THOMAS MEYERS VAN CULIN
Tom Van Culin, 80, of Honolulu, Hawai`i, passed away November 4, 2018.
Born March 6, 1938, to Samuel and Susie (Mossman) Van Culin, Tom enjoyed his childhood in Waikiki with his parents and brother Sam Van Culin and, during the war, in Dos Palisades (California) with his brother and extended family. Following the war, Tom returned to Waikiki where he graduated from Punahou School (’55), before heading to the University of the Pacific. Tom later married Sara "Anne" Ludewig of Honolulu with whom he enjoyed two grateful children, Tori (Van Culin) Koch of Olathe, Kansas, and Drew Van Culin of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. In 1992 Tom married Ernestina "Tina" Williams of Honolulu with whom he enjoyed 31 years of companionship and support, and later hanai-ed her son Sean Rehag of Honolulu as his own.
Professionally, Tom had a diverse career that included military service in Bakersfield, California, regional management with Northwest Airlines in Minneapolis and Honolulu, real estate around O`ahu, tourism with the Hawai`i Visitors Bureau, and general sales in the emerging computer industry of the early ’80’s.
Following the death of his mother in 1985, Tom re-directed his life to the pursuit of two passions that would define the remaining years of his life: his passion and identity as a kanaka maoli and his commitment to recovery from addiction.
As a recovering alcoholic, Tom knew first-hand the destruction of addiction and the difficulty of overcoming addiction individually. He began his journey to sobriety in 1986 and celebrated 32 years of sobriety just two weeks ago. A recipient of the support of women and men across O`ahu, Tom committed himself to the recovery and healing of others and celebrates the sobriety of all who strive for daily recovery.
As a kanaka `aina raised in the waters of Waikiki beach, Tom was equally committed to the restoration of Hawaiian culture and identity. "Kahu Tom" became a faithful advocate for the uplift of native Hawaiians, working for the restoration of individuals through his pastoral ministry as a chaplain within the prison system across O`ahu to his priesthood at Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Waimanalo, and socially as a voice for sovereignty and the reclamation of Hawaiian identity. As an Episcopal priest, he worked for the healing of the whole person, uniting his commitment to recovery from addiction and the restoration of the identity of an individual.
Tom is survived by his wife Tina, his daughter Tori (Van Culin) Koch and her husband Randy; his son, Drew Van Culin and his wife Jessica; his hanai son, Sean Rehag; his grandchildren, Isaac Koch, Samuel Van Culin, and Catherine Van Culin; and his brother Sam Van Culin.
A memorial service will be held at Saint Andrew’s Cathedral, Honolulu, Hawai`i on Saturday, November 10 at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts in memory of Tom be directed to Punahou School, 1601 Punahou Street, Attention Advancement Office, Honolulu, HI 96822, Memo: Tom Van Culin ’55.
Arrangements Provided By: Oahu Mortuary
Notice #: 0001149002-01