EARL GALDEIRA / 1926-2006
Longtime official enjoyed serving
Earl Galdeira will be remembered by some for the famous "tackle" he made in the 1970 Hula Bowl. But many others will first recall his longevity as a high school and college football official, as well as his involvement in many other areas of the community.
Galdeira, who was inducted into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame in 1996 for officiating, died yesterday at his Honolulu home. He was 79.
Galdeira suffered a series of strokes three years ago and never fully recovered, his wife, Frances, said. "He developed severe dementia," she said.
Earl Galdeira refereed hundreds of football games, including 28 consecutive Hula Bowls and college games on the mainland and in Japan.
In a 1970 game at Honolulu Stadium, a fan got onto the field, grabbed the game ball and tried to run away with it. Galdeira, who was 43 at the time, ran him down, tackled him, and retrieved the ball.
"Earl treasured that story," said longtime friend Les Keiter.
It wasn't a surprise that Galdeira was capable of such athleticism. He was a multiple-sport letterman at Kamehameha, where he graduated from in 1945. He then joined the Army and played service ball.
He worked at Hawaiian Tel most of his adult life and remained active after retirement.
Galdeira was a member of the Hawaiian Homes Commission, and on the board of the Honolulu Parks and Recreation department.
"He was a great friend and a wonderful community leader," Keiter said. "He'll be remembered for his role with youth and athletics."
Galdeira's favorite civic organization was the Honolulu Quarterback Club. He was the club's president several times and a longtime member of its board of directors.
He was also active in attaining recognition and college scholarships for Hawaii high school football players through the National Football Foundation.
"Earl's passing is a big loss to the Hawaii sports community," Hawaii High School Athletic Association director Keith Amemiya said.
"He was very community-oriented," Frances Galdeira said. "But (officiating) was his first love."
Earl Galdeira is also survived by five children and eight grandchildren.
A wake will be held Feb. 7 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Borthwick Mortuary. Aloha attire is requested. Burial will be private.