De Naie said she considered him a family friend and visited him several times during the last few months, including the night before he died. She said that two weeks ago, she jotted down notes from a conversation she had with him about the restoration of Honokowai Valley.
She said the Honokowai Valley restoration project is one of the best in the state. “It really gave people a chance to have an authentic experience of Hawaii,” she said.
While many know Lindsey for his environmental causes and his expertise in Hawaiiana, de Naie said he also had a passion for affordable housing and social justice for local residents.
“He was ever the caring person,” de Naie said.
Randy Awo, chief of enforcement in Maui County for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said he knew Lindsey for years through his professional endeavors.
But, “I came to know him on a personal level, as well,” Awo said, learning from Lindsey about love for the land and growing to appreciate his and other Native Hawaiians’ perspective.
“I’d grown to have aloha for him,” Awo said. “He touched a lot of lives. He inspired a lot of people and that’s how his work will live on.”
Maui County Council Member Jo Anne Johnson said she visited with Lindsey this past weekend and sang songs with him and to him along with other friends.
“It meant a lot to me to be with him and his family,” she said.
Johnson said she attended Waiola Church, the same place of worship for the Lindsey family.
She said that through all his years of advocacy, Lindsey encouraged positive thinking. “What Ed would always stay away from was negativity,” Johnson recalled. “He would say ‘Don’t give it life. Don’t give it life.’ ”
Lindsey, who was born in 1939, was a boarding student at Kamehameha Schools on Oahu, and after graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, according to the County Council resolution. He pursued studies at Maunaolu Junior College where in 1961 he met and fell in love with his wife of 45 years, Puanani Doong Lindsey. The couple had three children.
Lindsey began his career as a teacher in Hana and after four years, transferred to Iao Intermediate School in Wailuku, where he specialized in teaching Hawaiian and social studies. He retired from teaching after 25 years of service.
The Sierra Club presented Lindsey with its Malama Ka Aina Award in 2006. In April, he was honored with the Malama I Ke Kai Kupuna Award at the More Fish in the Sea ocean-awareness fair.
Mayor Charmaine Tavares offered her condolences to the Lindsey family.
“Our community has lost an important leader,” she said. “His many contributions have made our island better in so many ways. He gave us a lifetime of remarkable work as a teacher and an active member of our community. I knew Ed when we were both teachers, and even then he had a drive to galvanize people to action.”
Funeral arrangements were pending.
* Claudine San Nicolas can be reached at email@example.com.