Sadly, Abe passed away unexpectedly on October 2, 2018. His life and credentials were immediately and widely honored throughout the Pacific and thoroughly summarized in the various news organizations, examples of which which can be seen here and here
The family remembers Utu Abe not so much for these extraordinary credentials, but mostly for the friend he was to all of us over the years. We most recently relied on his advice and suggestions in navigating certain problems, and in identifying people who could help with our interests or ideas. He invariably led us to good people. Our positive memories go back much further in time. He remembered with great glee as a young child how he would come and go to the Kneubuhl store, when Lena was working there, and how she would always give him apples! He could not talk about that without a broad smile. He adored John and Dotsy, and visited them often as a young man at Olo. Dotsy taught him to play the recorder so they could play duets,and it turns out she gave him a real wooden one, a rare gift for her, since she typically gave her musical recruits mere plastic ones. Throughout their friendship, John nurtured his educational goals and penchant for literature and the fine arts. He was thrilled to learn that a Kneubuhl cousin works at Harpers Magazine in NYC (that would be Adrian), and reported with delight that when his 7th grade English teacher made Harpers available to him, he became and he an avid Harpers reader for the rest of his life. When Dotsy died in 2004, he made an entirely voluntary effort, and spontaneously gave a long and heartfelt eulogy about his relationship with the family. We are trying to restore the (poor) audio made at the time.
Despite his wish to remain outside the conflicts, he continued to press for good communication and active conversations. We arranged a formal first meeting with him at the Honolulu airport hotel, and found ourselves amazed that we were to wait in line for our appointment- many, many people would routinely wait their turn to speak to him there. It was his other office! In this way, he bridged the off-island Hawaii community with their home town. After that visit, he went out of his way to talk more and in greater depth. Abe would walk the length of Waikiki Beach, always in a fresh aloha shirt and always with new white sneakers, to visit and learn with us at the Otani Hotel at Diamond Head. He loved the long walk and would always stay for one or two hours. Like the seventh grade teacher he adored, he always wanted the conversation to go to a higher place for the good of everyone. He wanted to know all of us. He kept abreast of the litigations by email, and was pleased when the Olo portion was concluded. We had so looked forward to his leadership in the years to come. He will be missed, and we are confident his successor will be glad he came before them.