Composed TGI composer ends tour

LIHU‘E — Domi Alayvilla will be celebrating his birthday Saturday.

“I’m giving myself a present,” said Alayvilla, a veteran of The Garden Island newspaper’s composing department for nearly 44 years. “I’m going to retire. My last day is Friday, and Saturday I celebrate my birthday.”

Nancy Fontanilla, Domi’s sister, said he was the seventh child of Rufino and Juliana Alayvilla, born just three days after his mother and four siblings arrived on Kaua‘i from the Philippines.

“Dominador Alayvilla has been a quiet fixture at The Garden Island newspaper since I started by career there more than three decades ago,” said TGI former editor Rita DeSilva. “We discovered we had a cosmic connection. He and my husband Wayne were born on the same day and their moms were in the same hospital room. There were so many parallels in their lives, it was more than just coincidence; it was astounding.”

Growing up in Hanama‘ulu, Domi attended Hanama‘ulu Elementary School, graduating to Kaua‘i High School, where he was a track standout and filled his summers working at the Lihu‘e Plantation, the last remnants of which — its mill — are being disassembled on Haleko Road after discovery of high levels of asbestos.

Following his graduation as a Red Raider, Domi attended Kaua‘i Community College, juggling between his college career and working at the former Kaua‘i Surf Hotel, now known as the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

The U.S. Army beckoned him following his graduation from KCC and he went off to serve a tour in Vietnam, returning to his job at TGI.

“Domi has been a constant, competent, committed employee at the newspaper throughout his long career,” DeSilva said. “He has been respected and admired by many of our publishers and middle management for his dedication and competence. The Garden Island newspaper is fortunate to have had him for so long.”

Alayvilla, anticipating his birthday, said in July he would have made 44 years of service to the newspaper, more recently being involved in the creation of the weekly grocery ads for Ishihara Market, Sueoka Store and Kojima Store.

“He had an intimate relationship with food,” said Sherry Olkonen, a co-worker with Alayvilla who recently retired. “He has always done the typesetting for all the grocery ads. Several years ago, he spent most of his time on a weekly full-page Star Market ad and a twice-weekly four-, eight-, or 12-page Long’s Drugs ad. When these stores went to electronic ads, he worked on Big Save and the ads for Sueoka Store, Kojima Store, Kukui‘ula Store and Ishihara Market each week. He has seen many changes over the years, having experienced the transformation from the old ways of newspaper production to the computerized product we have today.”

Olkonen said all the local grocery store managers knew Domi and appreciated his accuracy and attention to detail in their ads.

“It’s been a pleasure working with you all these years,” said Glen Kojima and the staff of Kojima Store in Kapa‘a. “Spread your wings and unfurl, discover and experience all that you seek.”

Carmen Centeno, a former TGI employee, added, “Make sure you work just as hard at relaxing as you have in your long career.”

With the reality of retirement staring him in the face, Alayvilla and his wife of 42 years, the former Carol Cataluna, another Kaua‘i High School alumni, will now have time to indulge in one of his hobbies of visiting “the 9th Hawaiian Island — Las Vegas,” where his three grandchildren, Alyssa, Brandon and Aubree Alayvilla reside. He and Carol have two sons.

He also enjoys working in his yard and garden while not attending most of the high school sporting events, punctuating these activities with a healthy helping of his own boiled peanuts.

Another of his favorite pastimes is the Saturday night gatherings with the ‘Ohana at the family home in Hanama‘ulu with his “Mama Lucy Delites.”

Fontanilla said Domi is known as “Uncle Rainbow” to his grandneices and -nephews because of his colorful attire at family picnics at Nawiliwili. He also has beautiful aloha shirts and is always the best-dressed at family functions, she said.

The ‘ohana is at the center of Domi’s universe, and he is quick to share the achievements of the ‘ohana, whether it be catching a nice ulua or just because they were having a great family gathering.

As Domi heads to the world of more time with the ‘ohana, he still laments the heavy rains which innundated Kaua‘i in March.

“Peanuts,” he said quietly, looking up from working on his Ishihara Market weekly grocery ad. “Peanuts. We had to buy from Foodland because the farmers still no mo’.”

One of his weekly errands was the run to the Monday Market at Kukui Grove, where he would purchase $30 worth of “jumbo” peanuts from Elmer’s Farm.

“I boil ‘em,” he said. “They’re good eating, but the rains ruined the crops and they still haven’t come back, so gotta get some from Foodland. It’s not the same.”

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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