KAANAPALI - The sign on the door in the J-Building condominium high above Whalers Village gets your immediate attention right away. "Caution: Oxygen in Use."
Inside, family and friends, including first wife Pam and a hospice worker to help, sat alongside the architect who played a central role in restoring historic Lahaina. In bed in the living room, he made his last stand.
Uwe Schulz ("Voices of Maui," Dec. 29) - chief onsite architect for the construction of Whalers Village, indispensable restorer of Lahaina's Seaman's Hospital and advisor to Lahaina Restoration Foundation on many restoration projects - passed away late last week.
Uwe Schulz (left) on safari with friend Harold Hyman.
In an act of bravado last month, strong-willed Uwe rose from another bed at Maui Memorial Medical Center, got on three planes to Los Angeles; Munich, Germany; and Nairobi, Africa, and went on a three-week safari over rock-strewn roads and muddy terrain.
Fellow Rotarian Harold Hyman called the trek nothing short of amazing. Uwe rechecked into the hospital almost immediately upon his return.
Next came a wheelchair luncheon visit to the Rotary Club he has belonged to for 40 some years (he is a Paul Harris Fellow for his donations many times over).
Next came hospice care at home under medication for pain, sleeping most of the time.
Diagnosed with cancer four years ago, a survivor of two kidney operations and a half-dozen hospitalizations in Maui, Oahu, California and at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the 69-year-old Uwe was a fighter.
Hyman, Rotarian and neighbor who has been spending a lot of time visiting Uwe in recent months, earlier had invited his friend to the safari, never dreaming he would come along.
Sure enough, accompanied by a friend, he linked up with Harold and his wife, Vivian - world travelers themselves - in Munich and journeyed to his fourth continent.
There, Uwe delighted in seeing elephants in the wild despite the challenge of failing eyesight. He regaled his companions with stories of trips almost everywhere in Europe to the Great Wall of China, as well as Australian and New Zealand reefs.
Mention anyplace, Harold said, and it would always be, "I scuba dived there." And then there was sailing his own vessel in the race from Vancouver to Maui and road racing someplace lost in the columnist's notes.
Uwe was a quiet sort of man, never boastful of his many achievements. He played a role in helping with the still-unbuilt West Maui Hospital and more recently, despite illness, joined the Rotary Club of Lahaina facelift committee for Lahaina Public Library to interface with the county on tricky permitting challenges.
For whatever reason, friends say, Uwe had never gotten a lot of recognition. He was touched when the "Voices of Maui" column on him ran last year; Uwe has the clipping posted in his office along with a proclamation of praise from Mayor Alan Arakawa for his work on the hospital. The columnist was touched, too, when he said "it was my best Christmas present."
There are many in the community worthy of recognition or reporting. At least three on the future columns list already have passed away before a writer could get to them. Such was not the case with Uwe Schulz.