JOHANNES CLAUS KEALOHA WEDEMEYER
Johannes Claus Kealoha Wedemeyer — Hans to many — was truly one of a kind.
Born on Oahu in 1936, Dad lived a life that was anything but typical. Raised in Kalihi to humble means that were a potent mix of “old school” Hawaiian and European values, he inherited an adventurer’s heart and a strong will. As the last Wedemeyer child of that generation, he had a flair which could never be extinguished. Along with his siblings who were most near him in age, they banded together in and around the hard-scrabble streets of Kalihi. This was during the time of Hawaii’s romantic years characterized by the Lurline & the allure of Waikiki, and then later as Statehood took hold.
Hans excelled at many things and it was hard to take your eyes off him if you entered his orbit. As a young man, he made his way to California for college in San Luis Obispo with nothing but his will to drive him. He returned to Hawaii upon the death of his father without a degree, but many life-long lessons. He returned to California and found success in Hollywood in an industry that was not always welcoming to minorities during those years. He continued to receive residual checks as a Screen Actors Guild member much later in life and his IMDb credits can easily be seen online to this day.
During his time in California, his interest in business continued to grow and he found opportunities in the car business in the car capital of the world. His acumen in sales was natural and he quickly rose the ranks with the help of a well-known lifelong mentor. Returning to Hawaii, he pursued the car business and made his mark. He also raced cars where he took the checkered flag against other well-healed racers with over-matched vehicles during that time.
Despite his many adventures on the West Coast, including acting credits and a stint manufacturing a clothing line, he remained a Hawaii original. True to his Kalihi roots instilled in him by his family, he also spent summers of his youth on Hawai’i Island and this special place never left his heart, particularly the areas of Puako and Kawaihae where his mother was raised, along with South Kohala and the Hamakua coast where he returned with his family years later as a permanent resident. He maintained residences there for many years and continued to have a strong presence in the area with his real estate developments and investments which he actively managed until his passing. He intuitively understood business and could calculate numbers as easily as any adding machine of his day. Simply stated, he embodied an equal measure of style and grit in such an amount and combination, the likes of which are hard to come by and rarely seen.
Hans is preceded in death by his parents William and Rebecca, and his siblings including Mona, Michael and Jesse and his half brothers and sisters. He is survived by his wife Darlene, children Ryan (wife Stefanie), Aka (wife Bonnie) and Starr Dods (husband Christopher), six grandchildren: Olivia, Micah, Sofia, Dylan, Sawyer & Finley, along with his sisters Irene and Penny, and other extended family and friends.
A Celebration of Life is planned for later this summer on the Big Island.
With a warm, enduring, and grateful Aloha…A Hui Hou, Pop!