Trinidad funeral attracts hundreds


POSTED: Monday, February 23, 2009

Those are the words Corky Trinidad wants you to recall when you think of him. He was a simple man, generous and kind, his friends and family say.




I'm not anyone, no not just anyone
        I have the right to lead a life fulfilled with every need
        I'm not any man designed to fit someone's plan
        I have my own desires: all the things a man aspires

—“;I'm Not Anyone”; by Paul Anka




And he loved his job as the editorial cartoonist over the past 40 years at the Star-Bulletin.

“;I'm so grateful that Corky had so many friends,”; his wife, Hana, said yesterday. “;I don't know how to thank them, but I hope they know. He's such a simple man. He has already spread his legacy by encouraging young kids. It really helps to know that so many people cared about him.”;

More than 300 family members, friends and past and current colleagues—even those he poked fun at in his cartoons—attended Corky's funeral yesterday.



”;Corky”; Trinidad

In an intimate chapel at the Newman Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, family members and friends said prayers for Francisco Flores Trinidad Jr., nicknamed “;Corky,”; who died Feb. 13 at age 69 from pancreatic cancer.

The church was decorated with wooden panels with carvings of Jesus that Corky designed.

“;This is Corky's chapel,”; joked Father John Chandler.

There was a short eulogy by Chandler, but no other speeches.

Corky wanted it that way, his family said.

Journalists, government officials and friends old and new crowded into the room to honor the Star-Bulletin staple, widely know for his engaging and at times maddening editorial cartoons. The event reunited many former colleagues from the Star-Bulletin.

“;He was, from the start, very good and very generous,”; said Chuck Frankel, who worked at the Star-Bulletin when Corky was hired and was at one time the news editor. “;He was talented and gracious and remained that way.”;

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie said Corky even had an impact on President Barack Obama. Abercrombie gave Obama a cartoon Corky had drawn that compared the then-presidential candidate to a Hawaiian monk seal because of the tight security surrounding his vacation last year.

“;The president just loved it. He thought it was just perfect,”; Abercrombie said after Corky's funeral. “;Corky always cut through the heart of the issue, but he never tried to cut anybody up. You couldn't help but laugh at yourself even when you were a part of it.”;

Two of Corky's close friends, Hank and Diana Zuschlag of California, remember him for his warmth and kindness.

“;Every time he came over, we would laugh and laugh and laugh,”; said Diana Zuschlag, who along with her husband flew to Honolulu for Corky's funeral. “;He didn't have the air around him like how some popular people can. We feel so blessed to have met him.”;

Corky had a couple of special requests: His daughter, Pia Trinidad-Sprague, sang “;Wind Beneath My Wings,”; and the funeral closed with the song by Paul Anka recorded by Sammy Davis Jr.

“;When I first heard it, I just started crying because it's just like my dad,”; said Trinidad-Sprague. “;It just describes him so well.”;

His wife added, “;When people ask me to describe my husband, I get so emotional. The song that he chose just describes him perfectly, and I'll let that speak for itself.”;

And so it ends:

I'm full of pride I suppose
I'll say it loud: I am proud
And I'll not, I'll not be a space
And no one a number, a face
No sir, not me
Can't you see
I am free