Community loses Blaze Kalilikane
They’re usually wearing tank-tops, board shorts and slippers. And, more often than not, they’ll have a big smile on their faces, as if they’ve just speared a big fish for dinner or rode the best wave of their life – or since last week. They have their hands almost permanently formed into the “shaka” sign.
These are the Lahaina boys, a generation of Maui born and raised that truly represent the kindness and fun-loving spirit that is the essence of rural communities – the villages – such as this here in Hawaii.
Blaze Kalilikane was a Lahaina boy to the hilt, through and through. Blaze died last month in a tragic traffic accident in Olowalu at age 20 just across the highway from the waves and water that so defined his life.
He was laid to rest at Waiola Church two weeks ago in a viewing and service that filled the historic grounds with family and friends from early morning to the afternoon. He leaves behind his parents, Keri and Moses Kalilikane Jr.; sister Brittney Kalilikane; and grandparents Mary and Moses Kalilikane, and Pete Mendoza.
With his two front teeth always gleaming in the Lahaina sun, Blaze was as easy going as they come, with a personality that seemed to constantly be sharing an inside joke.
He had a pigeon-toed walk that gave him a “Goofy” sort of demeanor… now that I think about it, he did remind me of the Disney cartoon character. I guess that’s why I got such a kick out of watching him compete in MMA with “Hustle & Throw.” C’mon man – Goofy in the octagon?
He was a teammate to our sons on the championship Lahainaluna High School football and wrestling teams, and a guardian and protector to our daughters when the girls entered high school.
But, more than anything, he was a friend to us all. We just love that boy. He was the type of person that, whenever you met up with him, would leave you with smile on your face and a happy feeling in your heart. He put you in a comfort zone.
I know I can speak for the entire West Side community in sending our most sincere condolences to the Kalilikane family in these most difficult of times.
Blaze’s passing did indeed temper the Christmas season in Lahaina; but, hopefully, in time we can all move forward with the inspiration of his beautiful spirit and pass it forward to the generations of Lahaina boys to come.
Peace be with you, Bruddah Blaze, and may God bless you always.