November 2015 Newsletter

November 2015 (Vol. 38, Issue 1)

The Lana’i Connection is published twice a year (April and November) to inform members of the purposes of the Lana’i Alumni and Community Association (LACA).  Mahalo to all contributors!

Articles and photos may be submitted by no later than a month prior to publication via email to  or via mail at LACA, P.O. Box 515, Pearl City, Hawaii  96782.  We reserve the right to edit and or accept any article before publication.

Editor:  Coochie Tanodra Cayan

Copyreader:   Monica Cockett

Designer/Webmaster:   Donna Shiroma Nakasue

LACA MEMBERSHIP is only $10.00 for your lifetime.  Membership is open to all alumni, residents and community supporters.  Email for more info and how to apply for membership

The LACA Scholarship Fund is now handled at Lanai High School.  All donations at this time to the LACA are not tax deductible.  The LACA is working towards a non-profit status to assure your donations may be tax deductible in the future.  LACA scholarships are awarded at the annual LHES Awards Assembly in May by board representatives.  Your checks should indicate it is for the LHES scholarship fund.  Mahalo nui loa for your consideration!

HOW TO CONTACT LACA BOARD OF DIRECTORS:  You may write to the LACA at P.O.Box 515, Pearl City, HI  96782 or via email at


Co-chairman:  Monica Cockett and Coochie Tanodra Cayan

Treasurer:       Ruth Nakasone

Secretary:       Coochie Cayan

Directors:    Marge Asato, Susanne Damian, Bruno Oroyan, Linda Degamo (Lana’i), Suzanna Kincaid (Lana’i), Bill Ruidas (Maui Connection).

The board is seeking interested members to serve voluntarily with a focus on expanding the number of Lana’i directors.  Please write or email your interest in volunteering.  Mahalo nui loa.


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A nostalgic twentieth reunion was celebrated by LACA members, family and friends at the California Hotel on September 26, 2015.  Folks came from all points including but not limited to Michigan, Florida, Missouri and California as well as Lana’i, O’ahu and Maui.  The luncheon began with a stirring Oli Aloha (welcome chant) by Coochie Tanodra Cayan, LACA board secretary and event co-chairman, followed by a daily blessing offered by Kupuna Solidad Obado.  Juan Degamo served as a delightful emcee with a quick repartee and a long memory regarding Lana’i events, folks, and small kid time stories.  Music was provided during lunch by talented musician, Ikaika Brown.  Ikaika hails from Maui and upon request played several Lana’i songs including “Lei Ko’ele.”

A short visual visit to Lana’i made possible with a video clip on the 2015 cultural literacy summer camp for Lana’i High & Elementary School (LHES) students to malama ‘aina at the water source of Maunalei, in restoring the old Keomoku fishpond stone wall, and in hiking up to Lanaihale.  The students produced the resulting video, documented the island’s resources and composed a new Lana’i song with their mentors.  Please note that these current generations of children have never seen the island in pineapple production.  The second video highlighted the history and culture of Lana’i from mythology through ranching then plantation days.  Both videos can be viewed on the Lana’i Culture and Heritage Center’s website  .  Mahalo LCHC for your kokua with the videos!

For twenty years, the Sanches Ohana (Amando, Abondo, Rod, Amadeo, Tony, Dolpho, Susanna) have been attending the annual LACA gathering since its inception.  It became an annual reunion with the siblings and their children.  This year, Tony and his ohana nui attended and continued a festive family tradition.  Mahalo to the Sanches Ohana for 20 years and more of LACA memories!

Special mahalo to Sue Damian and her two nieces, Trudy and Karol for spearheading the LACA Scholarship Silent Auction these many years.  All the winning bids from the silent auction will provide for one of the annual LHES scholarships.

Mr. Tamo Mitsunaga at 93 years old graced the event with a wonderful recollection of living and working on Lana’i in the heyday of the pineapple plantation days.  His daughter Terri also shared a humorous story of the day her Dad was escorted home by the Lana’i police.  Nothing criminal!  You’ll have to hear the story from Terri or someone who was there!

Other shared memories included:

  • Hideko Saruwatari (91 years old) remembered attending Ko’ele School located where the golf course is today.  She said after a rainy night, the red dirt road turned into a stream of red mud with many earthworms and all the barefooted children jumping to avoid them walking to school.
  • Mrs. Eleanor “Sponge” Ozoa shared how they would walk to the school prom held in the gym in their pretty prom dresses as no one had a car to drive.  “Sponge” added her date gave her a gardenia stolen from someone’s garden!  Everyone laughed because she eventually did marry her prom date!
  • Joy Maile Enfield shared her memories of growing up at Kaumalapau – the Harbor camp before they moved up to Haole Camp.  Her dad, John Maile was a well-known hunter and horseman.
  • Aunty Linda “Api” Pascua Degamo shared a favorite hula “My Yellow Ginger Lei” as a makana (gift) to everyone.  Api was part of the famed “Manso” gang of hard working wahine who were unbeatable at breaking the record for the most loads harvested in one day!  We look forward to Aunty Linda’s hana hou hula next year and hopefully with more of her halau ladies.

    Many others shared their personal memories amongst their table as giggles and smiles were in evidence.

    Na Kupuna in attendance were Tamo Mitsunaga, Hideko Saruwatari, Solidad Obado, Juan Tanodra, Sonny Fernandez, Marilyn Fernandez, Suzanne Damian, Bruno Oroyan, Ted Perez, and Claudio Garalde.  They were each honored with a special lei and a table centerpiece.  The table centerpieces were artfully created by LACA board of director and co-chairman of the event, Monica Cockett to represent three areas of Lana’i – the ranch at Ko’ele (a fresh pineapple dressed with a white cowboy hat and adorned with a yellow green lei and a kerchief), the “City” (a wooden pineapple with two yellow kahili), and the “Harbor” (a wooden pineapple adorned with shells and lauhala fishes) – each had a plaque proclaiming “LACA Vegas 20th Reunion, September 26, 2015.”  All of the wooden pineapples and fresh pineapples were donated by Sue Damian.

    Folks also sang Happy Birthday to Kupuna Soledad Obado as she celebrates 90 years of life.  Mahalo to “Ninang” “Grandma” “Mrs. Obado” for her many years of volunteerism and assisting folks in the Lana’i community.

    A bright yellow LACA pen with a flashlight and rubber stylus was placed with each program as a memento of the 20th reunion.  Each attendee was greeted and adorned with a yellow & green ribbon lei.  Mahalo nui loa to member Lori Del Rosario Saffery who created and donated all of the ribbon leis!

    Kudos to Kathy Nemoto and Robert Rodrigues of the California Hotel Catering Department; to Sandy Goes, Executive Secretary; and to David Lebby, Asst. VP at the Executive Office for their years of excellent service and for providing the annual LACA grand prizes.  This year’s grand prize winner was Jerri Hirayama Ebi with a certificate for a five-day stay at the California Hotel and for also winning the second grand prize of a $100 dinner certificate.  The ukulele raffle winner was Sue Damian (her third ukulele in the past 20 years).

    Mahalo nui loa to Jeff Whaley Photography for being the official LACA photographer all these years!

    Many thanks to LHES Athletic Director, Roderick Sumagit for donating Lana’i Athletic  caps and t-shirts to the Silent Auction.  These items were in huge demand and garnered some high bidding at the silent auction table.  We’ll insist on more next year for sale with the LHES Athletic Department.

    Mahalo nui loa to all the past board of directors, to all members, friends and families who attended and created the memories of the past twenty years.  LACA looks forward to twenty more plus years of making memories with the next generations of Lanaians who are starting to attend this yearly event.  See you all next year. Imua Pinelads and Pinelasses!

Class of 1959 Precious Moments

Pedro Pedring and his gracious wife Gloria hosted a class get-together at their lovely home on July 18, 2015.  Thanks to Lea Nobui Suzuki and George Ramaila who returned to attend this gathering.  Much reminiscing over an ono potluck was enjoyed by all.  Another memorable class event we’ll cherish forever.

L-R: Sherry Ramaila, Janet Anbe Otani, Sonja Okamitsu Tyau, Gloria Obado Reyes, Vince Reyes, Pedering Dugay, Richard Asato.

Back row: George Ramaila, Marge Morita Asato, Lea Nobui Suzuki, Phyllis Morita McFadden, Thor Timbreza, Jojo Endrina Timbreza, Luther Tyau.  Missing are the photographer Wendell Suzuki and our hostess Gloria Dugay.

The Evolution of the Lanai Alumni and Community Association

by Rosita Viduya Hueu

In commemoration of LACA’S 20th anniversary, a historical book, “The Evolution of the Lanai Alumni and Community Association” has been published.  The book is a repository of the first twenty years of the people and activities involved in fulfilling the association’s vision and purposes.

09_book PierreEarlier this year, complimentary copies were presented by LACA Director Susana Sanchez Kincaid to Lanai High and Elementary School, the Lanai Culture and Heritage Center, the Lanai Public Library, and to the Lanai Senior Center.

This historical book links the past twenty years to the present and as a symbolic beacon lighting the path for the Lanai Alumni and Community Association (LACA).  It is a historical recollection of LACA founder, Thomas Roy Nunotani’s era from the 1980’s to 1994; then to the official organizing of LACA on May 21, 1995.

This project is funded by a private entity, Kula Sand, LLC, dba Honolulu Container Storage Rentals.  The owner and president, Robert Kinoshita, class of 1950.  The first board of directors was comprised of President Robert Kinoshita, Vice-President Rosita Viduya Hueu,  Secretary Tina Mendes, Treasurer Randy Sanches with Donna Reyes Ching (2015 outgoing treasurer/newsletter editor), Gloria Obado Reyes (Maui Lanai Connection) and Donna Shiroma Nakasue (webmaster/designer).  Our profound thank you to Robert for his financial support which enabled the committee to publish the book.

Kula Sand, LLC will donate proceeds from this venture to the Lanai Alumni and Community Association.  Donna Reyes Ching is managing the financial aspect for the publication of the book.  There is a limited quantity of books being published.

Essential supporters providing assistance in this project are:  Lana’i LACA directors Susana Sanchez Kincaid, Linda Pascua Degamo, Maggie Masicampo of the Lanai Senior Center, Jane Garalde Primicias of California Network,  Jay Reponte, Robert Viduya, Couriers Vince Reyes, Bill and Laraine Avery, and Jacob Hueu.

Images of Lana’i

by Albert De Jetley

Fresh off the press is a new book called “Images of Lana’i” written and compiled by Lanaian writer, journalist, farmer, business woman Alberta De Jetley.  This book will evoke nostalgic memories of Lana’i past and present chronicled in photographs.

Folks may order by mail by sending your orders  to Lanai Today, P.O. Box 630601, Lanai, HI 96763.  The cost of the book is $21.99 with tax of 92 cents, totaling $22.91.  For more than one book, please add tax of 4.166% to the order.  No tax on the postage.  Postage for mailing one to three copies of it in a priority envelope is $5.75.  Please add the postage to the book total.

Alberta notes that “…If people want the book to have a personalized inscription with my autograph, please let me know the names of the people they want the books for…”

Class of 1959 Precious Moments

Pedro Pedring and his gracious wife Gloria hosted a class get-together at their lovely home on July 18, 2015.  Thanks to Lea Nobui Suzuki and George Ramaila who returned to attend this gathering.  Much reminiscing over an ono potluck was enjoyed by all.  Another memorable class event we’ll cherish forever.

L-R: Sherry Ramaila, Janet Anbe Otani, Sonja Okamitsu Tyau, Gloria Obado Reyes, Vince Reyes, Pedering Dugay, Richard Asato.

Back row: George Ramaila, Marge Morita Asato, Lea Nobui Suzuki, Phyllis Morita McFadden, Thor Timbreza, Jojo Endrina Timbreza, Luther Tyau.  Missing are the photographer Wendell Suzuki and our hostess Gloria Dugay.

High School Sweethearts 57 Years Ago

Submitted by Gloria Obado Reyes

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CONGRATULATIONS to classmates and high school sweethearts, Solidad “Soli” Dela Calsada and Mariano “Mars” Masicampo, Class of 1955 as they celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary on May 18th.  They were blessed in marriage by Father Everett Gillian, Sacred Hearts Catholic Church, Lana’i City on May 18, 1958.

“Mars” joined the Air Force and travelled to many places with “Soli” until his retirement in 1978.  His last duty station was Vandenberg AFB, California.  They are blessed with four sons, one daughter, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Like most Lanaians, they ventured afar and finally settled in California.  “Soli” worked till retirement at the local WalMart and is enjoying her family to the fullest.  After retirement, “Mars” worked as a government satellite contractor and currently as a slot technician at the nearby Chumash Indian Resort and Casino.

Congratulations “Mars” and “Soli” and many more to come!

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Class of 1958 – 75th Birthday Celebration

By Robert  Viduya & Jeri Iba

It was a time of remembering the days of our youth —  growing up on Lanai, attending high school, and talking story.  The Class of 1958 held its reunion and 75th birthday celebration on October 25, 2015 in Las Vegas.  Our special guests were from the Class of 1959.

Representing the Class of 1958 were, Monica Cockett and her sons Lloyd Perry and Jason Perry, Carol Ann Fujimoto, Jeri Iba, Mae Takata, Rosaline and Domingo Ballesteros, Irene and Jerry Seawright, Dr. Ismael Naanep, Deacon Andy Calunod, George Higa, Emidgio Jamero, Ernest and Bertha Pagay, Robert Viduya, and Joan and Roger Mornson.

The Class of 1959 and their guests were, Marge Asato, Sonja and Luther Tyau, Leatrice and Wendell Suzuki, Harry and Elsie Yamatsuka, Francis and Rita Goshi, Lucille, Richard and Daughter, George and Janet Otani, Gertrude and Andrew Wallace, and Lorraine and Bill Avery.

The day began with a slot tournament.  And the winners were Andy Colunod (our senior class president) and Coral Ann Fujimoto.  This was followed by a delicious luncheon at the Main Street Station Garden Buffet.  While enjoying this sumptuous feast, we held a short program with Robert Viduya, as master of ceremony.  The program began with a Hawaiian invocation led by Monica Cockett, then games and prizes conducted by Marge Asato, time to remember classmates who have left us led by George Higa with Emidgio Jamero for class of 1958 and Leatrice Suzuki for class of 1959.  The centerpieces of beautiful hula dolls were donated by Gloria Reyes.

We want to acknowledge and thank everyone from both classes and also their guests.  Our special thanks to the Class of 1958 planning committee and representative from class 1959, Marge Asato and Leatrice Suzuki.

The exchange of gifts and donations were both generous and thoughtful.  Everyone had their hands full with goodies and memorabilia.  This celebration was an opportunity for us to reaffirm life-long friendships and to look forward to the next one.  A Hui Hou! 


Submitted by Rosita Viduya Hueu

How swiftly the years have gone by! Sixty-two years since graduation day on June 6, 1953, we are still bonded by that Lanai spirit of lifelong friendships. On July 21, 2015, several classmates and guests converged at the Golden City Restaurant on North School Street in an impromptu class reunion.

We welcomed home Rufina Rabbon Kula who now resides in Texas and also a home in Molokai. Also, we enjoyed meeting our classmate’s son, Eddie Bruno Oroyan from Belgium who is a renowned dancer and choreographer and the recipient of several prestigious awards including the 2006 Artist of the Year, 2008 Outstanding Performer, and the 2009 Metro Magazine’s Keeper Award. We share Bruno’s pride and happiness in his son Eddie’s artistic accomplishments!

The luncheon was a savory buffet of delicious Chinese food mixed with nostalgic memories of our classmates. We laughed over many “Eh you remember” anecdotes which sparked more happy memories. All too soon for the newly 2015 octogenarieans of the Class of 1953 it was time to bid each other a fond aloha with many assurances of getting together again.