One of the first Haleakala National Park rangers to serve in Kipahulu, Eddie Pu died Friday morning at his home, after a several-year bout with emphysema.
He was 83 years old.
He once jumped into the ocean off Oheo to save a Saudi ambassador, his wife and their son who had been washed out to sea by a flash flood. Pu was honored personally by President Gerald Ford for his heroism.
He also was known for his annual solitary treks around the island.
"He was just one of the best interpreters that the park service has ever had," said Matt Brown, acting superintendent for Haleakala National Park on Friday.
"He had such a passion for sharing his culture and sharing the beauty of the national park with everybody who came to Kipahulu," said Brown. "He was great ranger."
Pu joined the park service in Kipahulu in 1972 -- one of the first rangers in the district -- after 21 years as a lifeguard at Hamoa Beach, according to the book "Haleakala: A History of the Maui Mountain," written by former Maui News reporter Jill Engledow.
He retired from the park in 1999.
For more on this story, see Saturday's Maui News.