Monsignor loses battle with cancer

Charles Kekumano
1919 - 1998

A public servant for many years, he most recently co-wrote 'Broken Trust'

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Monsignor Charles Kekumano, retired Roman Catholic priest and chairman of the Queen Liliuokalani Trust who helped to write a scathing essay criticizing the Bishop Estate, died today.

Kekumano, 78, was diagnosed in September with cancer that had spread to his lungs.

He was one of five authors of the "Broken Trust" articles that were first published in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on Aug. 9 and which sparked the current attorney general's investigation into the operations of the country's largest charitable trust.

Kekumano died at 9:10 this morning at St. Francis Hospice.

At his side were Gladys Brandt, former principal at Kamehameha Schools and another co-author of "Broken Trust"; retired Honolulu Police Chief Francis Keala and his wife; and Ambrose Rosehill and his wife.

When his cancer was announced last fall, Kekumano said he wasn't going to let the illness curtail his hectic schedule.

"Broken Trust" co-author Randy Roth said then: "Everyone should have a hero and he's one of mine. He's someone I admire greatly, and I hope someday I'll have one-tenth the wisdom and graciousness he has."

Kekumano was born in Napoopoo near Kona on the Big Island in 1919. He graduated from St. Louis High School in 1937, and attended seminaries in Santa Barbara and Menlo Park, Calif.

Kekumano was ordained at Our Lady of Peace Cathedral and elevated to monsignor by Pope John XXIII in 1961.

In 1994, St. Louis High inducted him into its Gallery of Distinguished Achievers.

Kekumano had served as chairman of the board of the Liliuokalani Estate and has served on the Honolulu Police Commission, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and the Aloha United Way board.

Four years ago Kekumano was one of 11 members named by the Hawaii Supreme Court to screen applicants for the lucrative job of Bishop Estate trustee.

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