Lawmaker considers state takeover of neglected Pearl City cemetery

A Pearl City cemetery is under investigation by the state and now a state senator says she might call for the state to take it over.

Last week, KHON2 reported about the problems at Sunset Memorial Park. The grass was waist-high and relatives of those buried there said it was difficult to find the grave markers of their loved ones. It appeared that the place had not seen a lawn mower for several months.

But on Tuesday, Sunset Memorial sported a new look. A resident who lives nearby said a crew came over the weekend and cleaned up the cemetery.

KHON2 tried once again to speak to Pastor Lagofaatasi Dozinn, who is listed by the state as president of the cemetery and lives down the road, near Leeward Community College. Once again, he could not be found.

Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland (D-Liliha, Kalihi, Nuuanu, Pauoa, Downtown) says she would consider introducing a resolution in the next legislative session to have the state add Sunset Memorial Park to its list of four currently state-owned cemeteries.

The last time the state took over a cemetery was back in 1946.

“I believe if the public is very interested in this, I’d be happy to introduce it,” said Chun Oakland.

Annette Fowler would be happy just to find her parent’s grave sites at Sunset Memorial. She has a contract to prove her parents, John and Agnes Sedino, bought the plots in 1957 and paid a little more than $600 to be buried together there.

Recently, she and cemetery workers tried — and failed — to find the grave markers.

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“They helped me look for them, but they couldn’t find them,” said Fowler. “(I feel) really bad, because we have memorial days and stuff and I want to take flowers to them, and I can’t.”

The state now owns four cemeteries, all on Oahu, in Aiea, Kapalama, Alewa Heights and Makiki.

The state has set aside $42,000 to maintain all four sites. State work crews go to each of the four cemeteries once a month to cut the grass.

Fowler’s family wants her to join them in California, but she insists on not leaving Hawaii until after she says goodbye to her parents.

When asked just how long she was willing to stay in Hawaii, Fowler said, “As long as it takes. As long as it takes, I’ll stay here… but if God’s willing, I will probably find them.”

The state Dept. of Commerce and Consumer Affairs regulates cemeteries. If you have any complaints or concerns, call Daria Loy-Goto, the department’s complaints and enforcement officer, at 586-2666.

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