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West Maui community loses Eileen MacDonald

By Staff | Nov 13, 2020

Her life spanned the West Maui Mountains like a vivid, springtime rainbow. It is said that she brought the unique pink torch ginger to flourish on the Valley Isle from her birthplace of Papeete, Tahiti, when she came to live in her oceanfront home in Lahaina.

And it all fits so gently and succinctly into the life of Eileen Tepaeru Cowan MacDonald, who passed away on Oct. 17, 2020, at the age of 92. She was predeceased by her husband, Jerrold MacDonald, and her grandson, PJ MacDonald.

She is survived by her son, Enrique (Sandra) Braun Ortega; stepson Von (Robin) MacDonald; grandchildren Maria Braun Miller, Keala Braun Ortega and Tiare Sanna; and sisters Patricia Metzker of Rarotonga and Dallas Sanquer of Tahiti. She has eight great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews in Tahiti, Honolulu and elsewhere.

Auntie Eileen lived a loving and giving life during the boom years of growth and prosperity in the Lahaina community, as husband Jerry became a highly successful restaurant entrepreneur in Hawaii. Deeply dedicated to Maria Lanakila Catholic Church and a member of the parish Sacred Heart Society and the congregation choir, she lived a spiritually giving existence throughout her years on the West Side.

In her senior years of 65-75, she practiced the traditional martial art of Shotokan Karate-Do and rose to the rank of Iikyu, or high-level brown belt, at the organization’s Lahaina Dojo.

There, she served as a sterling example for young girls, as well as adult women, to practice martial arts regardless of age or gender.

In saying goodbye, Auntie Eileen’s sister, Patricia, quoted John 11 25-26 in Cook Islands Maori: “Mo te Atua koe tiaki mai Eileen Tepaeru, e aravei akaou ei tatou I te ora mutu kore. Aer era. May God take care of you Eileen Tepaeru, until we meet again in the everlasting.”

Aloha, Iorana. Mahalo to all of her caregivers at Roselani and to Dr. Marcus Griffin. Private services will be held at a later date due to COVID-19. (By Walter Chihara)