Obituaries for Sunday, July 6, 2008

• Bryan Baptiste

• Emilia Villanueva

• Maurice Catbagan

• Albert Lum


Bryan Baptiste

A tireless champion for his beloved Kaua‘i and her people, Mayor Bryan James Baptiste passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, June 22.

Thousands of people on Kaua‘i and throughout the state mourn the loss of this compassionate leader and thoughtful visionary, who has been referred to as “the people’s Mayor.”

Mayor Baptiste was born Oct. 15, 1955, to parents Anthony C. Baptiste and Eva (Gomez) Baptiste of Kapa‘a.

Raised on Kaua‘i, he graduated from Kapa‘a High School and moved to O‘ahu to attend the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

After earning a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from UH-Manoa, Mayor Baptiste was employed by the Muscular Dystrophy Association as program director from 1978-1979.

He subsequently accepted a position on Kaua‘i as station and island manager with Tropical Rent-a-Car and National Car Rental, where he remained until 1985. From 1985-1994, he owned a small floral business, Petals and Passions, in Kapa‘a.

In 1994, Mayor Baptiste accepted a position as manager of the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall, where he launched the successful Ho‘olokahi program. A partnership of volunteerism among community, government and business, Ho‘olokahi garnered the support of more than 10,000 volunteers in its first two years to restore, enhance and rebuild community following the ravages of Hurricane ‘Iniki.

In 1996, Baptiste was elected to the Kaua’i County Council, where he served three terms. As a councilman, he earned much respect for his role in implementing visioning sessions between the council and the administration of then-Mayor Maryanne Kusaka.

The visioning initiative was a collaborative process between the administrative and legislative branches of government, which allowed open discussion and a unified effort toward achieving goals and objectives for the people of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau.

On Dec. 2, 2002, Baptiste took the oath of office to serve the people of Kaua‘i as mayor, and was re-elected in 2006 for a second term in office.

His efforts for the past five years have focused on strengthening Kaua‘i’s communities, creating a bright future for our children and giving each resident of Kaua‘i a voice in county government.

The centerpiece of his administration, the Ka Leo O Kaua‘i program, allowed each of Kaua‘i’s 15 communities to gather regularly to identify their own priorities and projects, and enlist the support of county government so that each community could reach a high level of cohesion and self-determination.

Known as an extremely passionate, loyal, caring, thoughtful and generous man with a warm sense of humor, Mayor Baptiste devoted his life to service for his family, friends and community.

His greatest desire was to see Kaua‘i return to the days of his youth, when neighbors were like family and interactions were always infused with aloha.

One of his newest initiatives, which was in progress at the time of his death, had this goal, written by the Mayor himself:

“To refocus our community on our blessings and the gift of living here on Kaua‘i to achieve a oneness — a unity of spirit, of action, and of Aloha. To embrace our differences and celebrate our similarities.”

Mayor Baptiste leaves behind his loving wife, Annette (Asato); his four children Brandon (26), Heather (23), Lauren (20) and Preston (15); and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. today at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall. A celebration of his life will immediately follow in the convention hall auditorium. Aloha attire is suggested. Please note that flower delivery should be arranged for after 7 a.m. today.


Emilia Villanueva

Emilia Balanay Villanueva of Hanama‘ulu died June 28, 2008, at Straub Clinic & Hospital at the age of 74. Born Aug. 3, 1933, in Vintar, Ilocos Norte, Philippines, she was retired from Kauai Surf and Westin Kauai as a housekeeper.

She is preceded in death by husband Dionicio Villanueva.

She is survived by son Philip (Marlene) Villanueva and daughter Nellie (Leo) Bunao, both of Kapa‘a; sister Primitiva Agpaoa of the Philippines; grandchildren Ryan of Las Vegas, Tyler, Danielle and Bradley of Kapa‘a; and numerous relatives, nieces and nephews.

A celebration of her life will be held, beginning with viewing from 8 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. on Friday, July 11, at Immaculate Conception Church. Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at Kauai Memorial Gardens.

Kauai Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home is assisting the Villanueva family with arrangements.


Maurice Catbagan

Maurice Catbagan Sr. of Kapa‘a died June 29, 2008, at Garden Isle Healthcare Center at the age of 97. Born Sept. 27, 1910, in San Jan, La Union, Philippines, he was a retired carpenter.

He was preceded in death by wife Melchura Catbagan, daughters Delphina Haraguchi and Pacita Roldan, and his granddaughter Jennifer Cramer.

He is survived by sons Rudy (Val) Catbagan of Arizona and Maurice (Diane) Catbagan Jr. of Arizona; daughters Irene Williams of California and Leilani (Darryl) Cramer of Tennessee; nephew Joe (Paulette) Grace of Kaua‘i; niece Catalina Apilado of the Philippines; grandchildren Beverly Ames of California, Janes Duhonich of California, Jonathan Roldan of California, Debra Ventura of Kaua‘i, Andrew Catbagan of California, Christopher Catbagan of Arizona, Curtis Catbagan of Arizona, Corey Catbagan of Arizona, Kirk Williams Jr. of California and Jesse Cramer of Tennessee; great-grandchildren Elijiah Catbagan, Noelle Duhonich, Angela-Rhey Ventura, Kirk Williams III and Ashleigh Williams; and numerous relatives residing on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i.

Family and friends may visit with the family from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9, at Borthwick Mortuary Chapel in Koloa; prayer services will be held at 7 p.m. Cremation to follow. Casual attire is suggested.

Borthwick Kauai Mortuary is handling the arrangements.


Albert Lum

Albert Yuk Chong Lum died June 28, 2008, in Kilauea at the age of 85. Born June 15, 1923, in Manoa, O‘ahu, he retired from Hawaiian Electric Company as a control operator at the Kahe Power Plant.

He was preceded in death by parents Sing Hoy Lum and Lee Shee Lum; son Barney; and brothers Harry, Eddie and George Lum.

He is survived by wife Verdelle Peters Lum; sons Bruce Lum (Sharlene Chun-Lum) and Brent (Deborah) Lum; daughter Jade Haunani (Gary) Pacheco; brothers David and Gilbert Lum of Honolulu; sisters Arlene Lum and Thelma (Wai Kong) Wong of Honolulu and Clarice Lagrimas; nine grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and close friends.

Friends may visit with the family from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 12, at Wai‘oli Hu‘ia Church Cemetery. Visitors may bring a lei in the service for the tree of remembrance.

Borthwick Kauai Mortuary is handling the arrangements.

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