Tuesday, February 9, 1999

Hawaii’s ‘oldest’
man dies on Maui
at age of 112

Elario Questas served in
both world wars and lived alone
in a rural shack for 50 years

By Gary Kubota


WAILUKU -- Elario Questas, reportedly the oldest man in Hawaii and a veteran of both world wars who lived alone in a rural shack in west Maui for a half century, has died of chronic heart failure. He was 112.

"He was a spiritual man. He taught us to listen to God," said Dan Brockmann, a Honokohau Valley resident who lived near Questas.

"He liked rice and tuna, rice and sardines, mixed them up. He liked Carnation milk with vitamin D; he'd drink one of those every day."

Questas died Friday at Maui Memorial Hospital.He kept fit well into his 90s, riding a bicycle several miles between Honokohau Valley and Lahaina.

On his rides, he frequently wore a pointed army hat from World War I.

"He would cross the stream to get to his home across the road," recalled Edwin Lindsey Jr., who was raised in west Maui.

He lived a simple life and cooked his meals outside his home, using wood on an open fire.His secret to long life was no secret to those who knew him.

"He was a very religious person," Lindsey said. "He said his good friend is God."

Honokohau couple Dan and Jan Brockmann helped to care for Questas in his waning years and drove him into town.

Questas was born on Luzon island in the Philippines in 1886, when Grover Cleveland was in the White House and King David Kalakaua ruled Hawaii from Iolani Palace.

Brockmann said Questas came to Hawaii after being promised free rent, free water and $20 a month in plantation wages.

He worked in the sugar and pineapple fields in Hawaii and the Kona coffee fields before making his way to Maui, where he began working for Pioneer Mill in 1914.

In 1937, Questas began growing taro for the Ah Sing Chun family in Honokohau.Family members allowed him to live on the land for his labor, and he stayed for more than 50 years.

Questas had no immediate family and will be buried Feb. 20 in Hale Lana Church cemetery in Lahaina.

Mark Ballard, owner of Ballard Family Mortuary, said Questas was the oldest man in Hawaii at the time of his death.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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