East Hawaii News

Environmental Commission Vice-Chair John Dill Dies

June 23, 2014, 1:16 PM HST
* Updated June 24, 10:50 AM
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John Dill, vice-chairman of the county Environmental Management Commission, died as the result of an apparent heart attack on May 29 at Hilo Medical Center, county sources said today.

Dill, 38, was also former chairman of the Hawaii County Ethics Commission.

Dill’s death was a shock to the commission, said EMC Chairwoman Anne Lee.

Lee said Dill had complained of “serious back pain” at the EMC’s April 23 meeting, and she encouraged him to walk around during the meeting for relief.

When he uncharacteristically missed the next (May 28) meeting, “we were all wondering why,” she said. “The next thing we knew he was gone. Everyone was shocked.”

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Dill was appointed to the EMC on April 15, 2013, to fill a vacant position until the end of 2013, when he was appointed to a full five-year term by Mayor Billy Kenoi. As vice-chairman, Dill was in line to succeed Lee as the chair of the commission, Lee said.

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Dill was also chairman of the Hawaii County Board of Ethics during a contentious period when members of the Hawaii County Council were the targets of complaints.

Dill had a verbal flareup with then-Councilman Dominc Yagong in 2012 over alleged conflicts of interest on both sides.

Dill also presided over the Ethics Board’s findings in 2008 and 2009 that former Councilwoman Emily Naeole made offensive gestures toward constituents at a County Council meeting and, in a separate incident, threw a pencil across the council meeting room.

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Kevin Dayton, Kenoi’s aide, said the mayor is planning to attend services for Dill on Saturday.

Dill was also construction manager for Rider Levett Bucknall and former employee of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources – Department of Aquatics Research.

He was a graduate of Kamehameha Schools’ Kapalama Campus, member of Heritage Christian Fellowship and Hawaii Island Contractors Association and a former member of the state Contractors License Board, according to the obituary released by Dodo Mortuary over the weekend.

“We were thrilled to have him on the commission,” Lee said. “He was conscientious, he took everything to heart, … (and) he was all-around a super nice guy.”

Lee also noted that Dill left behind a young family. “It’s heart-breaking,” she said.

Services will be at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at Wainaku Executive Center. Dill is survived by his wife, Susie M. DeSa Dill, and four children, all of Hilo.

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