BROTHER FRANKLIN PAO / 1935-2007
Marianist promoted Hawaiian culture
Brother Franklin Pao brought his Hawaiian culture into public and private gatherings, sought as a chanter to open ceremonial events at churches and convention halls and to offer a blessing for the opening of a home, business or movie set.
He joined the Society of Mary, a Catholic religious order that founded Saint Louis School and Chaminade University, in 1954 and worked in several positions in California before returning to Hawaii in 1982. Once home, he immersed himself in Hawaiian studies at Chaminade and graduated from the University of Hawaii Hawaiian Studies Program.
"He believed that Marianist spirituality and Hawaiian spirituality go well together because of our emphasis on ohana, on hospitality, on sacredness. All of those things fit in so well," said Marianist Brother Dennis Schmitz.
Pao, 72, died Oct. 12 at his Chaminade residence. He had been registrar at Saint Louis School for 21 years until his retirement in 2006.
Schmitz said Pao was a mentor to people interested in joining the religious order or its community of lay members. "He would emphasize to them, 'Don't lose your culture. Bring the values of your culture and your religion together.'"
In May, the four Hawaiian royal societies presented Pao with a Kalani Alii award, recognizing his contributions to the advancement of Hawaiian culture. He was member of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I and in 1988 was named kahuna nui, the highest ranking chief, said William D. Souza, a leader in the Honolulu chapter.
Souza said, "He brought to our order a sense of unity. When there are different points of view among us, he would try to have us make peace with each other. He cared that we do things right, be pono, not be mean to each other."
Pao was graduated as a kumu hula under the tutelage of John Keola Lake, and was a kahuna of the Puu Kohala Heiau on the Big Island.
Pao was born in Honolulu.
He is survived by his mother, Mabel G. Pao; brothers Nicholas R. Jr., Carl R., Bruce R. and Jeffrey-Paul R. and sister Winifred R. Reed.
A wake will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at Mystical Rose Oratory on the Chaminade campus, with a 6:30 p.m. service by Hawaiian organizations and an 8:30 p.m. remembrance by Halau Mele, of which Pao was kumu hula.
A funeral Mass will be said at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Anthony Church, 148 Makawao St., Kailua. Friends may call after 9 a.m. Burial will be at 1 p.m. in Hawaiian Memorial Park.
The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the Saint Louis School Hawaiian Studies Program.