Family of Lanai crash victim Kathleen Kern speaks out

Family photo of Kathleen Kern

Full Story: 3 dead, 3 injured after plane crashes on Lanai

The family of another Lanai crash victim is speaking out about the tragedy.

Kathleen Kern was one of three people killed when a Maui County chartered plane crashed on Lanai Wednesday night. She was 50 years old.

Family members say they are devastated with the news of her death. “We are in shock at this tragic news,” her brother, Kenneth, a retired physician who has lived and worked in Honolulu for more than 35 years, said in a statement.

According to Kern’s family, Kern was born in Vancouver, Canada as the youngest of eight children and fell in love with Hawaii at an early age. She moved to Hawaii and began working in Maui’s planning department in 2009. “Kathleen was passionate about urban planning from a very young age and believed that public spaces were critical to the functioning of communities,” Kenneth said. “She had a particular interest in the process of planning and the involvement of the community in that process.”

Kern’s former sister-in-law, Nancy Kern, says Hawaii was a perfect match for her. “She really seemed to love her work,” she said. “She loved Hawaii. She was a surfer, she was a swimmer, a very athletic young woman.

“It was just so hard to believe that somebody with that passion and that energy and that commitment was now gone,” Nancy Kern said. “We still can’t believe it and it’s just a huge loss.”

Nancy also said Kern enjoyed spending time with her nieces and nephews. “They loved her,” she said. “She loved them and they are going to miss her so much as well.”

Kern’s family members own an interest in a condominium in Maui and are frequent visitors to the island.

Kern had several degrees, including a BA from Trent University, a masters degree from York University and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She was a PhD candidate from University of Washington.

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