Kalaupapa resident was rights advocate
William Malo / Former Kalaupapa Sheriff
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WAILUKU » A former sheriff of Kalaupapa and an international advocate for the human rights of Hansen's disease patients has died.
William Malo of Kahului died June 24. He was 84.
Malo lived on Oahu with his grandparents and was in the 11th grade at McKinley High School when his mother discovered he had Hansen's disease.
He was sent to the Hansen's disease settlement in Kalaupapa in 1940 and was later joined by his sister and three younger brothers, who also suffered from the illness.
Malo was cured of the disease after treatment, including the use of sulfone drugs, but stayed at the settlement and became sheriff in the 1950s.
In 1965, despite damaged hands, Malo left the settlement to work for a construction company on Oahu and later moved to Maui to become a rancher.
His younger brother, Makia Malo, said William's courage to move out of the settlement helped him to eventually make the same decision.
"He was strong. He went out. He got a job and he did what he did," said Malo, who eventually earned a bachelor's at the University of Hawaii.
William Malo also worked with officials from the International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement, traveling around the world educating people about Hansen's disease and advocating human rights for its victims.
IDEA coordinator Anwei Law said Malo served as a speaker for the group's traveling exhibit in Hawaii and California, as well as foreign countries, including Belgium, Brazil, South Africa and China.
Law said Malo served as co-chairman of a panel at a conference in South Africa in 2005 about Hansen's disease and AIDS.
"He felt so strongly about being a part of it, he paid his own way. Bill was someone working to ensure that people understood Kalaupapa," Law said.
Law said she feels fortunate to have known Malo and others at Kalaupapa.
"There's a generosity of spirit at Kalaupapa. ... I think Bill epitomized this generosity of spirit."
Law said Malo also sponsored scholarships for a boy and girl in China who either were afflicted with the disease or whose parents were afflicted by it.
"He was a great person," Law said.
Public visitation takes place between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Borthwick Norman's Mortuary in Wailuku, followed by general services from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m., then services by Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Burial takes place at 1 p.m. at Valley Isle Memorial Park in Haiku.
Malo is survived by stepdaughters Susan Kauai, Paula Golden and Janet Carol Ryan; stepson Michael Ryan; and brother Makia.