November 2016 (Vol. 40, Issue 1)

Download the full PDF of the November 2016 Newsletter by clicking here.

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).

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 or go to website

The LACA Scholarship Fund are sent by the board of directors to Lanai High School for the yearly awards.  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, Marilyn Fernandez, Norante Fernandez, Bruno Oroyan, Linda Degamo (Lana’i), Suzanna Kincaid (Lana’i), Bill Ruidas (Maui Connection).


By P. Coochie Tanodra

This year’s annual Lana’i Connection aka LACA Las Vegas luncheon reunion was held on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the California Hotel’s Ohana Room.  Almost 80 Lanai alumni, family and friends converged at the 21st luncheon with a festive theme of “Lana’i Sparkles.”  Lana’i folks came from all points in between from Maryland and California as well from the shining islands of Hawaii nei.  Notably the Sanches Ohana was present; as they have been yearly since 1995 to reunite at the Lana’i Connection.  Aloha nui loa to Tony Sanches and his wife, and to Susanna Sanches Kincaid (a LACA Director and early Lanai Connection organizer) and her ohana for keeping this family tradition!

The sparkling theme was further reflected in the ‘Oli Kanehoalani, a welcome chant that spoke of Kane’s manifestation in the starry Milky Way that looks upon Planet Earth and especially upon our precious home island of Lana’i shining in the middle of the Pacific.  The chant also acknowledges “time” and how ancestral wisdom takes time.  We honor that wisdom which we all have benefited from by the many wise kupuna (elders) of Lana’i seen and unseen; to the many kupuna who live in our memories and took the time to show us an enduring “work ethic” in the pineapple fields with a sense of community by sharing with and helping one’s neighbors.  That is the essence of Lana’i folks who malama (care for) our island home, Lana’i and its people then, now and for the future generations.

An invocation for the gathering written by LACA director Monica Cockett was read aloud by Ruth Nakasone, LACA Treasurer.  It was followed by a few moments of silence to remember those loved ones who have transitioned from this earthly plane.  A bountiful buffet with three entrees, many side dishes and desserts was provided for the luncheon.

Melodious Hawaiian music for the lunch period was performed by professional Hawaiian musician Kevin Brown of Maui.  Kevin plays several times a week at both hotel resorts on Lana’i.  He graciously played the songs of Lana’i at least twice upon request.  The gathering was treated to a graceful hula performed by an unnamed guest and a heartfelt song dedicated to all Lanaians by Mrs. Linda Perez (wife of Ted Perez).

The Talk Story program started with Dr. Bob Wilkinson sharing his memories of growing up on Lana’i as the son of Dr. Wilkinson.  Bob noted that his father probably delivered almost everyone present at the luncheon which generated much laughter and smiles.  They lived on Lana’i from 1941 through 1953.  He recalls leaving when he was in the sixth grade and happily reunited at the luncheon with some former classmates from the Class of 1959.  Bob said that after Lana’i, they moved to Wahiawa where his father practiced family medicine well into his 80s.  Presently, Dr. Bob Wilkinson is semi-retired as a pediatrician specializing in Hematology.  He asked folks to please say a prayer for his ailing brother, Dr. Bill Wilkinson who has attended many past LACA reunions.  Bob shared that his brother especially enjoyed last year’s 20th LACA luncheon.  Dr. Bob plans to attend next year and share more memories.

Robert Viduya shared his mana’o in fluent Japanese and then with a translated summary of his appreciation and gratitude of growing up on Lana’i, of being indebted to family and the community for the benefit of shared values of respect, hard work and helping others.  He also attended an enjoyable reunion that weekend with his classmates and other Lanaians.

Michael Lopez grew up on Mana Street, Block 35, Down Camp, and gave a summary of his life after graduation.  He joined the U.S. Marines and saw the world; then upon retirement moved his family back to Lana’i.  Michael has served on the Lana’i Planning Commission as well as other community efforts to malama Lana’i and to keep the island’s character and personality intact which he expressed “…as the people have plenty aloha …even  in the island’s changing times and owners.”  Michael is the #3 son of “Dong” and “Goring” Lopez.  He noted his mom planned to attend this year, but stayed home for health reasons.  Michael and his wife, Brenda are first-time attendees and enjoyed the nostalgia and seeing old friends.

Janet Ambe Otani of the Class of 1959 was in attendance with two tables of her classmates and friends.  She shared that they were celebrating their 75th birthdays together and enjoying the Vegas life!  Janet recalled working in the pineapple fields at age 15 and following the “boom” on the picking machine and learning to pick pine.  For her, it was mostly a “grand time” growing up on Lana’i.

Sue Damian, Class of 1952 shared that after high school she had passed the test to join the Marines, but didn’t go as she was employed on Maui.  Sue worked many years in the pineapple fields and said it was “…very hard work.” She said growing up on Lana’i was a feeling of ohana, “… a closeness with the community as well as being together with classmates from elementary grades.”  She feels that sense of community is what makes Lana’i special.  Sue has organized the Silent Auction at the LACA event for many years with all of the profits going to the Lana’i High scholarships and to the Athletic program.  Mahalo Sue for your kokua to support our ‘opio!

Ruth Nakasone shared with folks that she always supported her late husband Hideki who is actually the one from Lana’i.  She told a story that a long time ago, her husband got into a bit of trouble in his youth as he was very kolohe.  One day he was told to report to the police station for some youthful infraction.  Hideki was instructed to sit in one of the tiny jail cells for a day or so.  When it was time for dinner, the police officer told him to go home, eat his dinner and then return to the cell.  Everyone was laughing as they could visualize the former Lana’i jail which remains in its original form — a tiny shed composed of two tiny rooms and a bench inside each cell for the unlucky person(s).  Today that tiny jail is one of the many historic buildings for the Lana’i City Historic District.

Terry Mitsunaga Chan cheerfully shared how excited she and her friends were when they became of age to work in the fields.  She noted how they worked hard to pick pine and then on the first day had a big question – “How do we go bathroom?”  Terry and her good friend, Lynette would walk almost a mile away to find a ditch in another field with each person standing guard for the other.  One day Terry said a truck was driving by and the truck driver could surely see them; they couldn’t hide!  So Lynette told her “cover your face.”  Another memory folks could relate to with lots of laughter!  Terry added that growing up included fun times like going up to Lanaihale, playing at the paper bark forest and finding mountain naupaka.  Terry is the daughter of Sylvia (deceased), a former school librarian and Tamo Mitsunaga who worked for Dole Company.  She added that her father (93 years young) sent his aloha to all while he is recuperating from an unfortunate fall and could not be at LACA this year as planned.

Doris Ambe shared that she and her classmates celebrated their 70th birthdays last year.  She recalled the beautiful well-kept garden in the back of their house known as the Ito Garden.  One day , a long time ago, her two rascal boys chopped a cactus plant in the garden and that caused her some grief for weeks from the Ito family and a visit by the Lana’i police.  Doris added that currently several of her classmates meet weekly on Wednesday mornings to bowl at the Aiea Bowl.  She invited everyone to come by to bowl a game or two or to talk story!

Frank Pagay Jr., Class of 1968, also grew up on Mana Lane, Block 35 as he added a memory of playing in the tall California grass pasture with a whole bunch of neighborhood kids above the Ito Gardens.  He remembers getting covered in the sticky molasses grass and getting lickin’ when he got home!  Several others laughed and said they did the same and got lickin’ too!  Frank and his wife reside in the “9th Island” and enjoy attending the LACA Vegas reunions.

Ricky “Tama” Tamashiro, Class of 1971 shared that for several of his high school years there were three Tamashiro cousins playing basketball.  Then one year in the 80’s, tiny Lana’i was victorious in placing second place for the State Division II basketball tournament.  Ricky proudly stated that the Pine Lads played hard to attain this win and noted teammate Douglas Daguay won the tournament’s MVP trophy.  He imitated the radio announcer making the play by play “…pass by Tamashiro to Tamashiro and pass to Tamashiro and back to Tamashiro…”  Ricky’s parents are David and Thelma Tamashiro, who worked at the Richard’s store and at the old bowling alley respectively.  Ricky appreciates all the Lana’i families who grew up together, and learning good values and caring for each other.  He noted that “we all got along…which we need now today with aloha…”  Ricky is also a part of the annual Lana’i golf tournament that raises funds for the LHES scholarship.  Mahalo Ricky for kokua!

Frank Soriano attended for the first time and later wrote in a Facebook post in the Lanai High School Alumni Hui group “…I’ll be there 09/23/17…at LACA lunch sat next to Frankie Pagay and he is my mother’s g/son, which I did not know – what a surprise for me.  I also met Val Kincaid and ohana.  LACA is the place to be.”  Mahalo Frank for your sparkling review!

Na kupuna (80+ years young) in attendance were recognized with a special lei.  They were Solidad Obado, Marilyn Fernandez, Norante Fernandez, Sue Damian, Susanna Kincaid,  Ted Perez, and Donna Tanodra Willingham.

The sparkling centerpieces depicted a wooden island shape of Lana’i with a pine tree holding shiny earrings, bracelets, flower adornments, and keychains as makana (gift) for each attendee.  These were hand crafted and donated by LACA director Monica Cockett and her two sons, Jason Perry and Lloyd Perry.  Also, at each setting, there was a useful bright green & yellow flower luggage tag and a pineapple decorated post-it notepad handcrafted and lovingly donated by Terri Pascua and Ruth Nakasone respectively.  Mahalo nui loa ladies for your creative gifts and aloha for Lana’i.

Pedring Dugay returned this year with another of his handcrafted ukulele to raffle at the luncheon.  The winning ticket holder was an overjoyed Jason Perry who said he has to learn how to play the instrument.  Mahalo nui loa Pedring for your kokua to Lana’i High!

A wooden pineapple clock award was presented to Jeff Whaley for his excellent photography work with the annual LACA reunions for the past twenty-one years.  This mahalo award was also bestowed on Mr. David Lebbey, VP & GM of the California Hotel & Casino for his years of kokua for the LACA reunion and a third award to Mrs. Susanna Kincaid, LACA director on Lana’i for her years of kokua and as one of the first organizing directors of the Lana’i Connection.

This year’s grand prize winner of the California Hotel’s five day stay was Kawailani Pelayo and the winner of the $100 dinner certificate was Ms. Karoline Sweet.

Mahalo to the California Hotel for their generous prizes!

Mahalo to Sue Damian for initiating and managing the Silent Auction.  Brand name items had a friendly bidding contest.  Later items were raffled off to lucky attendees.  All proceeds go directly to the LACA Scholarship Fund for Lana’i High School.  Scholarships are awarded at the annual May school assembly by the school administration.

Mahalo nunui to the Lana’i Invitational Golf Tournament alumni and friends for their generous donation to the scholarship fund.  All proceeds are mailed to the Lanai High School administration.

The luncheon ended with a group picture of all the attendees and a rousing rendition of the Lana’i Alma Mater.  Folks left with a smile and new memories with plans to attend next year with family, with classmates and with a story to share!

Mark your calendar for next year’s LACA Las Vegas luncheon scheduled for September 23, 2017, Saturday at the California Hotel.  The registration form is in this issue.  We note that prices have gone up accordingly with the hotel’s renovations and staff changes.  Start saving now and plan to be there.  Guarantee a memorable time with good food, good folks, good music and talk story!


William Olsen

Nona Minami
in memory of Robert Kinoshita

Natsuko Minami

Louise Kong

George T. Higa

Leroy Cabanilla

Colbert Matsumoto
in memory of Robert Kinoshita

The Alboro Family

Terri Pascua

Suzanne Damian

Monica Cockett

Ruth Nakasone

Lana’i Invitational Golf Tournament

LACA Board of Directors

And all who go unnamed for their
volunteerism and aloha for LANA’I.

In Appreciation…

Mahalo you all who contributed generously to the Silent Auction at the recent LACA Las Vegas luncheon on September 24 at the California Hotel.  All proceeds of the silent auction amounted to $446.00 which will be directly mailed to the Lana’i High School Scholarship Fund.  Unsold items were raffled off before the end of the event to several lucky folks.  A special mahalo to the Maria Alboro Family for their generous donation to the scholarship fund.

Mahalo nui loa to Pedring Dugay and his beautiful ukulele donation which he raffled off at the luncheon.  Pedring has generously donated his handcrafted ukuleles over the years with his raffle proceeds to the Lana’i High School scholarship fund.

Special mention to the annual Lana’i Invitational Golf Association who yearly donate their proceeds for the Lana’i High Scholarship Fund.  Mahalo nunui for your years of dedication to Lana’i High!

Many thanks to Mr. David Lebbey (Asst. VP & GM) and staff of the California Hotel for the annual first prize raffle of a 5 days/4 nights gift certificate and for the annual second prize of a dinner package to the Redwood Grill.  Also mahalo nui loa to Ms. Miranda Sierra, Catering Manager and her staff for their outstanding service and assistance. 

Mahalo hou for unselfish volunteerism, generosity and aloha at this year’s event.

    • Mrs. Terri Pascua, wife of Henry Pascua, Jr. (CO52) for her donation this year of the bright yellow & green crocheted luggage tags bestowed on each attendee.  Last year she donated all of the crocheted water bottle carriers and is busy planning a new item for 2017.  Terri is a proficient needle woman who teaches crochet classes in Honolulu.
    • Sue Damian who initiated and spearheads the annual silent auction for many years with kokua from her nieces Trudi and Karoline.  Sue carefully collects the items over the year from garage sales, huge store sales and donations to create an enticing silent auction table.  Check it out – you’ll be surprised at the hidden treasures.
    • Mrs. Ruth Nakasone, wife of the late Hideki Nakasone (CO51)created and donated the pineapple decorated notepads.  Ruth also serves as the current LACA board treasurer.
    • Marilyn and Norante Fernandez for their generous time in creating the yarn leis for this year’s luncheon.  They and the rest of the LACA directors had an enjoyable time learning how to make the yarn leis.  Norante made the most in the least time!  Both serve as LACA directors.
    • Monica Cockett and her two sons, Jason Perry and Lloyd Perry for creating the stunning centerpieces out of wood that depicted the island of Lana’i with a “tree” that held an array of handmade jewelry and flower hair pieces.  All of the handmade pieces were created by Monica from shells, kukui nuts, beads, fabric and other materials that made the centerpieces literally sparkle.  Mahalo hou to Monica, and her ohana for your generous donation of time, skills and creativity to enhance the LACA luncheon.
    • Jeri Iba and Marge Asato for manning the Registration Table and keeping folks organized.  The board is thankful for the smooth processing of registered attendees and directing folks to their luncheon tables.  Marge serves as the LACA Membership Committee contact.  Jeri is a long time volunteer and alumni with LACA activities.
    • Joy Enfield has for many years volunteered as our “security” and assisting folks at the luncheon.  Mahalo for your kindness.
    • Cheryl Kapua and Monica Cockett for being lei greeters at the luncheon.  Mahalo nunui!

The LACA board of directors thanks each and everyone for their aloha and kokua!

Class of 1958 Reunion Update

By Jeri Iba and Robert Viduya

The Class of 1958 was the honored guests of the Class of 1959 at their 75th birthday celebration reunion in Las Vegas on September 24, 2016.  Also, joining in the festivities was the Class of 1961 who gathered to celebrate their 55th class reunion.

For a brief moment in time, the combined Lana’i alumni was able to turn back the clock to yesteryear.  Everyone in thoughts and conversations touched on the days of our youth and what it was like growing up on Lana’i.  We reveled in the stories that have become more precious with the passage of time.

As part of this combined class reunion, each class presented their “Roll of Honor” with a list of deceased classmates.  We upheld the tradition of paying homage by announcing each departed classmate’s name.  We revered their memories and venerated their lives in thoughts of aloha.

It was obvious how much hard work and planning had been done for this occasion.  The program highlights included musical entertainment, door prizes, exchanges of gifts and mementos, delicious food, and other amenities.  All of this in a beautiful setting of decorations and creative centerpieces.

Now we approach that stage in life when we have more yesterdays than tomorrows and we are humbled by the distinction bestowed on us by the Class of 1959 and the Class of 1961 at this reunion.  It was a great alumni reunion!  Mahalo nui loa!

Classes 1959, 1961, and 1958 Reunion Update

Submitted by Gloria Obado Reyes

It was a celebration we’ll forever remember. Class of 1959 celebrated their 75th Birthday and Class of 1961 celebrated their 55th Anniversary since High School. Honored guest Class of 1958 and families joined in. Thank you, California Hotel & Casino for adding your special touch covering our chairs with white linen and blue bows that evening. Class of 1959 colors. A celebration with class! A fun Slot Machine Tournament was a smashing hit enjoyed by all that morning.


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Many thanks to everyone that helped to make our celebration a fun, nostalgic day. Mr. David Lebby, VP, GM California Hotel & Casino, Pedring Dugay, Sherry Ramaila, Carol Pajari, Carol Tamashiro Nunotani of Las Vegas Jerkys, Sue & Priscilla Obado, and Sharon Reyes. To ALL of our donators… much mahalo!

Class of 1966 Celebrated their 50th Reunion on Lana’i

A nostalgic reunion by the Class of 1966 was held in early September 2016 on the island of Lana’i.  Folks were inspired by being on island and shared many memories of growing up on Lana’i especially attending Lana’i High & Elementary from kindergarten to senior years.

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Sitting L to R: Ronnie Awa, Maureen Oyama, Patti Endo, Bobby Ruidas, Francine Lum, Lydia Miranda, Lorraine Funada, Lynette Suetos, Stella Agliam.
Standing L to R:  Kito Collado, Thomas Tamashiro, Vince Del Rosario, David Hubin, Ralph Black, Cecil Asuncion, Richard Morita, Troy Olsen, Richard Masicampo, Ronnie Tabura, John Dela Cruz, Gary Onuma.

RIP James Daguay, Dennis Del Rosario and Pearl Ah Ho.

Class of 1969 Updates


Front Row from Left:  Wade Tamashiro, Doug Cayan, Bruce Matsuura
Second Row from Left:  Bernie Tamashiro, Cathy Nohara, Karen Sakuma
Third Row from Left:  Joanne Niibu Zukeran, Sharen Hashimoto, Kathleen Endo, Coochie Tanodra, Luka Cayan

The small but mighty Class of 1969 (only 34 seniors) met over lunch at the 99 Ranch Market Food Court (O’ahu) on Saturday, October 22, 2016.  The luncheon highlighted their 47th year since graduation from Lana’i High & Elementary School.  Class trivia included their class colors of red and white with the red carnation as the class flower.  Their class songs were “The Road Not Taken” and “I’ve Gotta Be Me” directed by then music teacher, Mr. Arnold Meister.

Talk story memories were a blast from the past as many started together from kindergarten through high school.  Folks fondly remembered those who had “ua hala” (deceased) with the most recent this year being Donna Shin RIP.  Memories included a class hike up Munro Trail, beach days, picking pine, putting on school skits and school dances.  Like the song goes we “tried to remember!”

The class plans to meet again in early 2017 to discuss their 50th reunion in the year 2019.  Their last class reunion was on Lana’i in 2011 to celebrate their 60th birthday together.  Please send your updated email and contact information to or

Congratulations, Patrick Obado and Billye Cashman!

Congratulations! are in order for Patrick Obado and his wife Billye Cashman. Both retired at the same time in October. Patrick retired from Mid Pacific Steel, Inc. and Billye retired from Kamehameha Schools. I asked my brother if he will be traveling now… he said he does his traveling via The Discovery Channel. Sorry, Lance Nobui… although retired, still not going to be easy to get him to even attend LACA. Patrick thanks three teachers that laid the foundation toward his successful career: Mrs. Helen Fujii (Math), Mr. Stanley Oshima (Science), and Mrs. Molly Sakamoto.

Submitted by Gloria Obado Reyes