About Us

History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

Homelani Memorial Park was established years ago, and serving families has always been our focus. We take pride in being able to guide people through some of their most difficult days. We take pride in maintaining a setting that allows people to find solace. Celebrating life is our mission. That’s never changed. And with pride, it never will.

Established in 1871 as a burial place, Homelani was originally called Halai Hill Cemetery. It was not until 1923 that the name was changed to Homelani, meaning "Heavenly Home" in Hawaiian.

At Homelani Memorial Park you will find our unique Japanese Garden, which embraces the traditional Japanese style of creating beauty and aestheticism in the most natural form. 

In 1870, the people of the First Foreign Church in Hilo decided it was important to own a burial place for the foreign population of Hilo. They found a desirable location situated on Ponahawai and contacted the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Pitman. Through various correspondence and arrangements, the church secured possession of the land on April 25, 1871. The name "Halai Hill Cemetery" was given to their new found place.

The first interment was of Arthur Lyman, the two-year old son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Lyman. The young infant drowned in the bath tub, August 5, 1871. There were four other interments recorded in 1871, which were removals from other burial grounds.

The name Homelani was officially adopted by the Trustees in 1923. On her dying bed in 1884, the wife of the former Governor Kipi whispered "Homelani" (Heavenly Home) when asked where she would like to be buried. She was referring to the Halai Hill Cemetery. From then on, the cemetery was popularly known as "Homelani," thus influencing the name change.

We accommodate people of all faiths.

Who We Are

In a nutshell? Experience, professionalism, compassion, and empathy.

Jeff Short

Jeff Short

Area Sales Director
Read Bio

As area sales director, Jeff has served in the funeral services profession for more than six years, always working to bring out the best in everyone around him while creating a culture of belief in each other and what we can accomplish as a team.

“Our team does not have limits or restrictions to what we can do to ensure a family's needs are met,” Jeff says. “We say 'yes' first and then find a way to make it happen. We encourage complete personalization and customization for every family and we pour our unique gifts and talents into every service."

“I love having the opportunity to work with the most dedicated, hardworking, and positive-minded champions you will find in any profession. Our team is fiercely committed to providing caring and compassionate service to every family. We believe in building lasting legacies and are empowered to do whatever it takes as we continue to shine as a beacon of hope in and through our community.”

Wayde  Towata

Wayde Towata

General Manager/Funeral Director

Marlene  Eleneki

Marlene Eleneki

Office Manager

Josh Stensrud

Josh Stensrud

Funeral Director


Edna "Loke" Russell

Family Service Advisor

Margarita Ramos

Margarita Ramos

Family Service Advisor