of vintage Hawaiian recordings made an unparalleled contribution to the preservation of 20th-century Hawaiian and hapa haole music, died Sunday at his home in Ojai, Calif. He was 65.

Harry B. Soria Jr., recipient of eight Na Hoku Hanohano Awards for his work producing and annotating Cord’s HanaOla/Cord International releases, recalled Cord’s “huge impact on Hawaiian music.”

“You may not know the name Michael Cord, but you certainly know his work,” Soria said. “Many of today’s Hawaiian-music artists are regularly performing songs that Cord International restored from lost 78 rpm recordings and brought back to life for new generations to perform and dance to.”

George Winston, Grammy Award-winning pianist and founder of Dancing Cat Records, described Cord as “a great curator of music, giving us so many things to hear for study and inspiration that we would have never been able to hear.” Hawaii musician Ken Emerson said Cord “preserved what could have been lost for all future generations. His importance as a curator of Hawaiian culture should not be underestimated.”

Born Michael G.H Badik in New York and raised in Las Vegas, Cord began playing music professionally as a teenager. He came to Hawaii in 1968 and made a name for himself locally playing bass with a rock band, The Sun & the Moon, but it was as a member of a later group, Golden Throat, whose other members included Dennis Graue and Nohelani Cypriano, that he found his calling. Cord produced Golden Throat’s self-titled debut album and worked with Cypriano and Graue in launching her career as a solo artist with a new style of contemporary music that was described as “nostalgic Polynesian funk.” Cypriano’s debut release, a 45 rpm EP, was also the first release for Cord’s record label, HanaOla Records.

“I really think that a lot of my opportunity in how I broke out on the music scene wasn’t just because of (being on) ‘Homegrown’ and (my first hit) ‘Lihue’; it was really him,” Cypriano said. “Dennis and I were experimenting with the style, but it was also Michael’s suggestions of what he wanted to hear. We had some wonderful times together, and I’ll always be grateful that he believed in me.”

Cord was living in California in the 1980s when he noticed that many of the important old-time Hawaiian record labels had gone out of business and their releases were out of print. In some cases the original master recordings had been lost. In 1991 he began leasing the rights to those old recordings and digitally restoring them for reissue. Among the Hawaii record labels Cord brought back to life were Bell, 49th State Hawaii, Mele, Trim, Tradewinds and Gold Coin. He also released previously unissued early recordings by Cecilio & Kapono and privately made a recording of Pua Almeida at the Moana Hotel in 1966.

Cord’s most recent project, an anthology of privately made recordings of Pauline Kekahuna from the archives of Kent Ghirard, was released in March.

Cord is survived by wife and business partner MaryAnn Michalski Cord, mother Eleanor Badik, sister Tamara Badik Johnson and hanai son Joshua Thayer.

Plans for a celebration of life are pending.

Posted in Featured

MOODETTE KA’APANA / 1954 – 2015

Posted On May 5th, 2015 -

Kumu hula’s passion kept alive Hawaiian culture, art in Seattle

By Rosemarie Bernardo /

Kumu hula Moodette Ka’apana perpetuated the art of hula and the Native Hawaiian culture in Seattle, where she was revered by many.

Ka’apana died April 7 in Seattle. She was 60.

Moodette Kaapana. Photo credit is Kalehua Kaapana.

Born and raised in Kailua, Ka’apana, affectionately known as “Auntie Moody,” moved to Seattle after she graduated from Sacred Hearts Academy in 1972. She attended Seattle University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences.

Friends and family say hula was her passion. As a youngster she was part of Maiki Aiu Lake’s halau in Honolulu. She participated in hula competitions and taught hula to students at Seattle University. In 1989 she opened Pulamahia Hula Academy.

She studied under kumu hula Mae Kamamalu Klein and became a kumu hula in the summer of 1994.\0x2008Ka’apana also helped her sister, Jaydeen Robinson, become a kumu hula.

Her husband, Douglas, described her as very giving. “She gave with a lot of aloha,” he said in a phone interview from Seattle.

Longtime friend Stephen Gomes — who co-hosted a radio show, “Hawaii Radio Connection,” on KBCS 91.3 FM and KXPA 1540 AM in Seattle, with Ka’apana — said she was a smart and fun-loving person.

She had a wonderful sense of humor, he added.

Ka’apana was among the first students of hula in Washington state to attain the title of kumu hula, according to Gomes. “We benefited tremendously from her acumen, from what she was able to learn and teach,” said Gomes, who moved to Washington from Hawaii in 1991.

“She taught me the Hawaiian culture,” he added. “She taught me about how important it is to do things pono, to do things the right way.”

Gomes said she wanted to make sure younger generations of Hawaiians born and raised in Seattle learn about their culture.

Friends and family say Ka’apana will be best remembered for her giving nature. “She touched so many lives,” Gomes said.

Ka’apana is also survived by daughter Kalehuamakamaiikapolipilipa’a.

Services were held in Washington.

Posted in Featured

DOUG JAGO / 1950-2015

Posted On April 25th, 2015 -

Presentation manager had passion for fashion26-B5--Doug-Jago

By Rosemarie Bernardo /

Doug Jago’s eclectic sense of style drew the attention of many.

“Some would call him eccentric. Some would call him fashion-forward. Some would call him unique,” said Al Tomonari, retired general manager of Neiman Marcus who worked with Jago since the inception of the department store’s opening in September 1998. “Doug had his own sense of style. He was able to carry that off with his great personality.”

Jago, visual presentation manager for Neiman Marcus, died in Honolulu on April 16. He was 64.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Jago earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tampa in Florida. He worked at Bloomingdale’s before he moved to Cincinnati and then Los Angeles where he got a job offer to work in visual merchandising at Liberty House in Hawaii.

Jago moved to Oahu in 1991 and worked at the department store before he moved to Neiman Marcus to be part of its visual merchandising team.

Friends and relatives said art was his life’s passion. Along with his creative visual displays, Jago also loved fashion design and acrylic painting.

Close friend Carlos Trahan said he would take broken plate pieces that people typically would throw away and transform them into elaborate jewelry pieces.

Over the past several years, Jago painted more than 120 pieces. They have been sold at a gallery in Palm Springs, Calif., and at showings in Honolulu.

Jago’s geometric and dimensional paintings can be viewed on his website,, named after his mother whose nickname was Babe.

Along with canvases, he painted on clothing, creating his own unique, personal style to match with accessories such as his huge eyeglass collection. Said Nei-

man Marcus’ merchandise manager, Lucy Chelini: “He would find these great jackets and paint on them. Truly, he did wear his own art.”

Said Trahan: “When he had a favorite piece of clothing he didn’t want to throw away, he embellished on it by painting over it.”

Jago also devoted his time to many charity events where he brought his artistic talent to centerpieces and decor.

“Doug was always a person that stepped up and had a positive attitude, whether it was store-related projects or whether it was helping out in the community with the nonprofits,” Tomonari said. “He was always willing to help in any way that he could in the community.”

Jago’s cousin, Stewart, described him as fun-loving and carefree.

“He had one of those magnetic personalities,” Stewart said. “Everybody he met seemed to like him immediately. I never knew of anyone who spoke badly about him or didn’t like him. He just had that kind of vibrant personality.”

Friends and relatives said he will be best remembered for his warm personality, willingness to help and personal style.

Services are pending.

Posted in Featured


Posted On April 23rd, 2015 -

U.S. military intel officer worked to help rebuild Japan after WWII

Star-Advertiser staff

Harry Katsuharu Fukuhara, an American of Japanese ancestry who served as a high-ranking U.S. military intelligence officer in post-World War II Japan, died April 8 in Honolulu. He was 95.

Harry K. Fukuhara Fukuhara, of Honolulu, who rose to the rank of colonel, worked as a U.S. military officer attached to the 33rd Infantry Division fighting against the Japanese military during World War II, at the same time as his mother and three brothers resided in Japan, according to the U.S. Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.

After the war he was reunited with his family and worked to help rebuild Japan.
Son Mark Fukuhara said, “Dad was proud to play a role during his 48 years of working for the U.S. Army in active duty and federal civil service in developing Japan and U.S. relations as strong allies after the two countries fought as enemies during World War II.”

Harry Fukuhara was inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame in 1988.

He also received the Order of the Rising Sun 3rd Class, Gold Ray with Neck Ribbon, from the emperor of Japan.

Fukuhara was born in Seattle.

Fukuhara is survived by sons Mark and Brian, daughters Pam Tsuzaki and Shary Fukuhara-Hashimoto, and eight grandchildren.

Private services will be held in Honolulu, and public services in San Jose, Calif.

Posted in Featured

Nedward Kaapana: 1948-2015

Posted On April 11th, 2015 -

Musician was key to old-style revival
By John Berger

Nedward “Nicky Boy” Kaapana, fraternal twin brother of slack-key master Ledward Kaapana, died April 3 in Hono­lulu. He was 66.

Ledward Kaapana announced his brother’s death on Facebook.

“It is a sad time for me since I’m on tour and far away from my family,” Kaapana wrote. “I just want all my ohana be strong and support each other. It is sad when you lose someone in the family … RIP brother Ned. Mahalo Ke Akua God is love.”

The twin brothers spent their early years on Hawaii island apart. Nedward Kaapana was raised by their grandfather in Pahala. Ledward Kaapana grew up with their parents in Kala­pana. They worked together as professional musicians in their midteens and played at the Islander Inn in Hilo and at the Kona Inn Hotel. They also lived for a while in Cali­for­nia and played music with their cousin Kalei Kaluna in Los Angeles.

Back in Hawaii the brothers teamed up with another cousin, Dennis Pavao, and a new trio jelled. They called it Hui ‘Ohana (“Family Group”). Hui ‘Ohana spent several years working in Wai­kiki and recorded seven albums between 1972 and 1977. Hui ‘Ohana broke up in 1978 but reunited for a series of concerts and two additional albums in 1987.

Lea Uehara, a record company executive and Hoku Award-winning record producer, described Nedward Kaapana as “the quintessential Hawaiian musician.”

“In its heyday Hui ‘Ohana was in the vanguard of the revival of old-style Hawaiian music. Ned’s steady and distinctive bass line and his soulful baritone was integral to Hui ‘Ohana’s music, as was Dennis’ falsetto and Led’s guitar. He was largely missing from the music scene in recent years, but our memories and his musical contributions live on.”

Kaapana released a solo album in 1996 and an album with his oldest brother, George “Keoki” Kaapana Jr., in 2002. Nedward Kaapana played bass with Hui Ohana and played guitar and ukulele as well on his solo albums.

Slack-key guitarist Makana recalled him as “one of the Hawaiian music greats.”

“Mahalo for your unique, crazy finger style that always made for fun listening. I’ll always remember you with joy and gratitude.”

Dennis Pavao died in 2002.

Hui ‘Ohana received the Hawai‘i Academy of Re­cording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 for the group’s achievements between 1972 and 1978, and for their 1987 reunion.

In addition to brother Ledward, Nedward is survived by wife Lianna Kaapana, son Kalae Kaapana and sisters Lei Kaapana Aken, Lehua Kaapana Nash, Trudy Kaapana Kuilipule and Rhoda Kaapana Kekona.

George Kaapana, two other brothers and another sister predeceased him.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Nedward Kaapana, left, Dennis Pavao and Ledward Kaapana made up the Hawaiian music group Hui ‘Ohana. Nedward Kaapana, who was the trio’s bassist, died April 3 at age 66. (Star-Advertiser Archive / Aug. 8, 2010)

Nedward Kaapana, left, Dennis Pavao and Ledward Kaapana made up the Hawaiian music group Hui ‘Ohana. Nedward Kaapana, who was the trio’s bassist, died April 3 at age 66. (Star-Advertiser Archive / Aug. 8, 2010)

Posted in Featured

WARREN PAUL ‘DOC’ BERRY / 1935 – 2015

Posted On April 2nd, 2015 -

Longtime Punahou educator, writer was ‘ahead of his time’

By Gary T. Kubota /

When he wasn’t teaching at Punahou School, Warren Paul “Doc” Berry wrote books about nature and environmental sustainability, served as an editor on independent projects and worked with directors and major institutions to produce films about Hawaii.adbase:Output:Asa-B-NONEXX_8_11-15.qxp

“He taught me about collaboration … how to be generous and graceful,” said award-winning filmmaker Edgy Lee.

“Doc showed me how to make it work when you’re working with others on a creative basis. He was such a great influence on so many people.”

With his daughter, Nina, at his side, Berry died from complications due to Parkinson’s disease at his home in Kaneohe on March 15. He was 79.

Born in Lincoln, Neb., Berry received a master’s degree in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and taught at Punahou from 1962 to 1996.

In the late 1980s Berry worked with two other Punahou officials to start a senior course that combined the study of economics with volunteering at nonprofits on Oahu. The economics program continues today, with seniors volunteering at more than 40 nonprofits.

Outside of Punahou, Berry wrote several books, including “In the Wake of Dreams: Reflections of Hawaii,” a portrait of Hawaii’s endangered natural environment.

He co-wrote the award-winning documentary “Paniolo o Hawaii: Cowboys of the Far West,” with Lee serving as director and producer.

Also, Berry and Lee co-wrote the documentary “Waikiki: In the Wake of Dreams.” In addition, Berry was one of the writers of the documentary “Life or Meth: Hawaii’s Youth and Ice.”

Berry was the producer of “Your Body, Your Mind,” a 96-part TV series for KHET/

PBS, in conjunction with the Hawaii Medical and Hawaii Medical Service associations.

At the University of Hawaii’s East-West Center, Berry co-wrote China’s first textbook on globalization, said co-author, Dean Neubauer, a former consultant for the global think tank Rand Corp.

“He ended up being one of my closest friends and golf partners,” said Neubauer, a retired UH vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“He knew how to write.”

William M. Tam, a deputy director of the state Land and Natural Resources Department in the Abercrombie administration, said Berry was talking about “environmental sustainability” before the phrase became popular.

“He would ask the questions people didn’t ask. … Doc was one of the most remarkable, compassionate persons I’ve ever met,” said Tam, a 1966 graduate of Punahou School.

“He was a man way ahead of his time and a consummate teacher.”

Berry sat on the boards of the Hawaii Writing Project, State Film Board, and Hawaii Educators For Social Responsibility.

On Jan. 10, 2013, he received a proclamation from then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who recognized his contributions to Hawaii and declared the day “Doc Berry Day.”

Berry is survived by his daughter Nina, a Los Angeles writer.

Services will be April 12 at 3 p.m. at Thurston Memorial Chapel on the Punahou School campus. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Paul “Doc” Berry Endowed Fund, care of Punahou School, which supports faculty professional development with an emphasis on sustainability.

Posted in Featured

M. OLIVIA GIBSON / 1924-2015

Posted On April 1st, 2015 -

Island sister moved by love to help others with speech

Pat Gee /

Sister Olivia Gibson

Sister Olivia Gibson

Sister M. Olivia Gibson, of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities and a retired speech teacher in Hawaii schools, has died. She was 90.

A news release from the Sisters of St. Francis said Gibson, who celebrated seven decades with the Neumann Communities in 2013, was a longtime speech pathologist, enabling “many nonspeakers and poor speakers … to speak with clarity and confidence.” It continued, “By her own admission, the secret to her success was love.”

Gibson died March 19 at Saint Francis Convent.

Her efforts and dedication served as inspiration for a movie produced by Universal Pictures, “Change of Habit” (1969), which starred Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore.

Born in Harrison, N.J., Gibson entered the Sisters of Saint Francis in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1942.

She received a bachelor’s degree in humanities (English) from LeMoyne College in Syracuse and a master’s degree in speech pathology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Gibson served as the moderator of the drama department of The Convent School and Maria Regina College in Syracuse.

During visits to California and various other places, she met Hollywood actors Olivia de Havilland, Irene Dunne, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Brian Keith, Angela Lansbury and Ruth Warrick, the release said.

As a speech teacher, she worked in schools in New York, New Jersey and Florida. In Hawaii, Gibson worked at Saint Joseph School in Hilo, Sacred Heart School in Lahaina and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Pearl City.

From 1994 to 2009, Gibson served as office manager in the Spiritual Services Department at Saint Francis Medical Center in Honolulu. In recent years, she served as a community and prayer minister at Saint Francis Convent.

Gibson is survived by nephews Glen and Wayne Wallace; niece Elisa Latkovich; and cousins Rana Keane, Donald Keane, Stephen Keane and Marie Elbert..

Services will be held Monday at Saint Francis Convent, 2715 Pamoa Road. Visitation is set for 9 to 11 a.m., with the liturgy of the Resurrection at 11 a.m. and inurnment at Diamond Head Memorial Park at 2:15 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Retirement Fund of the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities, St. Francis Convent, 2715 Pamoa Road, Honolulu 96822-1885.

Posted in Featured

PETE THOMPSON / 1949-2015

Posted On March 28th, 2015 -

Teacher, Oahu activist fought evictions, H-3

By Gary T. Kubota/

In the 1970s, Pete Thompson was a major voice in movements to stop the eviction of Waiahole-Waikane residents and to keep the H-3 freeway from going through Moanalua Valley.

His political essays and lectures explored the relationships of power among developers, landowners and politicians, and he spoke in favor of preserving farmland, Hawaiian cultural sites and the rural lifestyle of Windward Oahu.

As a teacher, he organized geopolitical tours to the valley and helped in demonstrations before the state Land Use Commission.

Thompson, who went from being a University of Hawaii ethnic studies instructor to eventually an investment broker rated among the top 100 nationwide, died of cancer complications at a hospice in Palolo on March 2. He was 65.

“Pete Thompson was one of the most dynamic people I’ve ever known in my life,” said writer George Cooper, co-author of “Land and Power in Hawaii.”

“Pete was the first person from whom I learned anything about how to research political and economic power in Hawaii.”

Pete Kaulula‘au Gustave Thompson, a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, was born in Honolulu.

Thompson, described by colleagues as possessing a “brilliant mind,” helped in developing the first curriculum about Native Hawaiians in the ethnic studies program at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

“Everybody knew Pete was the intellectual giant of the group,” said Lawrence Kamakawiwoole, the first director of the ethnic studies program. “He was successful at whatever he put his mind to.”

Outside the university, he criticized attempts to convert farmland into residential developments in the Waiahole-Waikane area. The state, averting a major confrontation by residents and supporters, stepped in to purchase 600 acres in Waiahole-Waikane.

Thompson became chairman of “For People, Land and Sea, Stop TH-3,” a coalition of groups that opposed a third freeway to Windward Oahu. Thompson also spoke in favor of developing jobs in Windward Oahu to reduce traffic.

The H-3 freeway was eventually developed but the state built it through Halawa Valley.

As a broker for Smith Barney, Thompson was ranked 51st among investment brokers in the United States in 2008, reporting assets under management of $1.6 billion, according to

He was a board member of the Hawaii People’s Fund and the Hawaii Institute of Public Affairs.

He supported his wife, Sylvia, in opening the gourmet vegan food restaurant Licious Dishes and a raw vegan gourmet catering company and restaurant Greens and Vines.

Thompson is survived by his wife, Sylvia; and son, Travis.

The family is having a scattering of ashes at 10 a.m. Sunday on the Diamond Head side of Kewalo Basin, overlooking Pete’s favorite surf spot, Rocky Point.

On April 12, a “Celebration of Life” is planned at Kapiolani Community College’s Ka‘ikena Restaurant from 2 to 6 p.m.

Posted in Featured


Posted On March 25th, 2015 -

Conservationist worked to prevent building on Diamond Head

By John Berger /

Cecilia Blackfield, an ardent conservationist who did much to preserve the unspoiled natural beauty of Hawaii, died Friday at her home in Kahala. She was 100.

Hawaii philanthropist Carolyn Berry Wilson remembered Blackfield as an avid card player and a personal role model.FTR 20 Jan 15 BERGER

“She loved to play cards, and we played at least once a week,” Berry Wilson said via email. “She was so full of life I would tell her that when I grew up, I wanted to be just like her.”

Dr. James Pierce, a friend for more than 40 years, described Blackfield as “an incredible role model and always good for ‘a love and a hug.’ Her door was always open — 24/7.”

Blackfield was a community leader who worked with the Legislature and the Hono­lulu City Council in deflecting and preventing ill-advised development schemes. She spearheaded the campaign to save the slopes of Diamond Head from the type of high-rise development that occurred on Punchbowl, and helped thwart plans to fill Magic Island with hotels and luxury condos.

Blackfield and her husband, William “Bill” Blackfield, called U.S. Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, a family friend, when Diamond Head was threatened; Udall designated Diamond Head a national monument and ensured that high-rise development would not be allowed there.

Blackfield served on the city Board of Parks and Recreation for 10 years, was a founding member of Scenic Hawaii, a past president of the Outdoor Circle, and a founding member of the Kapiolani Park Preservation Society. Blackfield supervised the construction of the McCoy Pavilion in Ala Moana Park and served on its board.

She also served on the board of Temple Emanuel.

Blackfield had a strong commitment to Hawaiian and hapa haole music. Danny Kaleikini recalled Blackfield coming to see him many times in the 27 years he was the headline entertainer at the old Kahala Hilton.

“She was one of my biggest supporters at the Kahala Hilton,” Kaleikini said. “She was a very nice lady, a real kamaaina and part of the ohana.”

Blackfield’s love of Hawaiian and hapa haole music was evident when she celebrated her 100th birthday in January with a party for 99 friends at the Outrigger Canoe Club. The program included performances by Kaleikini, Cathy Foy Mahi, Puamana, famed hula soloist Kanoe Miller, the Hiram Olsen Trio, Kale Chang and a trio of hula dancers.

Blackfield was born Cecilia Malik in Richmond, Calif. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1936 and came to Hawaii for the first time that same year aboard the SS Lurline. She married William Blackfield, a prominent homebuilder, in 1941. The couple had three children, Leland, Pamela and Karen.

Blackfield was preceded in death by her husband and son. She established the Leland Blackfield Youth Activity Center at Palama Settle­ment in Honolulu, and the William Blackfield Scholarship Fund at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, in their memory.

Blackfield is survived by daughters Karen and Pamela Blackfield.

A celebration of life will be held at a future date.

Contributions may be made to the Leland Blackfield Youth Activity Center at Palama Settlement.

Posted in Featured

NEVILLE COLBURN / 1971 – 2015

Posted On March 12th, 2015 -

Officer was on track to HPD leadership positions

By Rob Shikina / rshikina@staradvertiser.com2015 March 12 - CTY - HPD Capt. Neville Colburn. Courtesy: Colburn family

Neville Colburn, a 22-year Honolulu Police Department veteran and rising police leader, died on Feb. 23. He was 43.

Colburn, an HPD captain, collapsed while running on a track at the police training academy in Waipahu. He was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu where he died, his family said.

Brian Colburn, of Connecticut, said his younger brother had a cardiac event and the cause was still pending.

He last saw his brother in December when he graduated from the FBI National Academy in Virginia. At the time, he said, his brother was ecstatic about graduating and returning to his three daughters, ages 7, 12 and 13.

“For him, that was the major drawback because he was talking to them multiple times a day, everyday,” Brian Colburn said.

HPD Assistant Chief Alan Bluemke, who was Colburn’s former supervisor in HPD’s Professional Standards Office, said Colburn’s death is a “great loss for the department and the community.”

“He had the best interests of the community at heart and the interests of the department at heart,” Bluemke said. “He represented the department well.”
In November, Colburn was promoted to HPD captain and appointed executive officer of the department’s training academy.

“He was on the rise in his career,” said Colburn’s friend, Honolulu police Lt. Phillip Johnson. “He would have been an assistant chief in the next few years. I have no doubt.”

Johnson said Colburn was being groomed through his assignments for future leadership roles. He added that Colburn was one of only about two HPD officers sent annually to the FBI’s National Academy for professional development.

“He was definitely upward-bound,” he said. “He put his whole life into being a good officer and into all the things he needed to get promoted and be a leader in the department.”

Johnson said in the two decades he had known Colburn, he was passionate about whatever he did — from setting a good example for young recruits at the academy to maintaining his fitness and appearance. He said Colburn could finish a mile in less than 6 minutes.

Colburn was born in Panama, where his father, who retired as an Army major, was stationed. His father was the first person the late Sen. Daniel Inouye sponsored as a candidate to West Point, Brian Colburn said.

Neville Colburn grew up in the Pacific Northwest, but spent summers in Hawaii. After graduating from high school in Oregon, he moved to Oahu and joined the police department in 1992.

Becoming an officer “gave him a tremendous sense of direction,” his older brother said. “It definitely got him on a path that he thrived on.”

Colburn worked as a bicycle officer in Waikiki, a patrol officer in East Oahu, a detective in the Professional Standards Office — which investigates officer misconduct, and a lieutenant in PSO.

In 2013, he received an MBA from Chaminade University, where he maintained a 4.0 GPA.

Johnson said Colburn had a big sense of humor despite appearing serious to those who didn’t know him — partly because of his role in the PSO, where Johnson and Colburn worked together.

Assistant Chief Bluemke said Colburn excelled in the PSO — typically a stressful assignment because officers are investigating fellow officers — and remained fair in investigations.

“It’s not for everybody,” Bluemke said. “He knew that. But he was willing to take on that task, and he did it properly.”

Besides his brother, Colburn is survived by his daughters Megan, Amanda and Rebecca; and his mother, Christine, of Oregon.

A memorial service and pass in review will be held Friday at Borthwick Mortuary. Visitation is at 9 a.m. with service from 11 a.m.

A fund for Colburn’s daughters has been set up at

Posted in Featured

STANLEY W. HONG / 1936 – 2015

Posted On February 18th, 2015 -

Isle executive used his networks to help the communityz

By Gary T. Kubota /

Stanley W. Hong’s positive outlook combined with his keen business sense and network of friends made him a sought-after leader, from serving as chief executive officer of the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau to raising money for The Nature Conservancy, according to business associates.

Hong died from cancer Friday in Hono­lulu. He was 78.adbase:Output:Asa-B-NONEXX_8_11-15.qxp

“He was a totally wonderful guy … a great supporter of conservation,” said Suzanne Case, The Nature Conservancy’s executive director in Hawaii. “We’re very, very sad that he’s gone.”

Hong was born in Hono­lulu. His father, Gilbert, was a dentist and his mother, Rosa­lie, a homemaker. Hong attended Saint Louis School, then Oregon State University and Drake University Law School.

Hong rose to a number of executive posts, including executive director of the Aloha Medical Mission, a group that provides medical services to people in poor areas overseas, and as trustee and chairman of the King William Charles Luna­lilo Trust Estate.

“He really brought a wealth of knowledge with him,” said Lunalilo Trust Executive Director J. Kuhio Asam. “He was phenomenal when it came to networking in the community and using those networks to help people out for the good of the community.”

Hong also had stints as vice president of administration and general counsel at Theo H. Davies & Co. and as an executive with Davies’ parent company Jardine, Matheson and Co. of Hong Kong.

He was chief executive officer and president of the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau from 1984 to 1993. Hong also served as president and CEO of the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce from 1996 to 2002.

“We have lost a great, great friend,” said Honolulu attorney Jeffrey Watanabe, who met Hong when he worked for U.S. Sen. Hiram Fong more than 50 years ago.

“Stanley was a truly extraordinary business executive, public servant, and environmentalist.”

Hong was on the board of trustees of The Nature Conservancy for nearly 20 years from 1991 to 2010 and helped the group raise support for its numerous projects. “He would introduce us to people who might have some shared interest,” Case said.

Hong was also a trustee for Bank of Hawaii’s Hawaiian Tax Free Trust.

Lawrence M. Johnson, retired board chairman and chief executive officer of Bank of Hawaii, said Hong was a great family man and a “true friend of mine.”

“He’s a man of great integrity, intellect, and had a true concern for the community,” Johnson said.

Hong was nearly 66 when he became president of Houston-based Waste Management of Hawaii Inc. with landfills on Kauai, Oahu and Hawaii island, but remained undaunted by his new job, pointing out that working kept him sharp mentally.

“It’s just another challenge,” he told a Hono­lulu Advertiser reporter in 2002.

Hong is survived by his wife, Karen, sons David and Jonathan, mother Rosalie Moilee Hong, brothers Michael and Stephen, sisters Laurie Wong and Tina Leong, and four grandsons.

Mass will be celebrated at St. Pius X Parish, 2821 Lowrey Ave. in Manoa, at 10 a.m. Friday, followed by private inurnment. The family will receive guests an hour before and following the Mass. The family requests no flowers.

Posted in Featured

PENELOPE NERI / 1951 – 2015

Posted On February 14th, 2015 -

Isle romance novelist loved animals, books

Star-Advertiser staff

A Mililani resident who penned more than 30 published romance novels has died.

Penelope Neri died of cancer at the Queen’s Medical Center on Feb. 6. She was 63.

Born in Ipswich in southeast England on Feb. 27, 1951, Penelope Newson grew up in Suffolk County in England. She met her husband, Harvey Neri, while he was serving in the U.S. Air Force and stationed in England. She moved to Oahu’s North Shore in 1971.

“She jumped right into life on the North Shore — going from eating traditional British food to fisheye soup and poi, from being a bank teller to working on a taro field, and from painting scenes of the British countryside to raising a pet cow from birth,” said Julie Crabill, Neri’s daughter-in-law.

A great lover of animals, Neri adopted five dogs. And while living on a farm in Haleiwa, she cared for dozens of stray dogs her father-in-law brought to the home, Crabill said.

Neri, who studied Latin, Spanish and French in high school, was a self-taught writer. A voracious reader, she was known to finish off up to three books a day and had a hobby of reading the dictionary, Crabill said.

In 1980, while living in Mililani, Neri embarked on a career as a romance novelist and also wrote children’s books under the name PJ Neri.

Her first novel, titled “Passion’s Rapture,” was handwritten, and a neighbor typed it out in manuscript form, Neri’s son Jonathan recalled.

“She sent it out and had some rejections before it was accepted,” he said.

Jonathan Neri said his mother was constantly reading history books because her romance stories were tied to historical themes.

Romance was “not a taboo subject,” even among the children of the household, Jonathan Neri said. “We grew up with a lot of pictures in the house — men and women in embraces.”

Neri wrote about the way she envisioned her life.

“The guy and the girl got together in the end,” Johnathan Neri said. “It was love. … It was a happy ending.”

The author was a member of the Red Hat Society, Romance Writers of America and the TBPA, a British Heritage Society.

In addition to her husband, son Jonathan and daughter-in-law Julie Crabill, Neri is survived by another son, James; daughter Robyn Neri Fishkin; son-in-law Joseph Fishkin; daughter-in-law Lynn Neri; and grandsons Tyler, Connor and Jackson.

A service will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday at the Kamehameha Schools Memorial Chapel, 1887 Makuakane St.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Neri’s name to the Hawaiian Humane Society,

Posted in Featured

Wendell “Mason” Young / State Official

Posted On December 28th, 2014 -

A former state Department of Land and Natural Resources administrator who served the people of Hawaii for 28 years has died at age 71.

Wendell “Mason” Young of Kailua died Dec. 13 at the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.

“Mason was a people person, always ready to help,” recalled William Aila, DLNR director. “He was also a great thinker and was ‘thinking out of the box’ before that phrase became popular.”

The Honolulu-born Young, who worked for the department for 28 years before retiring in 2003, worked his way up the ranks of DLNR to hold key roles at the agency.

At different times during his career, he served as administrator of the Land Division, the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation and the Bureau of Conveyances. As boating administrator, Young worked to improve deteriorating conditions at the state’s small boat harbors.

Deborah Ward, DLNR information specialist, remembered Young not only as congenial but well-informed on administrative procedures and legislative process.

He is survived by his wife, Jan Young; daughter, Kamuela Klemmer; sons, Puna Young and Pila Young; brothers, Kaulana Young and Chris Young; and a sister, Kanani Kekuewa.

A service will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Kailua.

Posted in Featured

RON KLOHS / 1951-2014

Posted On December 2nd, 2014 -

Isle radio broadcaster sported ‘golden ears’The Real Ron O'Neil (Klohs).

John Berger /

Ron Klohs, known to Hawaii radio audiences for more than 20 years as The Real Ron O’Neil, died Saturday at his family home in Newberg, Ore. He was 63.

Myk Powell, a longtime friend and radio industry colleague, notified the members of the radio industry with a post on the Hawaii Radio Alumnae page on Facebook: “The Real Ron Oneal (sic) has signed off.”

Broadcaster Ron Jacobs had described Klohs in a blog entry as “just about the most amiable, simpatico broadcast brah among a sea full of ego’ed-out radio sharks.”

Many others in the industry mourned the loss of an exceptional talent and friend.

Hawaii radio veteran Chris Hart recalled the kindness Klohs showed to him when he was starting out. “Ron was the first person to ‘give me the time of day.’ (He) made me feel welcome amongst a group of veteran deejays at the number one station in Hawaii at the time. He had heart of gold.”

Chris Peters echoed those sentiments: “He was one of my biggest supporters in my early radio days and I will always appreciate that. He once told me that when times get tough, it just means it’s time to get extra positive. Not easy, but I think he had the right idea.”

Brock “B.Rock” Whaley, a longtime presence at the original KPOI Rock, recalled Klohs as “a brilliant radio personality. When he was on th`e oldies station, he was the closest thing Hawaii had to a deejay from the golden age of Top 40. Ron was not a deejay in the ’60s, but he had all the skill and talent of the best fast talking, jiving deejays of that period. He was having great fun ‘talking up a record’ and that came through on the speakers.”

It was a style that Klohs had grown up with. Born and raised in Newberg, he grew up with a love of music. Listening to Top 40 powerhouse station KISN-AM, he dreamed of being a disc jockey.

“Radio and music was his very first love,” Kolhs’ wife, Donna McGarrity, said Tuesday by phone from Newberg. She said that although Klohs had died of lung cancer, he was not a smoker. He had quit smoking shortly after he met her more than 20 years ago. “I told him I wouldn’t date a smoker.”

Kohls’ final regularly scheduled air shift in Honolulu was a Sunday afternoon show on Oldies 107.9. Kohls and his one-name sidekick, Charlie, would hold forth on a wide range on topics between songs. Each June, Kohls would anticipate the arrival of the season he called “Donna Summertime” by playing the full-length 17-minute,

5-second version of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” breaking the station’s otherwise staid music format with a playful zest that fans looked forward to.

In addition to being The Real Ron O’Neil, Klohs was known within the local recording industry as one of the best studio engineers in Hawaii.

“He had ‘golden ears,'” Whaley said. “His engineering skills were second to none and he was first to use the emerging digital recording equipment.”

“I spent hours with Ron recording radio commercials and promos for the television stations in Dolphin Sound. Some of our recording sessions lasted six hours, turning out close to a hundred promos. Ron always kept the atmosphere light and fun. The time just flew by as he did his audio magic.”

“He was a great guy,” disc jockey Kamasami Kong concurred in a message from Japan. “A hard worker, talented, funny with a heart of gold. He engineered many of my programs for Japan.”

“Ron was the consummate pro,” radio veteran John Burnett summed up. “He always had a smile and a kind word for everyone, a drive-timer or a weekend overnight dude like me. I’ll never forget that.”

Klohs is also survived by son Jason Klohs, daughter Carly Klohs, three grandchildren and one step-grandchild.

A celebration of life is being planned for early next year in Lanikai.

Posted in Featured

Gus Furumoto: 1927-2014

Posted On November 22nd, 2014 -

UH scientist’s tsunami work helped predict risks to isles
By Michael Tsai

A pioneer in the field of tsunami research, Augustine “Gus” Furumoto devoted his career to understanding the formation of tidal waves and developing ways to keep people safe from their devastating impact.FURUMOTO. FURUMOTO, AUGUSTINE. Photo by Terry Luke.

Furumoto died Nov. 14 at the age of 87.

Furumoto was part of a small group of distinguished scientists who helped to bring the University of Hawaii’s Department of Geology and Geophysics and the nascent Hawaii Institute of Geophysics to prominence in the 1960s.

In 1964, Furumoto and colleagues Doak Cox and Ralph Moberly were tasked with investigating a powerful earthquake that hit the Aleutian Islands and the tsunami that was produced as a result. As part of this project, Furumoto and George Pararas-Carayannis wrote an influential report on tsunami generation.

A year later, Furumoto was tapped to be part of the newly formed Joint Tsunami Research Effort, a partnership between UH and the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Through his groundbreaking research, Furumoto was able to develop a method for evaluating the tsunami risk to Hawaii based on an earthquake’s source, a key component in providing early warning of potential tsunami action.

In 1999, Furumoto was one of five scientists honored by the International Tsunami Society for their contributions to tsunami research.

Furumoto is survived by wife Chieko, son Gregory, daughter Anne Shintaku, brother Warren, sisters Grace Zukeran and Elaine Furumoto, and two grandchildren.

Services will be private.


Posted in Featured


Posted On November 8th, 2014 -

Mainland transplant started and helmed business magazine

By Rosemarie Bernardo /

Ethel Bolter Murphy, who co-founded Hawaii Business magazine, described as the oldest regional business publication in the nation, died Oct. 9. She was 101.

Born in Salem, Ore., Murphy was raised by her father, a lumberman, after her mother, a housewife, died when Murphy was a young child. During her formative years, she attended boarding school.

During the Great Depression, she moved to California, where she found a job as an office clerk. While there, she met her husband, Joseph, who served in the Navy.

Murphy started working in public relations at MGM Studios in Hollywood. She enjoyed her career and worked for the motion picture company for 15 years before she and Joseph moved to Honolulu in 1952.

Three years later, the Murphys founded Hawaii Business magazine. Their late daughter, Gina, also worked at the magazine as an art director.

Ethel Murphy served as president of the publication.

Her husband died in the early 1990s. Murphy later sold the magazine to Honolulu-based aio Group and PacificBasin Communications LLC.

“Hawaii Business was the highlight of her life where she felt like she made the biggest contribution,” said longtime friend Suzanne Hills Tucker.

In 1996, Murphy was inducted into the Hawaii Publishers Association’s Hall of Fame for her commitment and contributions to publishing.

In her free time, Murphy enjoyed the theater, operas and playing the piano. She also was a voracious reader, primarily interested in history and biography.

Family members and friends said she will be best remembered for her caring, patient and selfless nature.

Tucker said Murphy was both a good friend and a mentor.

“She was extremely fair with people and open-minded and hard-working,” she said. “She taught me about humanism.”

Grandson Ross Conquest said she was generous and loving. “She was always helping people in one way or another.”

Murphy is also survived by granddaughter Stacey “Lehua” Selzer and step-grandson Joel Murphy.

A gathering will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday — her 102nd birthday — at the Hilton Hawaiian Village lagoon. Her ashes will be scattered in waters off the Hilton.

Posted in Featured

Mutsuo Wayne Tanaka: 1930-2014

Posted On November 6th, 2014 -

Maui newsman chronicled isle’s tragedies and triumphs
By Gary T. Kubota

A sports writer and news photographer whose work spanned more than four decades on Maui has died.

Mutsuo Wayne Tanaka, who began employment at The Maui News in 1948 and retired in 1992, died Saturday at his home in Kahu­lui surrounded by family. He was 83.

Tanaka, born in Paia, grew up in a sugar plantation camp known as Nashiwa Camp, the youngest Saichi and Matsu Tanaka’s six children.

Upon graduating from old Maui High School at Hama­kua­poko, Tanaka started working at The Maui News but was soon drafted to serve in the Army.

After a two years of writing military news releases during the Korean War, Tanaka returned to The Maui News as sports editor and later as chief photographer. At that time his brother Earl was also working for the newspaper and would later become its managing editor.

Tanaka’s photographs recorded the island’s news, ranging from tragedies, such as a fatal vehicle crash that killed four people at Kahu­lui Airport in 1980, to community entertainment highs, such as the debut of Lisa Kubota in a stage production of “Scrooge” before she became a TV news reporter.

“He really had an excellent sense of photography,” said Gaylord Kubota, Lisa’s father and director emeritus of the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum.

Tanaka received calls day and night, even while covering sports events where he often shot photos for his own stories.

Kenji Kawaguchi, who served as executive secretary for the Maui Interscholastic League for more than 25 years, said Tanaka had a way of gathering information given to him and turning it into a better story.

“To me he was one of the best,” Kawa­gu­chi said.

Tanaka is survived by wife Helen and children Craig, Gail and Kevin. He had seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Funeral services are set for 5 p.m. Nov. 15 at Wai­luku Hongwanji. Viewing is at 3:45 p.m.

Mutsuo Wayne Tanaka got his start in the newspaper industry by writing military news releases. (Courtesy Tanaka Family)

Mutsuo Wayne Tanaka got his start in the newspaper industry by writing military news releases. (Courtesy Tanaka Family)

Posted in Featured


Posted On November 5th, 2014 -

‘Living treasure’ helped to revive kapa-making

Timothy Hurley /

Puanani Kanemura VanDorpe, who helped revive the ancient Hawaiian art of kapa cloth making and became a leading authority on the subject through many years of exhaustive self-study and experimentation, has died at the age of 81.

“She was devoted to the material achievements of her ancestors,” said Fred Kalani Meinecki, assistant professor of Hawaiian language and Hawaiian studies at Windward Community College. “Her handiwork was painful and persistent, and she gave it her utmost.”

VanDorpe, who died in Kona last month, is credited by many as reviving kapa, having learned about the Fijian equivalent while living on that island in the late 1960s. She brought her newfound interest back to Hawaii in the 1970s and helped rev up the art form here during the Hawaiian renaissance, inspiring generations of new kapa-makers.

With her work displayed in such institutions as the Smithsonian and Bishop Museum, VanDorpe in 1991 was declared “a Living Treasure of Hawaii” by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii.

With no living Hawaiian kapa-makers to teach her, she reinvented the art by consulting with scientists and scholars and by gathering information from books, legends, chants and museum examples.

Meinecki said VanDorpe conducted more than 1,000 experiments in the production of kapa and some 300 experiments in the use of Hawaiian dyes on kapa cloth. In the process, she rediscovered different kapa-making methods employed in producing cloth made from mulberry tree bark.

She used only traditional natural resources, including bark and root scrapings, saps, resins and berries. She also commissioned local artists to fabricate traditional kapa tools.

“You can read a book, but the book really doesn’t tell you how it’s done exactly, the step-by-step. You have to do it yourself to find out,” she told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 1999. “The books were written by people who were observers, not people who actually made the kapa. I basically had to figure things out by myself. It’s all hands-on experience, and I had to make a lot of mistakes.”

A Maui resident for many years, VanDorpe and her students made kapa cloth for the reburial of bones discovered at the Honokahua construction site of the Ritz-Carlton Maui in the late 1980s. She also made kapa for the reinterment of St. Damien’s relic, having traveled to Belgium to retrieve it, and was blessed by the pope.

Viewing will be 9 to 10:30 a.m. Monday at Oahu Cemetery Chapel in Nuuanu. Visitation with special presentations will be 10:30 to 11 a.m. Service will be from 11 to 11:30 a.m., with lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Posted in Featured

Mike Rosenberg: 1947-2014

Posted On November 3rd, 2014 -

Former KITV president valued public service, Hawaii community
By Erika Engle

Retired KITV President and General Manager Mike Rosenberg worked at the network television level in Chicago before finding his forever home in Hawaii in 1986.

He died in his sleep Sunday at his home. He was 67, according to close friend Jeff Portnoy.

Rosenberg retired from KITV at the end of July 2010 and was succeeded by Andrew Jackson.

“I can tell you that Mike was always somebody who put people first,” Jackson said.

“He had such a love of the community of Hawaii and was instrumental for many years in getting the Merrie Monarch Festival” on television, Jackson said.

He took seriously his TV station’s role “as a community service, and honored that in the way he conducted his life — and as a total bonus, he was funny as hell. I owe him a ton.”

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Rosenberg’s broadcast career started with ABC-TV, working his way through various positions in sales and management from 1972 through 1986, when he came to Hawaii to join KHON-TV as vice president and station manager. Three years later he was promoted to president and general manager, and in 1995 made the move to KITV.

During his time at KITV Rosenberg oversaw the station’s move from Ala Moana Boulevard, where the Hokua condominium tower now sits, to the $15 million facility at 801 S. King St. where KITV became the first all-digital TV station in the U.S. Its Federal Communications Commission construction permit was numbered CP-001, Rosenberg told the Hono­lulu Star-Bulletin in 2006.

As part of the leadership of the Hawaii Association of Broadcasters, he worked for nearly a decade on the relocation of broadcast transmitters for various reasons, perhaps most notably for the benefit of the Hawaiian dark-rumped petrel, an endangered seabird.

That the state’s largest known breeding population of 650 pairs of the seabird chose Hale­akala on Maui as its nesting ground caused Hawaii’s transition from analog to digital broadcasting to occur in January 2009, one month earlier than the rest of the nation.

“I consider him to be a giant in the local broadcast industry,” said Bill Gaeth, retired general sales manager at KITV who worked alongside Rosenberg for some 15 years.

Mike Rosenberg  (Courtesy KITV / 2010)

Mike Rosenberg (Courtesy KITV / 2010)

“He was an excellent leader, and I think it’s not a coincidence that KHON and KITV enjoyed some of their greatest financial success under his leadership,” Gaeth said.

“I know he was perceived (by parent company) Hearst in New York to be one of the most talented and successful general managers in the group.”

In addition to originating the statewide broadcast of Hawaii island’s Merrie Monarch Festival and supporting keiki hula, Rosenberg served several nonprofit organizations over the years, including the Better Business Bureau Foundation of Hawaii and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, to name two.

However, likely most of his nonprofit labors were for the benefit of Manoa Valley Theatre.

He served on the board of directors for 25 years, said Producing Director Dwight Martin, who marked his own 34th anniversary with the theater Monday.

“He just really was very insightful on the value of theater and the importance of it to our community,” Martin said. Given his understanding of Hawaii’s demo­graph­ics, Rosenberg through various positions on the MVT board was instrumental in deciding which plays would and, perhaps more important, would not be staged in the theater.

“Mike really had a good sense of balance between the mission of the theater and the practicality of fulfilling that mission,” said Martin. “I’m just so beholden to him. … He did not let one side overshadow the other. He was as committed to the quality of our art as he was to the viability of producing that as a sellable product.



“Manoa Valley Theatre will feel his energy and his love for many years to come.”

Professionally, Rosenberg “helped a tremendous number of broadcasters in the community, and journalists,” said Portnoy, an attorney who was perhaps Rosenberg’s closest friend.

The two and their respective spouses traveled the world together, “but he was a world traveler even when he was young,” Portnoy said.

Closer to home the couples regularly would have dinner-and-a-movie nights, he said.

Rosenberg also was an avid golfer, until recently playing every Saturday at Oahu Country Club.

“He was my Fantasy Football partner up until the night he died,” Portnoy said.

Rosenberg is survived by his wife, Alberta, son Dan and three grandchildren. Arrangements are pending, but donations may be made in his honor to Manoa Valley Theatre, Portnoy said.

Posted in Featured

JACKIE WARD / 1919 – 2014

Posted On November 1st, 2014 -

The festival organizer led music gatherings in her Kaimuki home

By Gary T. Kubota /

Her free and private musical gatherings in the loft of her home in Kaimuki became one of the pillars of Hawaii’s entertainment community.

Under Jackie Ward’s leadership, Ward’s Rafters became a place that helped encourage new performers and launch careers.
Ward died Wednesday at home. She was 95.

Born Jacqueline Hope to a Russian-German Jewish family in New York City, she worked as a dancer and choreographer in Hollywood and New York, and as a radio reporter in Prague before she and her husband, Herb Ward, moved to Hawaii in 1966, her family said.

Her son Laurence said Ward also worked as a recreational specialist for the City and County of Hono­lulu for several years, helping to organize festivals.

Ward was an early and staunch supporter of Hawaii Public Radio, serving on its board at a time when commercial radio stations opposed the idea, recalled Hawaii businessman John Henry Felix, who once was its board chairman.

“She was one of the pioneers,” Felix said.

Herb Ward, who was classically trained as a musician, was a instructor in music at the University of Hawaii and Punahou School and developed the top floor of their home for musical gatherings.

He died in February 1994, just as renovations were nearing completion.

“The first musical gathering was my dad’s service,” Laurence Ward said.

Recalled jazz singer Starr Kalahiki: “My first jazz gig was at Ward’s Rafters. It was exhilarating.”

Kalahiki said she was nervous singing jazz but the atmosphere was warm and the audience, appreciative.

Entertainer Paul Sato, who plays the banjo for the country/folk/rock group Saloon Pilots, said the venue provided an opportunity to play a wide variety of music.

Sato said Ward treated musicians equally well, whether they were Grammy-award winners or new performers.

“She was a special woman,” Sato said. “We’re not going to find another Jackie Ward.”

Ward is survived by her sons Laurence and Norman; brothers Bobby and Eugene Rippen; and granddaughter Paola Ward.

A celebration of life is set for 10 a.m. Nov. 22 at Diamond Head Mortuary. Donations are being accepted at

Posted in Featured

Robert Richards Midkiff: 1920-2014

Posted On November 1st, 2014 -

Executive helped enrich the look of Honolulu and many lives within
By Susan Essoyan

Robert Richards Midkiff, a philanthropist and business executive known for his community service and for pioneering profit-sharing in Hawaii, died Wednesday at 94.

“He did more than most people would accomplish in three lifetimes,” his daughter Mary M. Fiedler said Friday. “He was inspiring to be around, so cheerful, so optimistic, so resilient.”

Midkiff died at Kahala Nui. A gifted storyteller, he suffered a stroke in 2006 and lost much of his verbal ability but worked his way back to social conversation, his daughter said.

With deep roots in Hawaii, Midkiff held top positions in several companies, as owner and president of American Trust Co. of Hawaii, chairman of Bishop Trust Co. Ltd. and president of American Security Bank. But his contributions reached far beyond the world of finance.

He helped found the Friends of Iolani Palace, the Hawaii Community Foundation, the Downtown Improvement Association and the Wai­kiki Improvement Association. He served as president of the Hawaii Theatre, restoring that historic structure, and led the Good Beginnings Alliance, a nonprofit devoted to early childhood education.

“He was a visionary, he did great things for the community and he will be missed,” said Ed Carter, whose friendship with Midkiff dates back decades.

“He was always optimistic,” added Carter, who was hired by Midkiff to head Bishop Trust. “We were a good combination because I was a CPA and a more conservative type, and Bob was always looking for another challenge.”

Midkiff left a lasting impression on the heart of Hono­lulu. He joined then-City Councilman George M. “Scotty” Koga to co-chair the committee that selected the design for the state Capitol. He was involved in planning the Hono­lulu Civic Center and helped spark a renaissance downtown.

“He got merchants together and was instrumental in creating the Financial Plaza of the Pacific,” Fiedler said. “He raised millions of dollars to restore the Hawaii Theatre and turn it into the cultural jewel it is now.”

The state Senate honored him with a resolution in 2001 that lauded his impact on the Aloha State.

“The people of Hawaii owe a debt of gratitude beyond what words can express to Mr. Midkiff,” it said. “He has been a leader and a mainstay in the development of modern Hawaii since statehood. He will be memorialized in the history of Hawaii as a towering figure in business leadership and community participation.”

Midkiff won the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Small Business Council of America in 2006, and the following year received another national honor, the Fred Rogers Leadership Award in Philanthropy for Children, Youth and Families.

He and his wife established the Bob ’38 and Evanita Sumner ’39 Midkiff Early Childhood Endowed Fund at Punahou School, where they and their children went to school.

“He had such a positive attitude and an unswerving commitment to the idea of early education and the importance of the early years,” said Liz Chun, former executive director of the Good Beginnings Alliance. “He embraced the needs of the whole child.”

Midkiff helped broaden the alliance’s focus from education to family support, health and safety.

“We must start right by training parents to be better parents,” he said in an interview with the University of Hawaii’s Center for Oral History. “They should read to their kids, tenderly hold them, love them and stop beating them on the head.”

Midkiff had a light touch and was known for cracking jokes. They were even compiled into a book, “Uncle Bob’s Heavenly Jokes,” which was sold as a fundraiser for the Good Beginning Alliance.

He and his wife, Evanita, often threw parties at their Kahala home, where they rolled up the rug. They loved opera, jazz and Hawaiian music and even took disco dancing classes, inviting their friends to join them.

“You wouldn’t want to get in his way when he was dancing,” Carter said. “He was a very energetic dancer who moved all over the floor. You’d try to keep out of his way.”

Midkiff traced his roots back generations in Hawaii. His great-great-grandparents, Amos Starr and Juliet Montague Cooke, arrived in the islands as missionaries in 1837 and founded a school where they taught the royal children of Hawaii. His father, Robert E. Midkiff, served as a trustee of Kame­ha­meha Schools and Punahou School.

Born Sept. 24, 1920, Midkiff graduated from Punahou School in 1938. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors from Yale in 1942. He completed Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Advanced Management Program in 1962.

World War II had broken out while he was a senior in college, and Midkiff enlisted in the Army. He served on the staff of Gen. Doug­las Mac­Ar­thur, supreme commander of the Allied Forces in the Pacific, as a second lieutenant.

After the war he returned to Hawaii. His first job was as a delivery boy and clerk at Hawaiian Trust. Eventually he became its vice president. He later joined AmFac, where he helped develop Kaanapali Resort as its vice president of public relations and planning.

“He changed jobs several times, but he was confident that things would work out and they did, they always did,” Fiedler said.

Fiedler said her father made the best of any situation. When he was stuck at home with chickenpox along with his kids, she said, “He read the entire profit-sharing manual, which had just come out.”

He become president of American Security Bank, and then he founded his own company, American Trust Co. of Hawaii, which handled pension and profit-sharing plans. Known as the “Father of Profit Sharing in Hawaii,” Midkiff actively promoted employee stock ownership plans, here and nationally, as a director of the Profit Sharing Council of America.

“With the passing of Bob Midkiff, we lost an individual with tremendous business acumen and a man who understood the value of giving back to the community,” said U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, pointing to his leadership on behalf of Hawaii’s keiki and its working people. “Bob knew that employee ownership created the opportunity to increase production and profitability.”

Midkiff, whose wife died in 2011, is survived by Fiedler and his other four children, Robert R. Jr., David W., Robin S. and Shelley S. Midkiff; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Services will be held Dec. 13 at 8 a.m. at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, followed by a reception at the Pacific Club. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Punahou School for the Midkiff Endowed Fund, to KCAA, to the Hawaii Theatre or to another charity.

Star-Advertiser Assistant Business Editor Dave Segal contributed to this report.

Robert Midkiff and his dog Mickey attend the debut of a new waterfall feature at the Hawaiian Humane Society. The business executive and philanthropist died Wednesday at age 94. (STAR-ADVERTISER / 1999)

Robert Midkiff and his dog Mickey attend the debut of a new waterfall feature at the Hawaiian Humane Society. The business executive and philanthropist died Wednesday at age 94. (STAR-ADVERTISER / 1999)

Posted in Featured

Edith Kawelohea McKinzie: 1925-2014

Posted On October 23rd, 2014 -

Revered genealogist was ‘a remarkable resource’
By Timothy Hurley

Although Edith Kawelohea McKinzie was a gentle, soft-spoken woman who was small in stature, she was a towering figure in the Native Hawaiian community.

The renowned genealogy, hula and chant expert died Tuesday night at Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center, four hours before her 89th birthday.

“This is a big loss in the community,” said kumu hula Vicky Holt Takamine. “She is part of a generation of kumu hula that is passing away. She had so much knowledge.”

The former Honolulu Community College Hawaiian-studies professor was an expert in genealogy and Hawaiiana and was a frequent judge at hula competitions across the state, including Hilo’s Merrie Monarch Festival.

McKinzie is the author of “Hawaiian Genealogies,” volumes 1 and 2, and, among other endeavors, was commissioned to conduct the genealogy of the chiefs of Kahoolawe for the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission.

“She was a remarkable resource for decades — for her own work and as an inspiration to others,” said University of Hawaii Hawaiian-language professor Marvin Pua­kea Nogelmeier. “She leaves a large thumb-print on the Hawaiian community.”

McKinzie established the Bishop Museum’s Hawaiian Language Newspaper Indexing and Cataloging Project and served as its director. She was also chairwoman of UH’s Committee for the Preservation and Study of Hawaiian Language, Art and Culture.

In 2004 the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii named McKinzie a Living Treasure of Hawaii, recognizing her for ensuring that “traditional Hawaiian values and achievements are kept alive so they may be shared and passed on to the coming generations.”

McKinzie was born on Fort Street in Hono­lulu to a Hawaiian and Portuguese family. She graduated from McKinley High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian studies and a master’s in education, curriculum and instruction from the University of Hawaii.

Edith Kawelohea McKinzie: The kumu hula shared her expertise with dancers beyond Hawaii (Courtesy STAR-ADVERTISER)

Edith Kawelohea McKinzie: The kumu hula shared her expertise with dancers beyond Hawaii (Courtesy STAR-ADVERTISER)

As a kumu hula, she began formal training with Joseph Ilalaole and later studied and performed with Eleanor Hiram Hoke and Hoakalei Kamauu. McKinzie also studied chant and oli under Edith Kanakaole and Pele Pukui Suga­numa, daughter of Mary Kawena Pukui.

McKinzie taught hula throughout Hawaii, Midway Island, Guam, Alaska and across the mainland.

Kumu hula and composer Manu Boyd remembered McKinzie as a soft-spoken and gracious woman with a great sense of humor and a beautiful smile.

“You knew it was going to be a nice day when she entered the room,” he said.

Boyd, who composed a mele for McKinzie and two other hula legends honored at the 2012 Prince Lot Hula Festival, said McKinzie’s knowledge of hula reached deep into the traditions of the dance.

“She leaves a great legacy of traditional hula and thinking that was greatly appreciated,” he said.

McKinzie taught chanting for the State Council on Hawaiian Heritage and was a lecturer with the UH College of Continuing Education in Hawaiian genealogy and mele hula. She was the first Hawaiian-studies professor at Hono­lulu Community College, a post she held from 1978 to 1997.

Among her many honors, McKinzie received the Pulama Award from the Kalihi-Palama Culture and Arts Society, the Order of Distinction from the state Council on Hawaiian Heritage and the Kukui Malama­lama from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

A longtime friend, Prin­cess Abigail K. Kawanana­koa, a member of Hawaii’s royal family, said in a statement, “Edith McKinzie guided me into the world of genealogy and opened the door to the true history of the Hawaiian people. My profound aloha to you Aunty Edith. Mahalo nui loa.”

Services will be held Nov. 8 at Borthwick Mortuary, 1330 Mau­na­kea St. Public visitation will be from 9 a.m. to noon. Service will be noon to 1:30 p.m. followed by lunch from 1:30 to 3 p.m. A burial will be at noon Nov. 9 at Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in Kane­ohe.

Posted in Featured

- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran