Friday, November 16, 2001

Loyal Garner, 55, dies

Singer passed away last night
at Queen's Hospital

By Tim Ryan and Rosemarie Bernardo

Loyal Garner, Hawaii's Lady of Love, an entertainer known for her compassion and kindness, died at about 7:30 last night at Queen's Medical Center.

"She left a legacy of love," her friend Carole Kai said.

Garner, 55, was selected Female Vocalist of the Year in the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in 1982 for Loyal and in 1993 for I Shall Sing.

In recent years, Garner teamed with Kai, Melveen Leed and Nohelani Cypriano to form a group called "Local Divas."

Singer Loyal Garner passed away in Queen's Hospital.

"We really lost a legend in the islands. She did the kind of music that touched people's hearts," Cypriano said.

Cypriano described Garner as the mother of Local Divas. While hospitalized, "she still designated what she wanted us to do."

Kai was at her bedside last night, as was Garner's longtime companion and manager, Janice Ukauka.

It was a quiet passing and peaceful, Kai said. "She could've hung in there a bit longer, but she had been in pain and Janice said everyone would be OK."

Garner was first diagnosed with colon cancer in January 2000. Though the singer thought she beat her illness, it returned a year later. Garner underwent a second surgery in July.

Garner's nephew, Paka Smith, a producer for MGC Records, said his aunt inspired many people musically, including family members.

Known for her Hawaiian ballads, as well as her jazz and country songs, Garner entered the music business in the late 1960s. She traveled around the world, performing in places from Carnegie Hall to Tokyo.

A Nov. 29 concert to raise money for Garner's medical expenses called "This One's for You Loyal" will go on as scheduled at the Sheraton Waikiki. Family and friends said the concert will be a tribute to Garner.

"There is no doubt in my mind she is going to be there," said Cypriano.

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