The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001109124-01
Funeral Notices


Edwin Tetsuo Kaneko, 87, of Holualoa, died on April 26, 2018 at Nakamaru Hale Hospice of Kona. Born in Honalo, Hawaii on May 29, 1930 the sixth of eleven children.

Ed’s life truly exemplified the circle of life. As a child, he was raised on a coffee farm in the Honalo area of Kona. His family farmed 13 acres and all the kids were expected to pick coffee before school. One essential element of coffee picking were the lauhala baskets that they would all use when they harvested the beans.

Ed joined the army before graduating high school. He served the US army in both Japan and Korea. After his discharge in 1953, he used the GI bill to complete his high school education at the University of Hawaii, then his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Michigan State where he studied Civil Engineering. He married Kay Uno in 1955 and they both lived in Michigan while he completed his studies. That is where his oldest son Kris Kaneko was born in 1958. His first job was working for Michigan Department of Highways. Ed’s career path relocated him back to Honolulu Hawaii working for the Department of Transportation Ed and Kay’s two daughters were born, Julie Kaneko in 1961 and Tricia Kaneko in 1965.

Ed career path had him working for the Civil Aeronautic Authority and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). The FAA sent him to Berkely to get a Master’s degree in Aviation. His jobs took him to Japan, Washington DC., Brunei, China and Guam. At the peak of Ed’s career, working for the FAA, he was overseeing the entire Pacific Rim and supervising over 400 workers. Ed last position was Senior FAA representative for 13 counties based at the US Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.

Completing his circle of life, Ed retired in 1989 buying his coffee farm on Kona in Holualoa. He was a coffee farmer and mastered his lauhala weaving, becoming a Master Hat Weaver aka. Kumu Ulana Lau Hala.

Ed was one of the founders of the Holualoa Foundation for Culture and the Arts, and active in the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, coordinated the Kona Coffee History exhibit which traveled to Brazil and in addition he was one of the volunteers who built the playground at Higashihara park in Kona. He found his passion in teaching at the Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona annual weaving conference where he was best known for his sturdy baskets and the Holo Lio hat (his iconic cowboy hat). Shortly after joining the Ka Ulu Lauhala O Kona he had a booth at the Merrie Monarch Invitational Craft Fair for the past 15 years and became known as a Master Hat Weaver aka. Kumu Ulana Lau Hala. In 2006 Ed traveled to the Smithsonian Institute for the Carriers of Culture Exhibit where they displayed 50 Lauhala hats. Ed also contributed one of his traditional baskets and mats for the Polynesian Voyaging Society, currently included in the collection that is with the Hokule’a traveling throughout the Islands.

A celebration of life will be held at 11:00am on Sunday, July 1st at the Royal Kona Resort 75-5852 Alii Drive Kailua-Kona, HI, 96740.

Ed is survived by his wife of 63 years Kay Uno Kaneko; son, Kris Kaneko of Kailua-Kona; daughters, Julie M. Kaneko Hall of Ventura, CA and Tricia Strahler of Castle Rock, CO; brothers, Yoshiyuki Kaneko (Emiko) of Kealakekua, Herbert Kaneko (Vivian) of Pearl City; sisters, Asako Kajioka of Pearl City, Kimiko Sato of San Carlos, Ca; five grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Arrangements by Dodo Mortuary.