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A sad, sad day for the MIL: Garner Ivey passes away

November 10, 2012 - Robert Collias
It was hard to get up Friday for something I usually treasure covering: the state football playoffs.

Baldwin fought hard before losing 24-13 to Mililani. The game marked the end of the prep career for Keelan Ewaliko, perhaps the best high schools quarterback I have ever had the pleasure to cover in my three decades as a sportswriter around the Pacific Rim. Ewaliko leaves for the University of Hawaii with a 22-0 mark in MIL games and many, many other accolades that we will have plenty of time to document here.

Ewaliko was his usual remarkable self on Friday night, and tears flowed after the loss, showing just how much this game meant to him and his teammates.

The game had a somber mood to it, however, for a much bigger loss that all of the MIL suffered Friday morning.

Garner Ivey, the Father of MIL Wrestling, died at the age of 84. Ivey was a gentle, petite man who was always at every Baldwin practice and every wrestling meet, no matter how small. He carried more respect than perhaps any man I have known in the MIL.

His living legacy is the 14 years of care he gave to his bedridden wife, Mary Helen, who suffers from Parkinson's disease. Ivey always told me the last few years that wrestling was his respite.

Ivey is survived by Mary Helen and four children.

Barry Helle, the voice of the MIL, told me at the game that Ivey was the man who taught him how to use chop sticks at age 11. The outpouring of sorrow was swift and deep — I received about 10 phone calls on the subject, a couple asking me if the news was true. Cancer claimed Ivey quickly and it never crossed my mind that he would go so soon — it just didn't seem possible.

Here is a story I did on Ivey, one of the true pioneers of MIL sports a couple years ago.

I will have a full obituary for Sunday's paper and it is my sincere hope that I can do the man justice.


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