Family, lawmakers honor late Sen. Gil Kahele in Senate chamber

A memorial was placed at Sen. Gil Kahele's Senate seat

A moving tribute took place at the State Capitol in honor of late Sen. Gil Kahele, D, Hilo.

The senator died Tuesday morning, surrounded by family at Queen’s Medical Center after being hospitalized last week for undisclosed medical reasons. He was 73 years old.

A public memorial was held in the Senate chamber Wednesday, where visitors could sign a condolence book.

Kahele’s family was also in attendance. His son, Kai, described him as a history buff who “would often read famous speeches by famous leaders in our country.”

One of his favorites was by Gen. Douglas MacArthur: “Today marks my final roll call with you, but I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the Corps and the Corps and the Corps. I bid you farewell.”

“(Kahele) was a good man,” said Sen. Sam Slom, R, Diamond Head, Hawaii Kai. “The best thing we can do to honor dear, departed colleague is to do the things he did — not the words, not what he said, but what he did. A living example.”

Kahele was appointed to the Senate in 2011 by then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie, and was elected the following year to represent Hilo.

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