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Community will miss Harold Kaniho

By Staff | Dec 19, 2019

The legacy of the Kaniho family of Lahaina is woven deeply into the rich character of the West Side community. Generations of the ‘ohana have dedicated their lives to the betterment of those closest to them and to the leeward side of Maui that they call home.

Such was the life of Harold Hale Kaniho, who passed away peacefully last month at the age of 86. He is predeceased by his wife, Gladys Nalani Keahi Kaniho; daughters Marvis Kaniho and Michelle Kaniho; son Ransom Kaniho; sisters Martha Kaniho, Mary Kaniho, Cecelia Kaniho, Florence Kaniho, Dorothy Kaniho, Annabelle Kaniho and Virginia Kaniho; and brothers Joseph Palakiko, William Kaniho, Phillip Kaniho, Herbert Kaniho, John Kaniho and Christopher Kaniho.

Harold is survived by sister Emma (Becky) Shishido and brother Abraham (Sandra) Kaniho; daughters Willy Kaniho, Kealii Kaniho, Bunny Kaniho and Kulamalu Kaniho; son Aloha (Pam) Kaniho; 18 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.

He grew up at the family home under the ulu tree across from what is Puamana today. There were 17 keiki at that time, and Harold Hale was number 14, related son Aloha Kaniho last week.

“He went to King Kamehameha III School up to the eighth grade and then took up jobs like shoe shining and newspaper delivery boy before he started working at Pioneer Mill. He did all that to help his mom and dad put the kids through school and worked all sorts of jobs at Pioneer Mill for 44 years,” he said.

The family became part of the LDS Mormon Church in Lahaina, and Harold Kaniho took on another job in his senior years that would define the unique, homespun personality of Lahaina Town. For over 20 years, he joyfully worked as the crossing guard at the school he attended as a child, King Kamehameha III Elementary School in the historic district on Front Street.

School administrators, teachers, staff, parents and families all became enthralled with the happy demeanor of Uncle Harold as he high-fived every kid that crossed the street coming and leaving school. There were also hugs for the moms and handshakes for the dads, as well as friendly waves to drivers in vehicles watching this most endearing spectacle unfold every school day.

“He loved the kids at school and he loved his job of helping the kids cross the street before and after school. The Police Department told me that he was wearing out his white crossing guard gloves with all of his high-fives and handshakes! He wouldn’t go on family vacations that would interfere with his school days with the kids,” said Aloha.

Added King Kamehameha III Vice Principal Brandon Ueki, “During his time as crossing guard, Uncle Harold ensured the safety of the students coming and leaving school. With his open and friendly personality, he was responsible for starting the students off with a warm welcome. He was responsible for providing the students a fond farewell. He was a friendly man who took the time to wave, greet and make all of the students feel welcome.”

Thus, a life well spent in nurturing the welfare of his family and his community – a life dedicated to propagating the loving breath of life on Earth.

Mahalo and aloha to you, Harold Hale Kaniho, for your lifelong dedication to the gentle warmth and integrity of Lahaina. May the Lord’s peace be with you always.