Former state Rep. Mele Carroll dies

Mele Carroll (Photo: State House of Representatives)

Former state Rep. Diana “Mele” Carroll has died.

The state House of Representatives confirmed she passed at 3:50 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, with her family at her side.

Memorial services will be held on Oahu, March 6, and on Maui, March 15. Click here for details.

Carroll represented Haiku, Hana, Kaupo, Kipahulu, Nahiku, Paia, Kahoolawe, Molokini, Lanai, Molokai, Molokini before stepping down Feb. 1 due to complications from previous cancer treatments.

She had been re-elected on Nov. 4, 2014 to begin her sixth term, representing the 13th House district.

“Mele was an outstanding representative of her district, and we will remember the results she achieved and the Aloha spirit with which she conducted her work,” said Gov. David Ige.

“It is a very sad day for the House,” said Speaker Joseph M. Souki. “Mele brought to the Legislature a vigorous desire to serve and deep love for Maui, Molokai and Lanai and Hawaii in general. She will be greatly missed by everyone here at the Capitol. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”

Carroll started her legislative career in 2005 when she received a phone call from then Gov. Linda Lingle in the first week of February to represent the 13th District in the State House of Representatives. At the time, she was working as the chief legislative liaison for Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

She served as the Chair of the House Committee on Human Services and as a member for the Committees on Health and Housing. During her tenure, she also served as the chair of the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus, and a member of the Women’s Legislative Caucus, Keiki Caucus, Kupuna Caucus, as well as the Historical Preservation Caucus.

Carroll’s community service includes serving on the following boards of non-profit organizations: past president of the Waikikena Foundation; past president of the Maui AIDS Foundation; past vice president for the Friends of Maui County Health Organization; past board director of the `Aha Ali`i Kapuaiwa O Kamehameha V Royal Order of Kamehameha II; past board director for the Maui Adult Day Care Center; member of the Aloha Festivals Maui Steering Committee; past board director of the Na Po’e Kokua; and Paia Youth & Cultural Center. She also served as the head coach of the Lahainaluna High School’s Girls Varsity Basketball team.

The former representative stated many times that serving the people of Hawaii and the 13th District was a “tremendous honor” that she would never forget, and spoke of her position and the people she serve with great admiration.

“I was deeply saddened to hear of Mele’s passing. She has been a tremendous friend for several decades now, having worked with her on the Council, on the Legislature, and especially as one of my Executive Assistants during my first mayoral term. She was a great advocate for the people of Maui County, and for the State of Hawaii. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with her family during this time of grief.” — Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa

“Our thoughts and condolences go out to Representative Mele Carroll’s family. On behalf of the Judiciary ohana, we thank Representative Carroll for her distinguished service to the people of Hawaii. She was a dedicated public servant, and a kind and caring person. She will be missed.” — Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Hawaii State Judiciary

“My heart goes out to Warren Carroll and all of the family, friends, and loved ones on the loss of Mele Carroll. While on listening tours to her East Maui district as House Majority Leader, I really got to know Mele. She came from generations of people who understood those special and sacred lands, loved them, protected them, and shared that knowledge with others. From her ‘Aunties from Hana’ who would call out to me, “hui, Manoa” to the warm, genuine welcome that greeted her wherever she went, Mele was truly grounded in her community. Her heart, soul, and aloha will be missed, and I will always fondly remember Mele Carroll.” — Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell

“My heartfelt condolences go to the ohana of former House of Representative Mele Carroll. As chair of the Human Services committee, she was a staunch advocate for people in need and loved representing the area she served. I will miss working with her on issues relating to our home, Maui County.” — Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui

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