Christie Marverlee Louella Ellis Keolanui was born on October 8, 1933 to Harriet Miller-Dwight Ellis and Christian Pohaku Ellis in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was the third oldest of four daughters and two sons. Her father was a fire chief and her mother was a homemaker. Christie grew up in the neighborhood of Kapahulu within walking distance of Waikiki beach. On the morning on December 7, 1941 when Christie was eight years old, she was ready to walk to church. That was the morning when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Her older sisters, Ulu and Pii were boarding at Kamehameha School. Her father was at work. A stray bomb hit the back of her house on Duval Street. Her mother gathered Christie and her younger sister Elizabeth in her arms and jumped over the 4-foot wall that surrounded their house. Her father, had reported to Pearl Harbor to fight the massive fires ablaze on the American ships. Somehow, he received news that a young girl on Duval Street had been killed in the bombing. It would be several weeks before he found out that his daughters were safe. The girl who tragically died was from the family, close friends, who lived across the street. She was hit with shrapnel from the bomb that landed on Christie's house. During the war years, Christie walked to Thomas Jefferson Elementary school. Eventually, she attended Kamehameha School and graduated in the class of 1951. From there, she went on to the University of Hawaii majoring in Home Economics. She played intramural volleyball, tennis and also swam in the Aquacades. In her dance class, she was the tallest young lady at 5'8". Because of that, she was paired with the tallest young man, who was 6'4" and played on the UH basketball team. That young man, Lawrence Keolanui, Jr. would become her husband in December 1953. Larry was in ROTC, and became a commissioned officer in the US Army. He was stationed in San Antonio, Texas when Christie in Honolulu, gave birth to their first child, Laura. Six weeks later, Christie took her first ride in an airplane, mainland bound with Laura to join Larry. Christie embraced the role of being an officer's wife and enjoyed touring the world with Larry and their family. They lived in West Germany and toured Europe in 1956 while Larry defended the border between East and West Germany. As an Army wife for twenty five years while Larry was promoted from Second Lieutenant all the way up to Lieutenant Colonel, she would live in Panama, and eight states and make many cross country road trips across the USA. In Ft. Riley, Kansas she would give birth to her son Bob. A year later, in Ft. Benning, Georgia, she welcomed her daughter Cynthia into the world. Christie would also see her husband, an infantry man, leave and return safely from two tours in Vietnam while she held down the fort at home in Hawaii. Christie's first job, while she and Larry were dating, was working in an ice cream parlor in Waikiki. Later, she worked in retail at Sears, and Montgomery Wards. In southern Virginia, Christie became a licensed real estate agent and sold their house herself when Larry was transferred to Louisiana. Her interest in real estate led to a job in Fairfax County's title department. When Larry retired in Hawaii, Christie worked at Long & Melone and later Island Title as a Title Officer in downtown Honolulu. Christie was an excellent seamstress and sewed many of her daughters' dresses as well as her own muumuus. But her favorite hobbies usually involved sports. She was a natural athlete and very competitive. She often had an advantage over opponents because she was a leftie. She and Larry bowled in several bowling leagues at many bases. While Larry was stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia, he taught her how to golf. That became a lifelong passion of theirs spanning many decades. In 1986, Christie made a hole-in-one at Schofield Barracks Kalakaua Golf Course. After Larry retired in January of 1981, the focus of their lives became genealogy, golf, grandchildren, and the goal of visiting all fifty states. They managed to combine all three using Washington state as a jumping off point because that's where their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren Johnny and Sarah had moved in 1990. They traced the route of one of Larry's grandfathers from Idaho, through Washington and then down to Oregon. On another trip, which their daughter Cynthia joined, they caught the Amtrak Coast Starlight train that runs along the California coast. Larry's Chinese great grandfather had immigrated from China to work on building that train route. In Hawaii they island hopped to Kauai, and the Big Island searching for genealogy information and also stopped in to visit Bob who lives on Maui. Of course, they included golfing on some of the top courses with their genealogy trips. On January 1, 1988 the Kailua home that they bought in 1966 flooded with four and a half feet of water destroying almost everything Christie, Larry and Cynthia owned. Laura and Bob flew in to help clean up the destruction. The family persevered and restored their family home. In 2015, Christie and Larry lost their youngest daughter Cynthia to breast cancer after a long battle. Christie's beloved husband Larry spent the last years of his life in a Makiki nursing home with advanced dementia. Christie was a devoted wife who visited him every day even after she gave up driving. That's when she relied on the Handi-Van to take her into town to visit the love of her life. His face always burst into a beaming smile when he saw her with her signature hat. When it became too hard for her to live alone in their Kailua home, Christie moved into The Plaza at Kaneohe. Ever the athlete, she went to exercise classes daily (sometimes twice a day). She was such a sweet lady she made many friends with other residents, and also with the nursing staff who helped her during the two years she lived there. She was active up until the morning of September 28 when she had a stroke and died. She is survived by her daughter Laura Keolanui Stark and son-in-law John Stark, grandchildren John (Johnny) Stark and Sarah Stark Romanick, son Robert (Bob) Keolanui, son-in-law Bruce Iverson, sister Elizabeth Wade, and brother Dwight Ellis.
Arrangements Provided By: Hawaiian Memorial Park Mortuary
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