Here are some excerpts of the stories and comments
we continue to receive.

If you have a story that is still untold, please feel free to submit it.

AUNTY'S OBITUARY"I was down at the bottom of Sunset Ridge and found the rock on the corner in memory of Auntie Mabel!  I pulled over to read the plaque.  Moving and caring! - April 2019"

"Can't believe it's 14 yrs and the 10th anniversary doesn't seem that long ago. She was such a wonderful person, and I'll always miss what might have been with her."

"Although we never got to meet her, we feel the aloha here in Waikoloa that she perpetuated. We are so thankful to be here..."

"I feel very fortunate to have been welcomed by Mabel to the Village.   She was so warm and so calm in the middle of a busy office.  I still don’t know how she did it all, and with a smile.   I wish I were more like Mabel!..."

"It is a tribute to Mabel’s personality, know-how and love for people that residents still come in the office and reminisce about how wonderful Mabel was..."

"For 17 years, the Waikoloa Village Association was a one-woman operation: Mabel "Meipala" Ishii, the Association's Office Administrator. Last month, we invited readers to share their memories of Aunty Mabel, whose untimely passing in 2003 left an unfathomable void in the community. Looking back through the archives, Mabel had a hand in every positive action that took place during her leadership. As the former Executive Secretary for the Hawaiian Holiday Macadamia Nut Company, Mabel knew how to "get things done... - [Waikoloa Breeze Newsletter - Ocrtober 2015]"

"Aunty Mabel greeted me for the first time as if she had known me all my life. She helped me with documents I needed when building my first home in Waikoloa Village, and then again with building my second home. She never let me leave right away, but always made me sit and chat with her about my family. A warm spirit & kind soul who will always be missed... A hui hou Aunty."

"I love the story about Aunty Mable. Now I know so much more about her. You were so lucky to have her in your life. I wished I could have met her."

"Whenever we visited the Big Island we always visited Aunty Mabel. This time we had brought along two friends who Aunty Mabel had not met. We decided to play a joke on Aunty and asked our friends to pretend they were interested in investing in Waikoloa Village and was told Aunty was the person to speak with. After quizzing Aunty for several minutes with various questions, they asked 'What about the the aloha shirt? We wear an Extra-Large!' Aunty replied 'What aloha shirt?' Flabbergasted, she apologized profusely and felt badly that she wasn't able to help them, let along give them an aloha shirt. They said they were disappointed and left the office. We all waited a few minutes then re-entered the office and shouted 'Surprise! It's a joke!' Aunty's face looked like a deer in headlights. With phone in hand, she had been calling around to find out where she could buy the aloha shirts! 'You stink-kas! I felt so bad!' she shouted with a smile.'They had me calling all over the place for that shirt! Extra-large, too!" as she laughed at herself. She did say afterwards 'I thought: Where in the hell did these characters come from and what damn Aloha shirts were promised?'  Laughing, she rushed to give all of us a tight hug of aloha. That's the kind of person she was."

"Aunty Mabel [was] a pillar of the Waikoloa Village community that was taken too soon. 


"For several years, several people had contemplated some type of memorial for Aunty Mabel, but not much seemed appropriate and it was ‘back burnered’. After a period of  time, while I was walking in the fringes of Sunset Ridge, I happened to walk down an empty cul-de-sac; no houses; no sold lots; nothing. Just beautiful views of the Pacific and Haleakala. I thought what a wonderful memorial for Aunty Mabel this street would make. I called Chris Lau, the developer of  Sunset Ridge, and told him of  my idea. He agreed and I petitioned the County for the name of ‘Meipala Place’; the petition was granted and I contacted a trophy shop in Kona to make the plaque that still appears at the entrance to that street..."

The Inscription on the plaque: "This street is dedicated to the memory of Waikoloa's First Lady, Aunty Mabel "Meipala" Ishii. (January 2, 1937 - September 6, 2003) Loved and missed. A hui hou. Aloha `e."

Photos of the April 23, 2008 Street Sign Installation and Blessing


"Aunty was that special lady who made our transition to full time Hawaii living so pleasurable ! She was the life and breath of our Village!"

"Each September, a close knit of  us ‘old timers’ will email each other, no matter where we are, to 'join our hearts' to remember our beloved Aunty Mabel.  Just [sharing this story] brings tears to my eyes [and] love in my heart to remember this woman who made Waikoloa the wonderful place it is to live.  She exuded the Aloha spirit and made Waikoloa Village a special place to live and she lived in Honoka`a [Pa`auilo]! She was everyone’s ‘Aunty Mabel’ and there were not too many problems she could not take care of  or answer, as her knowledge reached far beyond Waikoloa! When I first moved there in 1997, she became the source to all my questions!  I enjoyed talking to her so much I began volunteering in her office, where we’d share, eat and laugh--all day!  She enjoyed helping all the new homeowners who moved to Waikoloa and got to know each one of them AND their kids, personally! Aunty Mabel became a part of your family--as she did with mine! Everyone who knew her, loved her! After all these years, we still miss and love her dearly and she will always hold a special place in our herts. A hui hou Aunty Mabel - Aloha nui loa!

"Mabel arrived at the office at 5:00 in the morning, and left at 6:00 in the evening. She brought color-coordination to a whole new level. If Mabel's color of the day was purple, she came to the office donning purple eyeshadow, purple nail polish, purple earrings, a purple dress... and even purple shoes to boot! Many activities brought the staff close together...[and] food, by far, was at the top of the list. The office closed from 12 noon to 1 p.m. when, every day, the co-workers ate lunch together. Part of the fare was a tonic of laughter. There was never a serious lunch... Mabel did everything. She was a pillar."

"She was quite a woman.  God's blessing on you and all who loved her."

"I was thinking about Aunty Mabel all day yesterday, reminiscing back to all those wonderful memories, which continue to 'bond us' together! Such wonderful, treasured friendships! Attached is my favorite pix of us, I'm sure you all remember me showing you it throughout the years... I still keep it here on my desk... it makes me smile & takes me back to those daily lunches of laughter... I sure miss them!"

"Aunty Mabel, First Lady of Waikoloa, was a true friend and lived ALOHA with style and grace."

"I met Aunty Mabel (as I always called her) early in 1986, just after she started working for the Waikoloa Village Association. From the get go we became fast friends. She exemplified the 'aloha spirit'... new arrival at Waikoloa Village could not get out of her office without a huge hug and wish of aloha. I have always been proud that she welcomed me and considered me to be 'hanai,' a lofty honor which I cherish. When Waikoloa lost Aunty it was an extreme 'gut punch.' To this day I cannot walk into the WVA offices without noticing the extreme loss of [her] aloha... Her spirit lives on but it will never be replaced. Ciao Aunty!"


An article entitled "Gone, but Never Forgotten" appeared in the September 2015 issue of the Waikoloa Breeze newsletter. The article highlights Aunty Mabel's aloha as the "heart and soul" of the Village and the tragedy that ended her life.
Go to full article

"Sitting down and having lunch as a family together was a daily ritual!  We'd wait for [others] to finish golfing [and] would spend our [lunch] hour laughing, telling jokes, singing... We'd all share what we brought... wonderful memories; still bring tears to my eyes after all these years!  Our Lord is so lucky to have Mabel with him..."

Notes from an attendee at the Meipala Place street ceremony April 5, 2008 - Waikoloa Village Sunsete Ridge

"We are all gathered at the site... a cool breeze sweeps upward from the ocean, and a cloud casts an ominous shadow over the dedication spot. The cloud formation is unusually low and could be seen from a far distance. It is a chilly and spiritual wind. It whirls around everyone, softly, gently... A presence is felt by everyone; no one speaks... It is quickly followed by uhiwai, a light mist that sprinkles down, touching our hair, shoulders, arms, and as you looked upward toward the sky, it touched our faces and lips. Someone whispers, "It's tears from heaven."

Roger Hansen (creator of the memorial) and Justyn Carvalho (one of Meipala's grandsons) mount the memorial plaque on the corner of Meipala Place and Kilakila Street in Waikoloa Village.

Photos by: Kathy Fraser

This mosaic representing Aunty Meipala is located within the Waikoloa School grounds, and is part of a Labyrinth created by students.

The original Labyrinth stood on pillars. The school has since added cinders to the area, burying the pillars up to the very top where only the mosaics show.

Waikoloa Middle & Elementary School
[Obtained from the October 2015 issue of the Waikoloa Breeze Newsletter]

As the Librarian for several years, Paula Kamiya was instrumental in obtaining grants for the school's Community Learning Center and Art in Public Places program. The art piece, Labyrinth – Earth and Concrete 2003, symbolized a "contemplative pathway of  life for the individual.  The journey is marked by stones which represent experiences along life's path." Paula, who is also an artist, crafted a special mosaic in honor of Mabel for one of  the pillars of  the newly dedicated "Labyrinth." Paula and the labyrinth committee provided the following explanation for the mosaic.

"The labyrinth committee felt it appropriate to honor long-time Waikoloa Village employee Mabel Ishii with a memorial mosaic. Mabel, known to all involved with the Waikoloa Village Association, was at the center of our community; the history of Waikoloa resided in her heart and soul. Just prior to the dedication of our State of  Hawai’i public-art-in-public-places work of  art, “Labyrinth” by Hans Ladislaus (obtained through a $50,000.00 grant), Mrs. Ishii was killed in an automobile accident leaving community members who knew her devastated.

The heart of  the mosaic represents Mabel at the center of  our community; the purple lei the love and respect she shared with us all; the dark, green background the richness of  her contributions; and, the black outer ring the hole her passing has left in our lives.  Her journey through life touched us all.  It is fitting that she continues to touch those into the future as they take their spiritual journey through the labyrinth. "

Waikoloa Village Office

L-R: Mabel, John Schick (Former Geneneral Manager of Waikoloa Village Association), Jan Davis (Jan Davis was also instrumental in keeping Aunty's memory alive.)

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