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Rev. Chun celebrates 100th birthday

KAPA‘A — The Kapa‘a First Hawaiian Church celebrated the 100th birthday of Rev. Richard Chun on Sunday under clear sunny skies and the quiet Sunday traffic.

“This is special,” said the Hawaiian Church’s musician Mary Lardizabal. “I had to find out which were his favorite hymns and we played them during today’s service.”

Richard Chun was born on April 28, 1924, on O‘ahu stated a proclamation from Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami that was read aloud to the congregation of the special service that coincided with Chun’s 100th birthday.

“All his children are here with him,” Lardizabal said. “We’re going to have a lunch following the service. I had to go up to my class and get some decorations to add to what was already here.”

Richard graduated from ‘Iolani High School and attended Temple University, Parson’s College and Hartford Seminary.

He married Thelma Hing Tau Lau in 1950 and became an ordained minister serving the following churches: First Chinese Church on O‘ahu, Lana‘i Union Church, Grandville Federated Church in Massachusetts, Hilo United Community Church, Lihu‘e Christian Church, Sainto John’s Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Kapa‘a First Hawaiian Church, Princeville Church of the Pacific and the United Church of Christ, Hawai‘i Conference.

While serving at the Lihu‘e Christian Church in 1972, Richard was asked to join the County of Kaua‘i Agency on Elderly Affairs as a Planner and Program Coordinator where he coordinated services to the Kapa‘a and Wailua area that included demonstrations, nutrition, health screening, transportation and information for kupuna.

“He was so good with the people,” said Lili Conant, a church parishioner. “I remember how he used to visit people and ask how they were doing just because.”

Following 14 years with the County of Kaua‘i, Richard retired, and he and Thelma, a retired teacher at Elsie Wilcox Elementary School, volunteered their time teaching English in Poland, Vietnam, five trips to China and the South Pacific.

The couple also dedicated their time to assist disadvantaged children in Peru and Brazil, helped make furniture for kids with disabilities in Lake George, Minnesota, as well as teaching English to immigrants throughout the United States.

Throughout his life, Richard has continued to serve his community by volunteering as a board member for the Hawai‘i State Library Commission, Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity, the County of Kaua‘i Committee On Persons with Disabilities and the United Church of Christ Hawai‘i Conference Foundation.

“We’re going to have a party,” said Lardizabal, lending her voice to Jo Manea who retired to “go pick up food” and Kawakami’s words of congratulations and thankfulness for Richard’s many years of dedicated service and volunteerism to the world and Kaua‘i.
Source: The Garden Island

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