COURTESY OF DODGE FAMILY
Members of the extended Dodge ohana pose with a wall photo taken by Fred Dodge at Makua Valley, where he has been active with the group Malama Makua. Standing from left are Vince Dodge and mother Aiko, Maile Shimabukuro, Karen Young and Fred Dodge. Kneeling in front of wall photo are Alyce "Tootsie" Dodge and Mark Hamamoto; in foreground are Anuenue and Daniel Dodge with baby daughter Koiahi and Maya Scimeca.
Family’s common cause is justice
Two marriages have increased the reach of these activist relatives
It was an unconventional childhood growing up in the Dodge household in the 1960s and '70s.
Almost every weekend there was a demonstration -- usually against the Vietnam War and for peace. Sometimes supporting low-income or native Hawaiian residents who were being moved by development.
But always, as family head Dr. Fred Dodge, 76, said, "for justice."
"It was a very interesting life growing up," said Francesca Dodge Bishop, 49, the oldest daughter in her father's first family of two girls and two boys, raised in Aiea and Alewa Heights.
A photograph from a March 31, 1972, peace march to Hickam Air Force Base shows a 14-year-old Francesca helping to hold a bamboo cross. Fred Dodge made the wooden map of Vietnam attached to it. Her brother Charlie, then 12, holds a string supporting the cross.
Walking behind with a banner is baby sister Alyce "Tootsie," then 10, and their mother, Aiko "Sparrow" Dodge.
"They were fearless of what the public thought and committed to what they thought was the right thing to do," Francesca said of her New Jersey-native dad and Japanese-native mom. The couple married in Tokyo while he was in the Army and moved to Hawaii after Fred Dodge got his family practice degree on the U.S. mainland.
Thirty-five years later, much of the family still enthusiastically participates in peace marches. Their other causes run the gamut from seeking to restore West Oahu's Makua Valley from decades of military use to quietly working to reconnect Waianae Coast youth with their Hawaiian heritage through farming education projects.
DIANA LEONE / DLEONE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Individualism runs high in the Dodge family. Here, Vince Dodge shows a poi-pounding board he made out of mango wood.
Fred and Aiko Dodge divorced in 1979, soon after he became medical director for the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center and moved to Waianae, where he has remained ever since.
Fred's second wife, Karen Young, whom he married in 1985, is a nurse practitioner at the health center and is active in women's and environmental health issues.
Young's daughters from a previous marriage -- Maile Shimabukuro, 36, and Summer Shimabukuro, 27 -- fell right in step with the Dodge family traditions of community activism.
Maile Shimabukuro is an attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii's Waianae office and since 2002 the state representative for Waianae.
Summer Shimabukuro is director of education for MA'O Farms, which gives youth hands-on experience with organic farming and supplies several top restaurants. Her sister Maile helped get a state grant for the program, which has connections to Waianae Intermediate School.
Stepbrother Vince Dodge also works for MA'O Farms. And Vince, who has a girlfriend on Maui, shares a house with Maile, who is engaged to be married.
"They're wonderful," Maile Shimabukuro said of her stepbrothers and sisters.
"All this activism they do -- it's very community service-oriented," she said. "And they're also a very nature-loving, artsy kind of crowd."
The Dodges are so connected with Hawaiian issues, some people are surprised that the family members don't have Hawaiian blood. Vince Dodge, who along with his siblings Charlie and Alyce speaks Hawaiian, said he figures that he became "part Hawaiian" by living on the land and paying attention to the culture.
Vince said he likes to call himself a "community developer."
"All of us care deeply about our home and our doing our little part to help create the Hawaii that our kids and grandkids would thrive in," he said of the siblings' different venues for community service.
"We're still friends," Fred said of first wife Aiko, who recently joined the extended family at an art show featuring works of artists depicting aspects of Makua Valley. Fred and Alyce both had work in the show.
With so much activism in the family, Alyce said she sometimes wondered whether her path as an artist was bold enough.
But she holds to a quotation from the late botanist Beatrice Krauss, who told her: "When you make or do something beautiful and share it with others, it's like a drop on the surface of a pond. The ripples spread to the farthest edge."