The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001334659-01
Funeral Notices

Mother, Equestrian, Educator

Martha (Mattie) Kahalelaukoa Derby McDaniel of Kaneohe, Hawai`i, died peacefully on May 20, 2021. Born and raised in Honolulu, Martha was the third of four children born to Stephen and Dora (Cooke) Derby of Makiki Heights and a proud descendant of three Hawaiian missionary families (Cooke, Judd, Rice). Growing up on O`ahu, Martha also spent a good deal of time on Molokai with her grandparents, George Paul and Sophie Boyd (Judd) Cooke who founded Hanahau’oli School in Honolulu. Educated at Hanahau`oli and Punahou Schools, Miss Porter’s School in Connecticut, and Vassar College in New York, Martha went on to complete her Master’s Degree in Wildlife Management at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Martha taught 7th and 8th grade Science at La Pietra – Hawai`i School for Girls in the 1970s. She retired after 35 years with the City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation where she championed conservation at Ho`omaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe and then at Hana`uma Bay Nature Preserve where she was a key member of the team that developed the award-winning visitor center. Martha’s lifelong love of horses was well known. She competed in dressage shows into her late 70’s and gave back to the community many times over by sponsoring countless young equestrians who shared her spirit, passion and dedication to the sport. Martha was honored to be presented with the Aloha State Dressage Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 which was the first of its kind and was named 2018 Member of Distinction by the United States Dressage Federation in recognition of her outstanding contributions to education and promotion of dressage. A favorite tradition of Martha’s was her annual Christmas morning trail ride. She enjoyed Hawaiian music and sang with several groups including Punahou Alumni Glee Club, Makiki Heights Hawaiian Music Society, Windward Choral Society, and Honolulu Blend Show Chorus. A lifetime member of the Daughters of Hawai`i, Martha also loved animals, being in nature, knitting, traveling, and being with her ohana. She was a lifelong supporter of the arts in Hawai`i and a dedicated patron of the Hawai`i Theatre. Other associations she cared deeply for include; Hawai`i Museum Association, Aloha State Dressage Association of which she was member emerita of the ASDS’s board of directors, Hawai`i Horse Show Association, Hawai`i State Dressage Society, United States Dressage Federation, Friends of Hana`uma Bay, and Friends of Honolulu Botanical Gardens. Martha is survived by her brothers Philander (George-Anne) Derby of Honolulu; John (Lyn) Derby of California; former husband Joseph (Mary) McDaniel of Vermont; children Paul (Melanie) McDaniel of Australia; Diana (Jeff) LeFebvre of Kaneohe; eight grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins all of whom she loved unconditionally. She was predeceased by her sister, Anna Derby Blackwell. A celebration of Martha’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Martha’s honor to the Dora C. Derby endowment fund at Hanahau`oli School, the Daughters of Hawai`i, and Palolo Chinese Home.