Thursday, June 17, 1999

Roy Chong was a pioneer in officiating

The OIA's commissioner of officials, who
served the league for more than three
decades, died yesterday at 81

By Pat Bigold


Roy K.P. Chong, the no-nonsense commissioner of Oahu Interscholastic Association officials for more than three decades, died yesterday at the Kuakini Medical Center. He was 81.

Chong's death came after a series of strokes, the first of which came in December.

Chong graduated from Iolani in 1937 after playing halfback for two seasons on the varsity football team. He began his passion for enforcing the football rule book 21 years later when he volunteered to be an Interscholastic League of Honolulu referee.

In 1967, the OIA executive secretary, George Akahane, appointed Chong to head up the large public school league's officials' association. There was never again any question as to who was in charge of interpreting OIA gridiron rules.

"He demanded perfection in officiating," said Jim Beavers, who spent 27 years working under Chong and succeeds him as commissioner.

Elroy Chong, a physical therapist and former Rainbow quarterback who coached at Farrington and Iolani, described his father as a firm but fair man.

"You knew where he stood," said Elroy. "He meant so much to us because of his strength and the values he left us."

Chong's other son, Armand, is also a former football standout. He is a dentist and works as an assistant football coach at Iolani.

"My father was the backbone of our family," he said, "and he told us always to do our best at whatever we do. I admired him so much."

Asked why his father insisted upon working until the end, he heaved a sigh of admiration.

"He loved it. I know my mom would ask him if he shouldn't give it up, but my dad wasn't the type of man to quit."

Armand said he marveled at his father's boundless drive, even in his final years.

"He would help me and my brother with our businesses," he said.

Chong played in the 1930s for the legendary founder of Iolani athletics, Father Kenneth Bray.

"He carried on the principles that Father Bray taught him," said Armand.

Both Elroy and Armand excelled in high school and college football.

Beavers said Chong made it clear throughout his tenure that he never wanted the integrity of his officials called into question.

"He wouldn't stand any kind of gambling, not even betting for a cup of coffee," said Beavers. "You'd be suspended if he caught you.

"Another point he made to us was that you never communicate anything about a team to somebody else. If somebody said, "How strong are they?' You say nothing. You always hear accusations about games being fixed, but Roy was fiercely committed to making sure that no one could ever accuse one of his officials of being involved."

Beavers said that while Chong was always ready to scold an official for a sloppy call, he also stood behind his officials.

"He never stood for anybody trying to blackball an official," said Beavers. "If someone said, 'I don't want that guy at our game,' Roy would never back down. He was behind his guys all the way."

But Beavers said there were stipulations to his support.

"You didn't lie, you didn't try to shape the truth, and if you screwed up, you had to tell him early on. We had to call him at midnight if something went wrong at a rural field. If we didn't, he'd call us."

Beavers said Chong even wanted to know about injuries.

"I think that sensitivity could be traced to the fact that he had two boys who played the game" said Beavers.

He also said that Chong had no tolerance for disrespect on the part of coaches or officials during games.

"If you were ever sworn at, and he heard it and you didn't throw a flag, you were in big trouble," said Beavers.

Chong developed a system for training officials and also instituted rules clinics. Two months prior to the start of each season, he would have bi-weekly review sessions so that officials could become thoroughly familiar with the rule book and any amendments to it.

During the season, he would sit down every Monday to critique officials' performances.

Beavers chuckles when he remembers how demanding and meticulous Chong was about officiating.

"I was on the receiving end of his scoldings on a number of occasions in the early days," he said.

"It will feel different now that Roy is gone, but the key will be to maintain the quality. That's the legacy we will have to live up to."

Chong is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Akana, daughter, Arlene Pua Nani Lum Lee, his two sons, seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.


Bullet Frank J. Beatty, 80, of Kailua-Kona, formerly of Fort Wayne, Ind., a retired dispatcher for General Electric Co., died last Thursday in Kona Community Hospital. He was also a delivery man for Lani's Floral Shoppe. Born in Ohio, he is survived by sons Michael and Kim, daughters Sherry Glass and Deborah Beatty, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Services: 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Mokuaikaua Church on Alii Drive. Music by the Ohana Choir and Mokuaikaua Praise Team. Graveside services: 10 a.m. Tuesday at the church. Burial to follow. Casual attire. No flowers. Donations suggested to American Cancer Society-Kailua Kona Branch or the Kona Horseshoe Pitchers Club.

Bullet Dr. Leo Bernstein, 93, of Vancouver, Canada, former director of public health, died Friday in Vancouver, Wash. He was also Hawaii County health officer for the territorial Health Department in 1946. Born in Boston, he is survived by wife Claire, sister Sophie, daughter Faye Turner, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. No services.

Bullet Tereza A. Fernandez, 83, of Lanai City, died Sunday in Lanai Community Hospital. Born in the Philippines, she is survived by daughters Concepcion Coloma and Josefina Cauton; sons Dan, Generoso and Randolph; eight grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Call after 4 p.m. tomorrow at Lanai Sacred Hearts Church. Mass: 9 a.m. Saturday at the church. Burial: Lanai Cemetery. Casual attire.

Bullet Yoshio Horikawa, 86, of Lihue, a retired mill mechanic for Olokele Sugar Co., died June 6 in Queen's Hospital. Born in Makaweli, Kauai, he is survived by wife Kazue; sons Jerry Y., Clifford N. and Wayne T.; brothers Tadashi and Tatsuo Horikawa and Noburo Misawa; and six grandchildren. Private services.

Bullet Agnes K. Iwamoto, 85, of Mililani died Saturday in St. Francis-West Hospital. Born in Honolulu, she is survived by sons Roy K. and James M.; brothers Masaru Nakakura and Ken Kunichika; sisters Sumiko Okazaki, Leatrice Kawamura and Betty Koyanagi; five grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. Memorial services: 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Mililani Mortuary-Waipio, makai chapel. Call after 5:30 p.m. Private inurnment. Casual attire. No flowers.

Bullet John K. Kamauoha, 71, of Honolulu is survived by daughter Louise Haukoloa. She is also survived by six hanai grandchildren. Incorrect information for an obituary published yesterday provided by the mortuary.

Bullet James L. Kauwe, 67, of Waianae, a retired federal employee, died June 8 in Waianae. Born in Honolulu, he is survived by wife Viola; sons James Jr., Kenneth and Donald; daughter Yvonne Mamaril; brother Gregory; sisters Marie Choy Foo, Momi Florendo, Anna Lopez and Ramona Kauwe; and six grandchildren. Services: 1 p.m. Saturday at 85-1270 Kaneilio St. in Waianae. Call from noon to 3 p.m. Launching of boat: 9 a.m. June 26 at Waianae Boat Harbor for scattering of ashes.

Bullet Pauline H. Kong, 62, of Kahului, a retired caretaker, died June 7. Born in Wailuku, she is survived by companion William Blodgett, son James Zane, daughters Mary Farrar and Cindy Saffery, brother Stephen Kong, sisters Christine Teruya and Myra Lani Rivera, 10 grandchildren and eight grandchildren. Memorial services: 10 a.m. June 26 at Nakamura's Mortuary Chapel, 1218 Lower Main in Wailuku. Call after 9 a.m.

Bullet Richard H. Lee, 85, of Honolulu, a retired advertising executive for Myers Advertising Inc., died April 2. Born in Pleasantville, N.Y., he is survived by daughter Anne “Penny” Ennor, son Richard C. II, brothers Wilson Howell and John B., sister Mary Joe Crandall and four grandchildren. Memorial services: 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Holy Nativity Church. Aloha attire.

Bullet Bernardo C. Leybag, 89, of Waipahu, a retired barber, died May 31 in St. Francis-West Hospital. Born in Nueva Ecija, the Philippines, he is survived by wife Victorina “Vicky”; children Marie S. and Bernard Leybag Jr. and Leilani L. Ho; brothers Gregorio, Regidor and Severino Lebag; and eight grandchildren. Wake services: 7 p.m. tomorrow at Mililani Downtown Mortuary. Call from 6 to 9 p.m. Call again from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Saturday at Mililani Downtown Mortuary. Mass: 12:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Burial: Hawaiian Memorial Park. Casual attire.

Bullet Robert C. Manker, 45, of Waikoloa, Hawaii, a general contractor, died Tuesday at home. Born in California, he is survived by wife Marcia L. Goldman-Manker, daughter Sierra B., mother Katy, brother Steve, and sisters Marsha Kutz and Carol Little. Memorial services: 3 p.m. Sunday at United Church of Christ in Puako. Nonalcoholic potluck gathering to follow. Casual attire. No flowers.

Bullet Kenichi Mizushima, 85, of Lahaina, a retired Pioneer Mill welder, died Tuesday in Maui Memorial Hospital. Born in Lahaina, he is survived by wife Futae; son Robert; daughters Linda Kakuda, Alma Fujiwara and Diane Shinmoto; and six grandchildren. Memorial services: 4 p.m. Saturday at Lahaina Hongwanji Mission. Casual attire. No flowers.

Bullet Ki Hoon Moon, 70, of Kona, Hawaii, a retired proprietor of a grocery store, died Tuesday in Keauhou Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center. Born in Tae Chun City, North Korea, he is survived by wife Eul Soon Oh; son Sang Yoel; daughters Sunghee Damon, Myunghee Moon and Joung Hee Cho; and seven grandchildren. Memorial services: 1 p.m. Sunday at Kona Baptist Church. Casual attire.

Bullet Elsie O. Nunotani, 82, of Mililani, retired owner of Elsie's Florist in Wahiawa, died Saturday at home. Born in Hilo, she is survived by son Sherwood; daughters Faye Chinen and Patty Jean Yoshida; brothers San Diego, Joseph, George and Donald Watai; sisters Edith Ishizu, Sue Lee and Helen Watai; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Memorial services: 1 p.m. Sunday at Mililani Mortuary-Waipio, mauka chapel. Call after noon. Casual attire. No flowers.

Bullet Elizabeth A. Pang, 88, of Honolulu, a retired packer for Dole Cannery, died Friday in Kuakini Hospital. Born in Pearl City, she is survived by son Dennis; daughters Frances Miyasato, Daine Aiona and Elizabeth Maupin; brothers Howard Chung and Dennis Ako; sisters Nellie Barcenilla and Becky Doar; 15 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and seven great-great-grandchildren. Services: 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Borthwick Mortuary. Call from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Private inurnment. Casual attire. No flowers.

Bullet Augusta J. Ross, 95, of Honolulu, a retired secretary with Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association, died yesterday at home. Born on Kauai, she is survived by son W. James Jr., daughter Muriel Clifton, brothers Herbert and Richard Kiesel, sister Minna Carlson, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Private services.

Bullet George I. Sasaki, 97, of Kona, Hawaii, a retired coffee farmer, died Monday in Kona Community Hospital. He was also owner of Kona Poi Factory. Born in Kona, Hawaii, he is survived by daughters Helen Oldenburger, Doris Kakugawa, Betty Oshiro and Carol Macatiag; brothers Taketo and Larry; sisters Matsue Sasaki, Tsurue Matsuo and Shino Calonod; 13 grandchildren; and 22 great-grandchildren. Services: 3 p.m. Sunday at Kona Daikufuji Soto Mission. Call after 2 p.m. Inurnment at a later date. Casual attire. No flowers.

Bullet Louis G. Sochia, 63, of Honolulu, a former bed-and-breakfast inn owner, died June 6. Born in Waterville, Maine, he is survived by sisters Diane Couturier, Mary Lou Denis and Gloria Christie; brother David Sochia; and friends and caregivers Charles Litchfield and Thomas Towey. Private services.

Bullet Ruth Stanley, 90, of Lawton, Okla. and formerly of Honolulu died June 9. Born in Russia, she is survived by sons Robert and Ronald, sisters Minnie Hess and Ann Burke, 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Graveside services: 2 p.m. today at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl.

You can also search the Hawaii State Library System's
Hawaii Newspaper Index online for older obituaries at:
The index, which goes back several decades,
is available via Telnet software.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin