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Taps: James Kawai III

August 2, 2021

James Kawai III, age 81, passed from this life to be with our Lord Jesus Christ on July 14, 2021. James was born on March 8, 1940 in Honolulu.

James graduated from Farrington High School in 1958 and then served in the Hawaii Air National Guard for 10 years. He earned a B.A. in Social Studies in 1974 from the University of Hawaii Manoa.  

James married his true love, Mary Elizabeth Williams in 1966 and celebrated 55 years of marriage on July 2, 2021.

James worked as a Jail Guard at HPD’s Halawa Jail, before serving as a Police Officer with the Honolulu Police Department, where he retired after 25 years of service as a Police Detective at the Pearl City Police Station. After retirement James worked at Nanakuli and Waipahu High School as a Truancy Officer, Daniel K. Inouye International Airport as an LEO Supervisor, and Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort as a Security Officer.

James served the Lord as a member of Kalihi Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of Pearl City.  

James loved coaching youth football as Head Coach for the Leeward Chargers, Pearl City Chargers, and Pearl City High School J.V. Football team. 

James is predeceased by parents, James Kawai, Jr., and Grace Tong Kawai; sisters Maydelle, Charming and Blossom; brothers Lemuel Sr., Beldon, Jonathan, and Leighton. James is survived by wife, Mary; daughters, Kehau Pong and husband Jeffrey, Malia Kaliloa and husband Joey; sons, James Kawai IV and wife Melanie, and Gavin Kawai; eleven grandchildren, Joshua, Kristen Curran and husband Joshua, Micah, Kaylen, Jasen, Kelsey, Ilihia, James V, Kia’i, Kahulu, and Makia; and six great grandchildren Jayci-Lyn, Joseph-James, Jahreah, Jahzel, Cali, and Jaxon; one brother Vaughn and wife Julie of Honolulu; and many other relatives.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. 

Retiree News extends heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends.


James’ younger brother Lemuel Aweau was a full-time technician in the Consolidated Base Personnel Office (CBPO) until he graduated from college and started his teaching and music career.

Another brother Vaughn Kawai served in the 154th Supply Squadron for several years before leaving to continue his college education in Kansas. Vaughn became a teacher and later a school principal

From → History

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