Anchorage 49.0 °F
Fairbanks 36.0 °F
Juneau 50.0 °F
Wayne Kaleialoha Kahula, 57, died unexpectedly Jan. 16, 2008, of a massive heart attack at his home in Wasilla while shoveling snow.
Wayne was born July 30, 1950, in Hana, Hawaii, to Henry and Marie Kahula. He was a 1968 graduate of Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu and received a football scholarship to Arizona State University. His football career was cut short after an automobile accident caused injuries that prevented him from continuing to play.
As a young man, Wayne arrived in Alaska in 1971 and found work on the docks unloading crab boats and eventually operated his own commercial fishing business. He also obtained his small aircraft pilot's license.
During the trans-Alaska pipeline construction, Wayne worked as a foreman for cement truck drivers at the Valdez Terminal. He was proud to have had a part in the pipeline construction and made lifelong friends during his experience.
After the pipeline was completed, Wayne moved his family to Spokane, Wash., where he began a career as an independent truck driver serving several northern states and Canada. When the gas crisis disabled his trucking business, Wayne moved back to Alaska and worked as a truck driver for Anchorage Sand and Gravel and as a musician for Henry's Hawaii in Anchorage.
In 1986, Wayne was called back to Hawaii to help with the family gas station business in Hana. While there, he also worked at the Hotel Hana Maui at the activities and front desks and as a Hawaiian music entertainer.
On Aug. 18, 1990, Wayne married the love of his life and best friend, Mary Ann, and they moved to the Big Island of Hawaii in 1991. Wayne worked as a heavy equipment operator and in 1998 was ordained through the United Church of Christ and called to the Puna Congegrational Christian Church as assistant pastor and praise and worship leader. He was a strong presence for many of the men in the church, meeting for prayer, Bible study, counsel and mentoring. His humor, love and hard work were positive influences for the people he served and served alongside.
Wayne's dream of returning to Alaska was realized last year when he and Mary Ann and their two grandsons moved to their home in Wasilla. Wayne was happy to find work with Anchorage Sand and Gravel once again and to reconnect with old friends and family.
"Wayne's life touched many, and he will always be deeply missed by those who knew and loved him," his family recalled. "He loved people and music, but above all, it was his prayer that all would come to know the forgiveness and grace he experienced through a relationship with Christ. Such is a life that matters: One that seeks to do God's will and serve him."
Wayne is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, of Wasilla; father, Henry P. Kahula Sr. of Hana; father-in-law, Gary Woodward of Gaston, Ore.; sons, John Kahula (Debra) of Pukalani, Hawaii, Michael ( Patience) of Wailuku, Hawaii, and Jason Manrique (Molly) of Phoenix; daughter, Ilima Kahula of Whittier; grandsons he was raising, Josiah and Elijah Kahula of Wasilla; those he loved as his own children, Clinton, Keiko and Gabriel Mercado of Volcano, Hawaii; brothers, Henry P. Kahula Jr. of Pa'ia, Hawaii, and Dennis Kahula of Oregon; sisters, Annie Kahula-Rahl of Hana and Mokihana Kahula of Makawao, Hawaii; and grandchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and many dear friends.
Wayne was preceded in death by his mother, Marie Kahula; sister, Ethel Dela Cruz; and uncles, Jackie and Pete Kahula.
A second memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Feb. 16 at Puna Congregational Christian Church in Keaau, Hawaii, and at 11 a.m. Feb. 23 at the Pa'ia Community Center on Maui. A meal will follow both services.
Condolences and stories of remembrance may be sent to the family; c/o Mary Ann Kahula, P.O. Box 875028, Wasilla 99687-5028
Valley Funeral Homes & Crematory of Wasilla and Palmer assisted the family