Friday, September 17, 2004


Father’s patience
reflected in
daughters’ beauty

Manoa resident Dennis Dung always told his children to do their best and to never take life too seriously.


Dennis Dung: Father of three isle beauty queens met wife when they were both 13 years old

"He was such a wonderful, wonderful man," said daughter Denby, who was crowned Miss Hawaii 2001. "He was patient, kind and encouraged us to be who we wanted to be."

Dennis Quan Keong Dung, father of three beauty queens, died at the Queen's Medical Center of pancreatic cancer on March 27, 2003. He was 62.

Inurnment service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The service is being held at this time because of a lack of niche space at the cemetery at the time of Dung's death.

Dung obtained a bachelor's degree in business administration, a professional certificate in business education and a master's degree in educational psychology. While he studied toward his master's degree, Dung served as the assistant director for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education program.

In 1967, he joined the Hawaii Air National Guard and retired as a master sergeant after almost 34 years of service.

Family members described him as a strict yet loving father who was always optimistic and had a quick-witted sense of humor. "He was always there. He was a wonderful listener. He loved being around people," said Annette, Dung's wife of 42 years.

The couple first met when they attended Stevenson Intermediate School. "We were 13 years old when we met," said Annette. "It was almost 52 years of friendship."

For 27 years, Dung worked as a special education teacher at Kailua High School. He enjoyed hunting, martial arts, fishing and taking summer trips with his family. Dung and his wife were also friends of the late martial artist Bruce Lee. "He always taught us to never give up. He was never a quitter," said daughter Darah Dung.

"He was a man of few words but when he spoke, he always said something significant," said Denby.

The couple's only son, Dean, described his father was family oriented. "He taught me that family always came first," said Dean, who resigned as an officer from the Honolulu Police Department after his father died to take care of his mother and sisters. He is now studying criminal justice at the University of Hawaii.

Dung was also supportive of his three daughters who collectively won several pageants.

Denby and Dana-Li Dung in 2001 were the first sisters to compete at the same time for the title of Miss Hawaii. The youngest sister, Darah, was crowned Miss Hawaii Teen 2000, Miss Kauai 2002 and the local and national title of Miss Chinatown 2003. Dana-Li was crowned Miss Petite Hawaii USA 2002, Miss Kauai 2003 and Miss Chinatown 2004.

"He taught me more than I could ever learn from a book," said Dana-Li through a phone interview from San Francisco. "He had a presence that I can't even explain."

Dung died on Dana-Li's birthday. "I now think of it as our day," said Dana-Li. "I think about him every day, but more so on that day."

Dung also is survived by mother Nancy; sisters Billie and Patsy and brother Dixon.



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