The West Maui community lost a leader in Don Aus, who passed away on Oahu last week.
A Celebration of Life for Aus will be held June 24 at the Pioneer Inn at 4 p.m. Organizers Fran Mitsumura and Joan McKelvey aren't sure if the quaint inn can fit all of Don's many Maui friends.
Joe Pluta of West Maui Improvement Foundation met Don in 1979, when he joined the Rotary Club of Lahaina.
"Everyone I know loved Don Aus. He always was ready with a joke to tell and had an excellent attitude and work ethic," Pluta said. "I have had so many wonderful times and memories with Don..."
Many in the community encountered Aus through Rotary, where he served as president, or through his accounting business.
"It seems that Don Aus was singularly responsible for over 50 percent of our Lahaina Rotary Club's new members," Pluta said.
Don, who embodied "Service above Self with a commitment to excellence," Pluta commented, led a campaign that surely saved lives in West Maui.
He suffered from heart disease (that ultimately took his life last week), and Don convinced friend and fellow Rotarian Al Kwiecinski to donate mobile defibrillators to the Maui Police and Fire Departments.
McKelvey and Mitsumura are planning the celebration of Don's life with heavy hearts, as he and his wife, Jane, are dear friends.
Pluta misses Don already.
"It seems to me that Don Aus will always be alive in the memories of all who were fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know him. He was a blessing to all, and while his memory will live on, his physical presence and active involvement in our lives will be sorely missed," he concluded.