East Hawaii News

Hilo Community Says First Goodbyes to Late Senator

February 2, 2016, 6:53 PM HST
* Updated February 2, 6:56 PM
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Members of the Hilo community, including State and County workers, gathered Tuesday afternoon to pay their first respects to the late Senator Gilbert Kahele, who passed away suddenly one week ago from coronary complications.

A motorcade that began in Honolulu and continued in Hilo took place over a 90-minute span. The motorcade began at the Hilo International Airport and passed through Hilo town, touring sites that held special significance to Senator Kahele.

Among the sites were Richardsons Beach Park, Banyan Drive, the County of Hawai’i and Hawai’i State buildings, Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary School, Hawai’i County Fire and Police Department stations, Hilo High and Intermediate Schools, and Lanakila Learning Center. The motorcade ended at Dodo Mortuary.

Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Brian Schatz each spoke of Senator Kahele on the House and Senate Floor, respectively, on Tuesday.

“I saw Gil recently in Washington, DC, where as always, he was ready with a smile, a hug, and warm aloha,” said Representative Gabbard. “My heart is with the Kahele ʻohana and all of Hawaiʻi Island as today, we celebrate Gil’s life of service and the positive impact he made on countless lives. Gil, mahalo nui loa for dedicating your life to serving others and for demonstrating how much we can achieve when we work together in the spirit of aloha.”

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“No one embodied the spirit of aloha more than State Senator Gil Kahele, who died suddenly last week,” said Senator Schatz. “He was a living personification of the idea that we are all in this together, that it really does mean something to live together in this island state, in the most isolated populated place in the world, in the most beautiful place in the world.”

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A public celebration of Senator Kahele’s life will be held on Monday, Feb. 8, at the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.

Visitation begins at 4 p.m. Services for a final “Evening of Aloha” begin at 5:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

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