Former legislator believed in public service


POSTED: Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Former state Rep. Ted Mina, an ordained Baptist minister before his conversion to Catholicism, had one constant throughout his adult life.

“;Public service or community service was just second nature to him,”; said his daughter Joyce Oliveira.

Mina, who served the Kalihi area in the state House of Representatives for two terms after his election in 1976, died Sunday. He was 74.

Born Oct. 22, 1934, of Filipino immigrant plantation workers, Mina was raised in Waialua and attended the Baptist church. It was there that he received encouragement to pursue a theology degree at Yankton College in South Dakota, which he earned after his schooling at Mid-Pacific Institute.

Mina converted to his wife Geri's Catholic faith in order to raise their family under one religion, Oliveira said. They were married 49 years.

Mina ran for office several times before succeeding, Oliveira said. She recalled her father losing the election prior to 1976 by just 15 votes.

Former state Sen. Norman Mizuguchi, who was elected in 1974, served with Mina in the House and remained a friend for more than 40 years.

“;I was very saddened to learn of the passing of Ted Mina,”; he said.

“;Ted, who was really community-oriented, worked very hard for his community until his passing,”; Mizuguchi said, adding that he remained politically active even after he left office.

Oliveira said she could not remember a time when her father was not involved in public or community service, and he got his entire family involved, too.

Mina was a former board member of the Kalihi Young Men's Christian Association, worked as district chairman for the Democratic Party's Kalihi Valley precinct, organized a Kalihi Valley political action group and was involved in the Knights of Columbus and Our Lady of the Mount Catholic Church.

Mina is also survived by daughter Desiree Calistro and son Timothy Casabar.

A service will be held at 7 p.m. March 27 at Nuuanu Memorial Park and Mortuary, 2233 Nuuanu Ave. Public viewing is at 5:30 p.m.

Burial service will be March 27 at Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa, 712 N. School St.; viewing at 9:30 a.m.; Mass, 11 a.m.; and burial to follow at Hawaiian Memorial Park in Kaneohe.