Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Grandpa Killarney

I've been wanting to share my feelings about my grandfather, my mother's father. His name was Killarney Opiopio. He was cool...Grandpa was born and raised in Hana, a remote town on the island of Maui, but moved to Oahu to attend Kamehameha School for boys (that's his senior photo up there), and after that settled on Oahu. After he graduated, he went on a sort of expedition for the U.S. Departments of Commerce & Interior to colonize remote islands 1800 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands, living off of the land, scarce food and water supplies, building their own dwellings...kind of like Survivor on TV, only real. Read about the expeditions here. (If you Google his name, other sites come up.)

A little while later, he and my grandmother, Fancey Bell from Waimea, Big Island Hawaii, married and raised their 4 kids in Honolulu, two of which were hanai (adopted) children from relatives. He was taught by the LDS (Mormon) missionaries and baptized into the LDS church when my mom was 8 years old, along with my mom and mom's sister, Lokelani (Grandma Fancey was already a member). Most of his life he worked for the Hawaii Board of Water Supply in Honolulu. He was a hard worker. He and my grandma spent their later years serving and working in the Laie, Hawaii LDS Temple. He passed away in 1977, about 3 months before I was born. This is a photo of the road to Hana. My mom now lives there and teaches at the Hana school (there is one school K-12). I've never been there. My husband, Ryan, went there once by himself on the 2-hour windy (as in zig-zag, not breezy) road to Hana in a Cadillac rental. A gallon of milk at the only grocery store there costs $9.99! I called them myself when I didn't believe my mom.

My grandma Fancey, my mother, my aunt, anyone who knew him, always had positive things to say about him. When I was 18 yo, I went to a funeral for someone from his side of the family (Emmsley or Loo?) and two of his cousins approached me after the funeral and we talked. They told me that I reminded them both of "Killarney" by the way I looked and something about me. I thought that was cool!!


  1. Wow Nance... he was handsome! He kinda looks like Zachary. I see you and a little of keke.

  2. I can't believe how much Gordon looks like your Grandpa! I'm glad he has his name for a middle name. Cool post.

  3. What an awesome story! What a legacy to leave. He definatly is nice looking. Sorry I flaked so bad PLEASE CALL!!!!!! I would love to get together!!

  4. Cool Story.
    It is always so exciting to look into our Families histories, know of their adventures and lives, and where we ultimately come from.
    (I am buddies with Moke Young in New York)


Related Posts with Thumbnails