Video by David Corrigan, Voice of Stephanie Salazar
HILO, Hawaii: A celebration of Life was held for the late Helene Hilyer Hale at the Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo this weekend. She died on Feb. 1st in Hilo at the age of 94.
During her life, Hale defied the gender barrier and became an inspiration to generations in Hawaii.
Her influence reached the highest levels of government. Flags were ordered to fly at half-staff in her remembrance from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, the same day the celebration was held.
She was even honored by written statements from current U.S. Senator from Hawaii, Brian Schatz, and the president of the United States himself. Barack Obama’s letter was read by Marlena Castro Dixon, Schatz’ new field representative.
The evening was filled with fond recollections and musical tributes.
Hula Halau o Kawananakoa danced in Hale’s honor.
Hale’s niece and nephew, Barbara Hilyer and John Daggett gave the introductions… Barbara told the story of Helene’s life.
There were also numerous dignitaries on hand, who each shared their own histories and inspirations with Hale.
Retired journalist Hugh Clark spoke of the leader from the perspective of a news paper writer.
While the former state president of the League of Women Voters, Sue Irvine, explained how Hale was an advocate for democracy.
Then there were the representatives of Hale’s newly established legacy… such as the Helene Hale Scholarship Fund to be administered by the University of Hawaii Hilo.
Or the public history initiative, which will be archiving Hale’s public papers.
At the close of the evening, everyone joined hands, singing Aloha Oe… people from around Hawaii and beyond, united by their love and admiration for one of Hawaii’s most inspiring figures.