A hui hou

In the new year, we remember those who left us in 2018


In 2018, Maui County lost a talented falsetto singer, notable attorneys, a pioneer whale researcher and advocates for children, families and animals.

Here is a look back at some of Maui County’s notable residents who died in 2018.

Greg Kaufman, 63

Feb. 10, 2018

Greg Kaufman founded the Pacific Whale Foundation in 1980 in response to humpback whales being brought to near extinction by commercial whaling.


Foundation members in the ’80s went on commercial snorkel boats out of Lahaina Harbor and gave talks about whales and tried to sell T-shirts to support their research. Kaufman lectured at hotels. The activities were the start of the foundation’s for-profit arm, which today includes two retail stores on Maui, whale watching and snorkeling trips, cocktail and evening cruises, and stargazing excursions.

Today, the foundation has more than 200 employees and also publishes research findings on marine mammal behavior and the threats they face. The organization works with a variety of international nonprofits and government agencies to protect the ocean through science and advocacy, said Paul Forestell, chairman of the board.

Richard Ho’opi’i Sr., 76

March 15, 1941-March 3, 2018

Richard Ho’opi’i, known as “Uncle Richard,” was half of the Ho’opi’i Brothers duo with late brother Solomon.


Ho’opi’i was a falsetto singer who learned ukulele at an early age. He and Solomon played at family gatherings and in church.

There they learned the Hawaiian hymns that would later influence their music and recordings.

In the 1970s, they formed the Ho’opi’i Brothers and began performing at concerts and hula festivals. They released their first album, “No Ka Oi,” in 1975.

The brothers received a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship in 1996. The duo also received other awards, including from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts.

Even without his brother, Uncle Richard played at county and community events in his later years.


Leland N. Schulenburg, 80

March 10, 1938-May 26, 2018

Leland Schulenburg was largely known as the general manager at the old F.W. Woolworth Store at the Maui Mall from 1973 to 1996. He was also on the company’s top 10 Woolworth producers list nationwide.

Schulenburg also acted as chairman of the Maui County Fair and Better Living Building for many years. He sat on the boards of St. Anthony School, Maui Country Club, VIP Foodservice, Hospice Maui and others.

Schulenburg, nicknamed “Coach,” helped create interscholastic soccer leagues and helped grow Maui’s basketball league.


He was remembered as being kind and generous: He donated sports uniforms to Hana students and he gave job opportunities to anyone who showed an interest in working.

Fred Rohlfing, 89

Nov. 2, 1928-Aug. 10, 2018

Fred Rohlfing was a Maui County corporation counsel and a Republican who was liked even by Democrats.

In 2010, he published a memoir and commentary, “Island Son, The Life and Times of Hawaii’s Republican Reformer,” which was hailed by Karl Rove, a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.


Rohlfing was elected to Hawaii’s first state Legislature after statehood. He served 21 years in the state House and Senate.

He also served as an attorney general and Honolulu liaison officer for American Samoa and two terms as a U.S. alternate representative to the South Pacific Commission (New Caledonia).

In 1984, Rohlfing moved to Maui and worked as a deputy corporation counsel for the county. Later, he was promoted to corporation counsel in the administration of Mayor Hannibal Tavares.

Robert ‘Bob’ Sullivan, 95

Jan. 12, 1923-May 23, 2018

Bob Sullivan, as a paratrooper with the 6th British Airborne Division, 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, parachuted behind enemy lines to fight Nazis on D-Day.

In an interview with The Maui News in 2014, the West Maui resident recalled he was armed with grenades, a stiletto knife strapped to his leg and a Sten gun when he jumped. When on the ground, he and others survived an intense allied bombing run by jumping into a ditch.

He later was wounded three times, including once when shrapnel embedded in his back.

He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

Eventually Sullivan and his family made their way to Maui in 1969.

He was involved with the development of homes at Wahikuli, Puna Point and Mahana and Kapalua resort.

He started Sullivan & Conlen, which became Sullivan Properties.

Suzie Schwab, 64

Dec. 16, 1953-July, 22, 2018

Suzie Schwab and her husband, Sylvan, founded the East Maui Animal Refuge in 1977. Later known as the Boo Boo Zoo, it is a no-kill, all-volunteer, nonprofit rehabilitation sanctuary for injured and orphaned animals.

It was a unique therapy program for Suzie, who had been diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer.

Schwab, who came to Maui after opening an atlas, closing her eyes and pointing, was drawn to the weakest animals who seemed to have little chance of surviving. It gave her strength to fight her illness.

The program began in the parking lot of a Maalaea condominium and finally settled in Haiku.

Because all the animals arrive at the refuge with injuries or “boo-boos,” it became known as the Boo Boo Zoo.

At the time of Schwab’s death, the sanctuary housed about 500 animals, including three dozen deer, more than 60 goats, hundreds of birds and more than 100 cats.

Lucy Feinberg, 70

July 29, 1948-July 31, 2018

When she moved to Maui in 1986, Lucy Feinberg became a champion for families affected by child abuse and neglect, domestic violence and mental health challenges.

She was a supervisor at Child Protective Services in the 1980s, a supervisor at Alternatives to Violence, the longtime administrator of Child and Family Services and regional director of Parents and Children Together (PACT) until she retired in 2016.

She spoke out about domestic violence in the media and sought to get the community involved.

After retirement, she volunteered in many areas, including chairwoman of the Maui County Children’s Justice Committee and was a member of Organizing for Action, Mom’s Demand Action, Maui Peace Action, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, Hawaii Islands Land Trust and Sierra Club.

Auriol Flavell, 94

Dec. 6, 1923-Nov. 15, 2018

Auriol Flavell was a longtime philanthropist and patron of the arts.

She was one of the founding members of the board of the Maui Pops Orchestra and was a founding member of the Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation. She was also a sponsor and producer for the Maui Academy of Performing Arts and on the board of the Maui Philharmonic Society.

Flavell would attend performances regularly, give away tickets, underwrite performances (she supported “Les Miserables” at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center) and bring artists to Maui, such as concert pianist Hyperion Knight.

In 2014, the Maui Pops established the Auriol Flavell Student Scholarship Fund for young musicians, awarded annually for Maui students to study music in college.

In earlier years, Flavell was also hands-on, answering telephones in the office of the old Maui Youth Theater in Puunene. She would pick up children from school and drive them to the theater and bring lunches for office staff.

She also supported the Baldwin Theatre Guild and Seabury Hall’s performing arts program.

Her generosity also spanned other nonprofits, including Hale Kau Kau, St. Theresa Church’s daily meals program for homeless and homebound residents.

Richard Minatoya, 51

March 16, 1967-Nov. 18, 2018

Richard Minatoya was a deputy prosecutor for Maui County in charge of the appellate and asset forfeiture division, which handles appeals, post-conviction petitions and federal habeas corpus cases. The section also provides in-house training and tracks legislation.

His work included serving as a member of the Criminal Jury Instruction Committee and the Criminal Rules Committee for the state Supreme Court.

Minatoya was named a board member of the National District Attorneys Association in July 2017. The organization calls itself the voice of America’s prosecutors.

He was also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Kahului, University of Southern California Alumni Association, Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce and Maui 442nd Veterans Club.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.