SPECIAL MEMORIAL COVERAGE
Love and applause fill final aloha for beloved entertainer
DON HO'S last performance, held at Waikiki Beach yesterday, was pretty much in the vein of all his other performances -- a simple, straightforward service for his friends and family, and spectacular, heartfelt entertainment for the rest of the world.
Ho, who died April 14 at age 76, ironically was done in by heart failure -- his fans testified by their presence that Ho was a big-hearted "uncle" who always had a kind word and an extra minute.
The private service, held beachside at the Sheraton Royal Hawaiian, was marked by Christian and Hawaiian hymns, as well as a military honor guard provided by Hickam Air Force Base. Ho, an Air Force command pilot in the 1950s, went out of his way to salute veterans in his shows. A Hawaii Air National Guard jet honored him with a flyover at Waikiki Beach.
Ho's post-military career as a Waikiki entertainer made him the most-recognized Hawaiian in the world, a reign he has held for half a century. One of his accomplishments was to help create a modern, jazzy groove for Pacific music, which was in full swing at the Queen's Beach musical celebration of his life last evening. Don Ho died as he lived, to the sound of heartfelt applause.