West Maui community loses Darrell Thomas Koki
WEST MAUI — One of West Maui’s beloved free spirits took flight to eternal peace last month, as Darrell Thomas Koki passed away in the presence of his family in Honolulu. He was 58 years old.
Born and raised in Honolulu, Koki had moved to Maui and began working as a bartender as a charter associate at the Hyatt Regency Maui in April of 1980. First in the outlet (then called the Lahaina Provision Company) at the Hyatt, Koki rotated in the resort’s bars throughout his 30 years there and, in the words of current General Manager Michael Jokovich, “… provided exceptional service to the multitude of guests he served over the years. You could always count on Darrell to perform in an outstanding manner, consistently, year in and year out.”
“To all of his coworkers at the Hyatt, he was part of our family and impacted so many of us through the years that his memory will live on forever. He always set the standard of service for those who worked with him and for generations of Hyatt employees to come. He was a shining star and will continue to burn brightly through the years.”
Indeed, Koki was a person who always brought warmth and happiness to all he would meet in day-to-day encounters — this despite his battle with throat cancer throughout his final years.
He lived alone in Waihee on the windward coast of Maui with the company of his pet kittens and his best friends Susie and Happy Aki, who live nearby.
“Yeah, Darrell was mostly on his own when he wasn’t working, but we were able to spend time with him and have meals with him at the end,” said Happy. “But he was always upbeat and smiling. A great friend, as always.”
Services led by Father Jack Ryan were held at St. John Baptist Church in Honolulu and attended by family and friends from near and far, including England, California, and, of course, a Maui contingent led by Susie and Happy and a group of Hyatt coworkers.
Koki is survived by his parents, Thomas and Dolores Koki; brothers Bradley (Tisa) Koki and Derek Koki; sisters Susan Koki and Robin Honjo; nieces and nephews Kaaimalani Koki, Kuulehua (Dan) Lorenzo, Sheree (Preston) McCormack, Ciarra (Garret) Bacarro, Bronson (Beverly) Koki, Holden Koki, Dillon Shackman and Ross, Jason and Lora Honjo; and grand nieces and nephews.