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Obituaries for Saturday, April 8, 2023

Robert Stanley Brown

September 16, 1937

March 30, 2023

As a man, son, husband, father, grandfather, and surgeon, Robert Stanley Brown fully lent his hands, mind, heart and profound Catholic faith to sustain and guide the lives of thousands.

Until his final, graceful rest and rebirth he rose early each day to build and rebuild all he could. Whether setting his hands to work on damaged or ailing bodies, gardens, vines, homes, and vehicles on land and water, or lending his incomparable kindness and wisdom to countless dispirited souls, these gentle mercies were Robert’s life and work. His own faith, built upon years of erudite reflection, forged an unconditional belief in the love to be practiced in this world to counter suffering, a tenet which guided him through years of service, avid betterment, and care for his loved ones.

Robert spent his formative years in the Chicago area where he studied life sciences and philosophy at Loyola University. He continued on to the University of Illinois Medical School, completed residency at Cook County Hospital, was drafted into the army as a surgeon and Captain at the 3rd Surgical Hospital in Vietnam, and was awarded a Purple Heart. Medical missionary work brought him to Mangochi, Malawi, on two occasions, where he spent over a year building a hospital and providing medical care. He sponsored many children and families in Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean. Robert also worked as a surgeon and medical instructor at Mount Sinai, New York, while raising his young family. He provided them a loving and enriching home in Michigan during his medical practice from 1973 to 1998 at Midland Medical Center, marked by a two-year interim at Henry Ford Hospital as founder of their Division of Trauma and Emergency Surgery. The benefits of Robert’s medical innovation and scholarship were reaped well beyond his retirement: his experimental use of the technique of proning early in his career served as reference to save many lives during the recent pandemic.

Robert’s sense of purpose defined just as readily his devotion to family and friends and a life fully-lived. Following sailing training on the Chesapeake, he shared adventures on his boat, the Jeanne d’Arc, across the Great Lakes in American and Canadian waters with his first wife, Diane (d. 2004), and his two children, Eric and Anastasia. Many dear friends joined him for these travels and a glass of cognac and a cigar at the dock or at his home.

During retirement, the West Bay of Traverse City, Michigan, became the home harbor to his cat-rigged sailboat, a base for sailing trips with his beloved wife, Debbie, and his grandchildren. Robert traveled the world, studied language in the south of France, bungee jumped in New Zealand, and skydived in Hawai‘i. He ventured to the island of Kaua‘i for several years, where he and Debbie met and actively enjoyed its natural beauty, revitalized a shared home and gardens, and attended Saint Teresa’s in Kekaha.

Robert also volunteered to help complete and tend the Buddhist temple at the Lawai International Center, learned fine wood-turning, and continued his intellectual and spiritual correspondence with new and old friends. His final homesteads were near the dunes of the Emerald Coast in Florida, and among the vines at Old Mission Creek Vineyard in Traverse City. On Old Mission Peninsula, Robert served the parish of Saint Joseph’s in prayer and deeds, learned viticulture, tended grapes for harvest, and tamed woodlands. Robust and hard-working until his final months, Robert ably cleared an access road through the woods at the vineyard.

Robert’s mind was as strong as his body, his life’s library vast and diverse. His inquisitive spirit never wavered and continued probing life’s essential questions and oneness with God. In a last piece of writing, Robert explained why he remained a Catholic by weaving philosophies of being and essence, consciousness, quantum theories, Vedic and Buddhist principles, and the role of the Eucharist in Unity. He sought to orient his heart towards the true and the beautiful, viewed life as a call to action, a recognition of mysteries, and part of a concentric radiation of God’s love.

Robert is survived by his wife, Debbie Keys, his children, Eric (Hyun-Ju) Brown, Anastasia (Kirk) Brown-Westphal, Debbie’s children, James Walker, Aaron Keys (Michelle) and Hilary Vanstone (Ryan).

He is predeceased by wife, Diane, the mother of his children, his sister, Agnes Niemiec, niece, Charon Niemiec, and his parents, Stanley and Josephine.

Robert adored his five grandchildren, Alex, Robert Flynn, Ryan, Alden, and Anna, nephews, Bruce (Vonna), Bobby (Becky), Mark (Fran), and Larry (Diane) Niemiec, and niece Susan (David) Couch.

Visitation will be held Thursday, April 13, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, 305 6th Street, Traverse City, Michigan, 49684.

Additional visitation will be held on Friday, April 14, at 9 a.m. at Saint Joseph Catholic Church followed by a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. and the Catholic Rite of Committal. 12675 Center Road, Traverse City, Michigan, 49686.

Friends and family will gather at Chateau Chantal following services. 15900 Rue Devin, Traverse City, Michigan. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent in honor of Robert Stanley Brown to the Society of Saint John at Holy Protection Monastery, 6559 State Hwy M26, Eagle Harbor, Michigan, 49950.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and memories with Robert’s family at his tribute page at

The Family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

Alejandro ‘Alex’ Mancilla

Alejandro “Alex” Mancilla, age 56, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Lihu‘e on March 23, 2023. One of the original Home Depot associates in Lihu‘e, Alex was known to many customers of the electrical department.

Alex is survived by his wife, Wendy — the love of each other’s life. They were married in Kaua‘i on May 22, 2001.

Alex was born in Los Angeles, California, on Oct. 5, 1966. He attended school in San Diego, California, and following graduation he joined the Jobs Corps vocational school program. Alex and Wendy met in 1999 in San Diego at the apartment complex where they lived and where Alex was the maintenance supervisor.

Wendy encouraged Alex to join her at Home Depot, El Cajon, as a sales associate in 2001. Following their marriage in 2001, they often visited Kaua‘i. When the opportunity came to transfer to the new Home Depot store that was opening in Kaua‘i in 2003, they decided to make Kaua‘i their home and purchased a condo in Lihu‘e. Alex and Wendy were part of the original team that opened the store and have been Home Depot Kaua‘i associates since 2003.

Alex enjoyed cooking and especially visiting Lydgate Beach where he could grill steaks and shrimp, plus swimming and beach time. Alex was known for his homemade salsa and traditional Mexican food. Alex and Wendy also enjoyed traveling to Mexico and California to visit family and vacation at Mexican beach resorts. As members of the Catholic faith and Immaculate Conception Church in Lihu‘e, they also went on several Catholic Church pilgrimage tours, including France/Italy/Switzerland, Holy Land, Poland/Austria/Germany. Several years ago, Alex and Wendy decided to go on part time status at Home Depot to be able to spend more quality time together.

Alex is also survived by his parents, Heriberto and Arcelia Mancilla of Tijuana, Mexico, brothers Armando Mancilla, Horacio Mancilla, sisters Olivia Mancilla, Arcelia Mancilla and Imelda Mancilla, nephews Horacio Mancilla, Hansel Andre Melgar Mancilla, nieces Sofia Mancilla, Gretel Ivana Melgar Mancilla.

A funeral mass is Saturday, April 15, at Immaculate Conception Church beginning at 10 a.m. Inurnment will follow at Kaua‘i Memorial Gardens, Lihu‘e.

Evelyn Kukana Roller Pulawa

Evelyn Kukana Roller Pulawa born April 8, 1936, passed away on Friday, March 24, 2023, at PONO LOA, Waiohuli, Maui.

Preceding her death were her parents Francis Harold Roller, Anna Okame Hachi Roller and brothers Richard Roller and Phillip Roland Roller.

She is survived by her husband Wilford Kala’au’ala Pulawa Sr., sister Roberta Vera Ann, brother Robert Roger Roller (Susan), her daughter Susana Kahikilaulani Pulawa Grubbé (Tom) and sons Wilford Kala’au’ala Pulawa Jr. (Navi), Sean Ka’ehuokalani Pulawa (Debbie), and grandchildren Kukana Kuluwaimaka Pulawa Ka’aumoana (Gordon), Ka’iwa Ulukaiokahiki Grubbé and Alaka’i Pomaika’ipu’uwaialohakaukehakeha Grubbé as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

At Evelyn’s request, no services will be held.

Ruth Sachiko Akama Wakayama

Ruth Sachiko Akama Wakayama, 95, of Wailua Houselots, passed away on Feb. 1, 2023. She was born in Lihu‘e on March 25, 1927, and retired from the State of Hawai‘i Department of Taxation.

She was preceded in death by husband Stanley Mitsuo Wakayama, parents Paul and Umeyo Akama, brother Paul Akama and sister Helen Matsuura.

Ruth is survived by son Scot Wakayama, daughter Laura Wakayama, grandsons Tyson (Chanelle) Wakayama, Travis Wakayama, great-grandchildren Makoa, Kamalei and Makena Wakayama, numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A celebration of life is Saturday, April 15, 2023, at the Lihu‘e Christian Church, with visitation from 11 a.m. and services beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Kaua‘i Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Mabel Makanani

Mabel Makanani, 95, passed away peacefully at home on March 15, 2023. She was born in Lihu‘e, Kaua‘i on May 23, 1927, and worked in retail for Kay O’ Kaua‘i at Coco Palms, Garment Factory to You and retired from High As A Kite after Hurricane Iniki.

She was preceded in passing by parents George Kaluna Makaneole and Mary Makaneole, brothers George, Jr. and Charles Makaneole and daughters Realyn and Charlene Kahelelani Makanani.

She is survived by her son Attwood Maikai Makanani, daughters Pamela Aulani Nakoa, Rachelle Mapuana Makanani Nam, Terralyn (Daniel) Pomaikai Makakani-Pililaau, Londa Mae Fukumitsu, grandchildren Lyanna and Kalani Nakoa, Malia, Maikai, Lono and Hina Makanani, Chelsea (Dustin) Lee and Candiss (Fedna) Pierre Louis, Kahai (Kinohi), Ulu, Kolea (Summer) Fukumitsu and Maluhia (Bud) MacPherson and 30 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be on Saturday, April 22, at Borthwick Kaua‘i Mortuary in Koloa, with visitation beginning at 8:30 a.m. and service at 9:30 a.m. Leis and flowers are welcomed. Please join the family for lunch at 1:30 p.m. at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall following the service.

Borthwick Kaua‘i Mortuary assisted the family with arrangements.

Rosemary Glaser

Rosemary Glaser, 105, passed away in Lihu‘e on March 26, 2023. She was born on Feb. 8, 1918, in Los Angeles and was a homemaker.

Rosemary is survived by her daughter Diana (Robert) Marshman, grandchildren Laura (Jeff Frisk) Koorenhof, Theron (Manu) Marshman, great-grandchildren Jackson Koorenhof, Liliana Akuna, great-great-grandchildren Poli‘ahu Akuna and Kuha‘o Pa.

Kaua‘i Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.
Source: The Garden Island

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