Friday, June 28, 2002

Host of tributes will honor
respected sportsman

Jack Wyatt / Free-lance recreation writer


By Leila Fujimori

Former Star-Bulletin free-lance sports writer Jack Wyatt made a request years ago to waterman Nappy Napoleon: to have his ashes taken by canoe and scattered at sea, to return to the place he loved.

His wish will be honored July 13 off Hilton Lagoon.

After services at 8 a.m., a memorial run/walk from the Hilton Lagoon to Ala Moana Beach Park and back will be held in Wyatt's memory while his ashes are brought out to sea. A celebration of his life will follow.

Although known as a runner, Wyatt had a passion for sailing, which drew him to Hawaii because of its year-round sailing.

Wyatt, 71, was killed June 18 when Cline Kahue, 48, who has a history of mental illness, allegedly knocked him into the Ala Wai Canal as he was taking his daily walk, causing him to hit his head and drown.

Wyatt, originally from Oregon, served in the Navy and moved to Hawaii in 1957.

He was a familiar sight as he ran and, in later years, walked around the Ala Wai Canal.

Wyatt, a free-lance recreation writer for the Star-Bulletin for more than 25 years, endeared himself to many athletes, from runners to paddlers to swimmers, by spending time with and taking great interest in them.

Athletes have dedicated the Tinman Triathlon on July 14 and the Waikiki Roughwater Swim on Labor Day to Wyatt's memory, and the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association will offer a moment of silence for Wyatt at their Fourth of July Outrigger Canoe Races.

"I don't think there's a single club in our association that doesn't have fond memories of Jack asking questions and interviewing coaches and paddlers," said Joan Malama, past president of OHCRA.

"We've always enjoyed him, and we will miss him very, very much."

"Jack Wyatt was the kindest person I knew," said triathlete Linda Kaiser, who came to know Wyatt over the years.

He was a gentle man who never got angry or raised his voice, she said.

"He didn't always write about the winners," she said.

"Jack was always interested in people who won age groups, not just the overall winners."

He covered sports that were not always popular, said entertainer Audy Kimura, who got to know Wyatt through rough-water swims and marathons.

"He was nice to everybody that participated in the event, not just the stars or the elite group," he said.

Kimura was not only a friend to Wyatt, but a boyhood buddy of Cline Kahue, who attended Punahou School with him. He recalls Kahue as a gentle giant, handsome and athletic, but whose illness overtook him in midlife.

"You talk about your heart being torn in half in two different directions," Kimura said.

"I truly think that Jack would have forgiven him."

Kimura recounted a story of how Wyatt was hit by a car while out running, got up, indicated to the motorist he was fine, then went on his way.

"Talk about someone without a mean bone in his body," Kimura said.

"That's the real mark of a great human being: to be considerate before you consider your own anger."

Hannie Anderson's memories of Wyatt go back 40 years when he was a big, strapping guy who wore a suit and tie to work at Hawaiian Airlines where he was a sales representative.

"But he moved on to greater things," she said. "I guess he wanted to be in shorts and tank tops."

Most of Christine Wyatt's memories of her dad are of him sailing, which is how she got involved in the sport.

"Running came later in life when he became very interested in his health and his lifestyle," she said.

After a difficult divorce in 1974, he went through a life change for 10 years and began to cover different sports, she said.

"It enabled him to be outside, to see people, and that really helped him," she said.

Wyatt is also survived by daughters Cheryl Ferreira, Jackie Greene and Jonnel Wyatt; brother Gordon Wyatt; and sister Virginia Godbey.

E-mail to City Desk


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