87 of Honolulu, Hawaii, passed away peacefully with family by her side, on December 17, 2022.
Born and raised in Hilo, Sybil excelled academically and graduated from Hilo High School. She went on to Douglass College for Women (housed within Rutgers University campus) and graduated from University of Michigan, with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Many close friendships were forged during those academic years. Sybil maintained those close ties throughout her life, overcoming the challenges of distance.
While at Michigan, she met Maung Kyi, and later married him in New York, while pursuing her Master’s degree. The Burmese government sponsored Maung to study in America. Sybil and Maung moved to Burma to fulfill his scholarship obligations to the government. Sybil’s asthma prevented them from staying in the subtropical monsoon climate in Burma. The couple returned to Hawaii, where they embraced the local Burmese community – welcoming the community into their home and creating lifelong friends. These close friendships endured despite divorcing in 1989.
Sybil started her illustrious government service career with the State of Hawaii with the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Workforce Development Employment Service. She transferred to the University of Hawaii, Vocational Education Department, and was on the team of developers of Career Kokua. This innovative interactive assessment tool assisted high school students in making informed career decisions. Individual answers to programmed questions helped students decide whether to attend college or learn vocational training. After 10 years of service at UH, Sybil was selected as the Executive Director for Commission on Workforce Development, an oversight division of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Over her 40+ year career, she championed and secured funding for a variety of vocational education programs and employment initiatives throughout the State. She retired in 2003.
Throughout her life, Sybil contributed actively to the community. The Associated Chinese University Women elected Sybil as President, in 1972. She served as a Director for Aloiau, Inc. She held memberships in the Organization of Chinese American Women, Lisle Foundation, Wong Duck Tar Hong, Waikiki Aquarium, Smithsonian Institution, Bishop Museum and other national foundations. Supporting the environment and the arts was very important to Sybil. After her retirement, she joined a local volunteer group that observed and recorded individual humpback whales. She enjoyed the performing arts and loved supporting local artists. The Academy of the Arts was a regular haunt, as were craft fairs, here and on the mainland. She loved introducing her family to history and the arts and often spent all day in museums.
Sybil had the distinctive honor of being the first grandchild of her generation on her maternal side. In 2011, Sybil and Serena visited both ancestral homes/villages of her maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather, in China on a private tour with at least nine NIP first cousins and their spouses.
Sybil was a loving and supportive matriarch. She shared her many and varied interests with her progeny – splashing in tide pools, attending public parades, stargazing, appreciation of the arts, fishing in the Nu`uanu reservoir, travel, shopping, and photography. She is survived by her brother, Kenneth (Joyce) Wong, Jr., sister Sharlyn Rayment, daughters Serena (Matt) M.Y. Kyi-Yim, Nini (Bill) Koechlin and Sabrina Kyi, grandchildren, Sera Arnold, Steven (Jessica) Yim, and Scott Yim and great-grandchild, Shane Yim.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Pearl Country Club, Pavilion,
Notice #: 0001402732-01