TGI letter writer dies

KALAHEO — Ray O’Flaherty says his son Daniel was the most open person he’s ever known.

“He was always facing challenges in one way or another and he always hoped there was light at the end of his tunnels,” O’Flaherty wrote in an email.

Ray found his 30-year-old son unresponsive on Nov. 9 at Daniel’s home in Haena.

“Daniel had so much potential, he was loved by so many people, and sadly he just could not see it or feel it enough to affect his life,” Ray said.

Though Daniel may have suffered from depression, Ray said he suspects his son’s death was an accidental overdose.

“I told him often I loved him,” Ray wrote. “We argued like friends and enemies and as dad and son. He was a good young man and he is already missed by many people and his family.”

Daniel wrote several letters to The Garden Island newspaper from 2010 to 2015. Topics he wrote about included gun rights, Kauai police, immigration and politics.

“He probably had somewhere between 10-20 letters published,” Ray said. “He was kind of controversial … and he had fun with the comments section afterwards. A lot of people know him from that.”

A 2004 graduate of Kauai High School, Daniel was born on Poipu Beach, Ray said.

Daniel enjoyed music, politics, skating and spending time with his family.

“He was looked up to by his two brothers and three sisters for many reasons, but he was also a riddle wrapped in an enigma and surrounded by dark and bright clouds,” Ray wrote.

Since Daniel’s death, more than 500 comments have been made on several posts about him on Facebook, Ray said.

“It’s unbelievable how many positive compliments are on his page,” Ray wrote. “If you met Daniel, he made an impression — whether it was big or little. He just couldn’t see that he was loved.”

A memorial for Daniel will be at 1 p.m. today at Kauai Christian Fellowship at Poipu.

A GoFundMe account — Dan O’Flaherty Kauai Memorial Fund — has been made by his family and had collected a little over $4,500 as of Saturday.

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