February 10, 2021
In Kahalu`u Mauka, three days after Thanksgiving, November 25, 1940. A male child was born to Harriet Moeola Makini and Henry Kauhane Macomber. They named him Edwin Dean, and called him Eddie. Edwin Dean was a name passed down through multiple generations. The Macomber name dates to a ship’s carpenter in the 1800’s, who settled in Waiohino and married a local Hawaiian. They produced 7 children including the first Edwin Dean Macomber. When Eddie’s parents met, they both lived in Kahalu`u Mauka and the area was filled with extended family for young Eddie to learn from and be with. Memorable stories of those days included the day he remembered family crying and telling him to say goodbye to an auntie. Although he did not understand the significance of it at that time, that aunt was forced to leave the family and was taken to the Leper colony in Kalapapa, on Moloka`i. He always had plenty of cousins around to play with, and get into trouble with. Being the oldest, he was also his grandma’s favorite, and he was happy to be able to spend time alone with grandma when the younger siblings were not so favored. He was a sweetie, but also kolohe according to his cousins. He must not have been too much trouble because his cousins adored him too. There were times his uncle used to walk with Eddie the five miles down to the ocean. To avoid the hot sun, he would take Eddie through lava tubes with multiple branches. Eddie gained respect for the artifacts in the caves. His uncle reinforced the fact that to touch or disturb any of the remains was kapu. Had the kapu been broken, Eddie was told he would not find his way back out of the cave. Since his parents didn’t have their own home, the family lived much of their time on the beach in Kahalu`u, living off the ocean. It was a hard life which made the visits up to grandma’s even more precious. Eddie often told Trisha that he wished his grandparents had lived longer because his grandparents were the only ones who spoke to him in Hawaiian. He had forgotten most of the language because his parents wanted the children to only speak English. When Eddie was about eight or nine, his dad got a job on the Parker Ranch in Waiki`i. That was a good time in young Eddie’s life as the ranch provided housing, meat and other basic necessities. The family had gardens and raised rabbits and the kids were expected to work hard. None-the-less they always had time to get into a bit of trouble. Swimming in the catchment tank was one irresistible taboo. Jumping up on the cow-horses for bareback rides was another. They got in some trouble for sneaking fruit off the fruit trees, but chores did keep them occupied most of the time. One thing he hated was when his mother told him to go out and kill a rabbit from their hutches for dinner. He told me he bawled and bawled. His love for animals never ceased. He also wasn’t happy about his mother making him take hula lessons, when in those days it was only girls in class. In spite of his claiming that to be a miserable experience, as an adult he still enjoyed rolling his stomach when anyone needed a good laugh. A couple of strong memories of those times were when the catholic priest twice took Eddie with him to hike up Mauna Kea. It was hard. Ed learned a great respect for that mountain and how difficult it was to climb. It wasn’t to worship but just to go. Ed told Trisha that he never knew of anyone hiking up the mountain in those days. He often got angry at some of the things young people and outsiders would later say about the mountain. He said it was never considered a “sacred mountain”, those were stories people made up later. He would grumble that they never really understood or climbed the mountain as he did. Another story he used to tell was about going to elementary school. They used to ride on the ranch’s milk wagon to get to the schoolhouse. He was always good with his hands and someone must have recognized that because he became the one in charge of the school projector. That included going to the storage room to get it and put it away. As he did that, he would pass by the open lockers where all the kids left their lunches. Since his family rarely had money for school lunch he would target the Japanese kid’s lunches and “borrow” some of theirs. He said the Japanese boy’s lunches were always packed with extra food so he never felt too bad about relieving them of a bit of it. So kolohe! The family had a hunting dog, Jippi, that was famous for pig hunting. Hunting was a common activity when the cowhands had downtime. That is where Ed learned to hunt pig. The meat was always welcomed. Trish remembers seeing him expertly grab a young feral pig by the legs one time and marveled at how he could do that without getting gored or bitten. Even though ranch life was good, money was often short, as much of it went to alcohol. Ed credited the ranch for keeping them fed. The school only went up to eighth grade and Eddie’s dad wanted his kids to be educated. So for ninth grade Eddie was sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Hilo where he started middle school. The household also held his older cousins Wilhelmina and Eloise and it didn’t take him long to figure out how they would sneak out of bed, climb down the downspout, and into the waiting boy’s car. That information served him well as they dare not mention his misdeeds to his guardians and he even convinced them to hand over an occasional bribe to keep him quiet. This Kolohe charm got him through high school although he said the only reason principal Afook Chinen graduated a boy with so many “F’s” was because he didn’t want to put up with Eddie another year and he raised Ed’s F grade to D-. Eddie had many stories of old Hilo. Riding on the sampan buses was one of them. He often spoke of seeing the train but never rode on it himself. He always found work to do and one of his high school jobs was setting up the pins for the only bowling alley in town. That gave him a little money to impress the girls. It also put gas into the old topless convertible he managed to buy. The car must not have been too impressive since umbrellas were needed if it rained. Another favorite memory of his is when his paddling crew did the Molokai to Oahu canoe race. Duke Kahanamoku, who was very supportive of local athletes, picked up the crew and let them stay at his home. That kindness and support made a huge impression on Eddie. By this time his parents had moved to Hilo and lived in a couple of different places, one being near where Ken’s House of Pancakes is now. In Eddie’s senior year of high school he was enamored with Shirley Selema, the sister of his friend Herman. The end of senior year culminated with the marriage of Shirley and Eddie. Shirley and Eddie lived in Iwasaki camp with her parents, where Shirley had been raised. There they had three of their four children. Ed joined the National Guard and afterwards worked in construction doing everything from heavy equipment operating to labor jobs. Throughout Hilo he would later point to places where he had laid gas and water lines, cleared land, or some other story of how things were in the old days. He worked two jobs putting in long hours so he and Shirley could afford a place of their own. Eddie had a total of five children. The eldest is Cheryl Lynn “Pua” (Dean) Kaahanui; then came Steven Jeffrey (Louana) Macomber; Edwin Dean “Eddie-Dean” Macomber (who pre-deceased his dad November 2020); Darby Hauanio Sr; and Patrick Shannon Acol. They passed on their dad’s genes to 12 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren, so far. Like many young marriages, his and Shirley’s did not last. Eddie moved on to a new career, first maintaining rental cars for Budget-Rental-Cars, a franchise that was owned by a man named Slim Holt. Eddie credits Slim for recognizing his potential and teaching him to speak English correctly. Ed worked hard trying to better his diction and knowledge about the island. With his natural good humor and friendliness, he became a driver/guide for Slim Holt Hawaii tours. He moved up the ranks to become not only one of the top driver guides but also became a certified driver trainer. He competed in driving safety competitions, a skill he also honed and used to train truckers later in his life. After 16 years of being a bachelor taking up with a young California tour guide was furthest from his mind. But when his golf club landed in Molokai at the same time her tour arrived, they got together. He spent the next few months courting and by fall, the confirmed bachelor and stubbornly independent woman, Trisha, moved in together. Three years later, in 1985 they made their partnership official. Ed was instantly loved and embraced by Trisha’s family, and he loved and embraced them. Trisha often laughingly grumbled that her family came to see him more than her. Years later Ed welcomed Trisha’s aging parents into their home as a matter of course, without a moment’s hesitation. He also welcomed many others into their home with love, and sometimes, what Trisha considered an infinite amount of patience. But he was always even keeled and accepting of everyone. By the time Eddie married Trisha the Slim Holt Company had closed, and he moved on to trucking. After a brief period with Kuwaye Trucking, he settled in with HT&T Company. He quickly rose through the ranks often handling multiple roles including safety and training officer, dispatcher, sales, warehouse and trucking manager. He always enjoyed a new challenge and he was well respected by industry and drivers alike. During this time, he and his crew did some marvelous jobs and were well known for their abilities to get the job done well. Probably the most famous hauls included carrying all the supplies up Mauna Kea for most of the telescopes. This included Subaru’s vacuum chamber and mirror, which made international news and the haul was featured in magazines. They also had huge hauls to build the Geothermal plants, plus the routine deliveries of just about anything coming into the pier. Eddie supported the industry and drivers by organizing, supporting and training them for truck safety competitions all over the state. Student drivers came to HT&T, and Eddie’s home, to learn skills and practice for their competitions. He and his wife Trisha would often accompany the State winners to National competitions on the mainland. In fact, when the first group of Big Island drivers got to the State competitions in Honolulu they dominated the state, winning in almost every category When the national CDL licensing went into effect Eddie partnered with the CDL examiner. He volunteered his home and classroom space to give the licensed truck drivers classes on passing the written exams (if needed). The drivers could take practice tests, and when they were ready, would take the CDL test right there. The examiner would grade it and they got their license. If they failed, they’d come back and try again. This efficient method of getting drivers their new licenses was appreciated by drivers and businesses alike. When people used to ask Eddie why his yard was filled with cars every weekend he would reply “church”. Still Kolohe! Traveling across the US for the safety competitions gave Ed a love for traveling that he hadn’t known before. A man who needed his rice and local food and didn’t like leaving this rock, gradually turned into a man who insisted on trying new and different foods wherever he went and enjoying all kinds of adventures. When his wife started presenting at international conferences and running training workshops, he began to accompany her. They did many trips to Micronesia and the pacific rim, visiting the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Republic of Palau, The Federated states of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Australia and saw much of Taiwan. He and Trisha were hired through the federal Department of the Interior to return to the island of Kosrae to build systems to keep water supply tanks cleaner, and by a USDA Water Quality grant to introduce a portable, affordable water storage system in Majuro in the Marshall Islands. While Trisha was often looked on as “just another haole do-gooder” people would respond instantly to Ed, although his ponytail did shock some conservative folks on Kosrae. They got over it quickly when they found out that not only did he have a huge supply of tools but that he was willing to use them to help them with their projects too. It never surprised his wife when he went missing, to find him at a local high school securing a roof, or laughing with the breakfast crowd of government officials who would come wait for him at the hotel’s outdoor dining area. When HT&T was sold Ed retired, but with repeated requests from his brother Bobby in Kailua-Kona, his retirement didn’t last long. Ed worked with Bobby’s new construction business for few years. When the commute and time away from home got to be too much, and Bobby had other family members ready to fill in, Ed retired again. That retirement actually lasted a couple months, a record for Ed. After that he started hanging out at his good friend, Ben Alonzo’s workplace. Ben always had projects and Ed was happy to be allowed to help with them. He always said that not many people would put up with an old man and give him gratifying work to do. Ben not only gave him projects, he gave him a job. Ben also gave him a family and a community of guys who loved and respected him. Ed loved being able to share his wealth of knowledge and skills with new generation, and they respected him in return. He became “Uncle” to a wonderful group of people who in turn gave his life meaning. Ed, Eddie, Uncle Ed, however people knew him, brought with him a quiet dignity, humbleness and kindness. He was respectful of others yet when he did speak his words had meaning. He was calm and his irresistible laughter and smile could lighten anyone’s foul mood. However, when he did get upset, he didn’t mince words either. He told you straight out what you were doing wrong and that he expected you to fix it. If someone came into the jobsite without a mask, he sent them out to get it. And people didn’t argue with Uncle. He would certainly complain if they did sloppy work or wouldn’t take care of their equipment for example. He always took care of tools, kept his job site and home immaculate and expected others to do the same. He was a man of few words but the words he used meant something. He could do or fix anything put before him and if he didn’t know how, he’d figure it out. He was kind and loved animals. He was rather notorious for feeding strays and whatever animal happened into his awareness. In the past month alone, he calmed and rescued a stray pup, and gave Trisha daily reports on how close the feral cat he was feeding allowed him to come. People, kids and animals all gravitated to him and instinctively trusted him. Although he came from a childhood home of alcoholic rage, he chose never to be like that, and he never was. His heart was bigger than the moon. Eddie passed quickly and unexpectedly when the main artery supporting that gigantic heart of his suddenly tore. While emergency room medical staff did their best, it was just too huge to fix. He is missed more than words can say. A note from the family: All advertisements on this web page for flowers and monetary donations comes from the mortuary and not from the family. Please do not be swayed. Personal condolences can be written on the website or mailed to 15-1477 Keaau Pahoa Rd. Keaau, HI 96749-9108. Please no flowers or Koden.
In Kahalu`u Mauka, three days after Thanksgiving, November 25, 1940. A male child was born to Harriet Moeola Makini and Henry Kauhane Macomber. They named him Edwin Dean, and called him Eddie. Edwin Dean was a name passed down through multiple... View Obituary & Service Information
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