GK Blog 2-11-17
I'm on a 6 week tour with Nathan Aweau, And David Kahiapo and in Arcata CA for a show tonight at Humbolt University Performing Arts Center. Tomorrow we have 2 shows at the Blue note at the Napa Valley Opera House - I tried to call my friends for over 40 years Al & Elisabeth Achilles who lived in Napa in Silverado . Both of their phones were disconnected so I tried to Google them. Here's what I got!
Al and Elisabeth Achilles
Jan 27, 2016
As friends and neighbors to Al and Elisabeth Achilles we are all sad to announce their passing. Al on September 11, 2015 and Elisabeth (Liz) on December 16, 2015. Though they had no children, they adopted everyone into their family. They never met a stranger whether you were the busboy, gardener or the head chef, you were the same... “they loved the cookie maker”. After going thru the war in occupied Holland they immigrated to the Dutch Island of Aruba, where they met and married. The next step was to the United States, where Al continued his pursuit as an Electrical Engineer, Liz continued work as a pharmacist. Settling in Oakland, California they enjoyed the culture and night life of the 50’s and 60’s. In 1969, Al moved his company, Golden Gate Switchboards to Napa, this decision led to employment of many Napa natives. While working, it led to worldwide travels. Retirement led to vacations to South America, Caribbean Islands and Hawaii, all places warm. All through their life they were dedicated to The Environment and Animal Rescue Causes. Some of their passions were The Opera House, The White Barn and any venue that supported grass roots music; favorites being Steel guitar, Slack Key guitar, Steel Drum, Jazz and Classical. A special thanks to Bob and Carolyn, T.R. and Mary Jo for their kindness and support over the years. Also to Kaiser Hospice, especially Kathy and Jennifer, your home nursing. Mary Ann Florida, Emma and all the other Caregivers. As per Al and Elisabeth’s, request no services were held. Donations may be made to Kaiser Hospice, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Napa Salvation Army. Memories may be shared on-line at www.tulocaycemetery.org.
GK's memories of Al & Elisabeth Achilles.2-11-17
I first met Al & Elisabeth Achilles when I first Started playing music at the MKBH (Mauna Kea Beach Hotel) on the Big Island in 1975. During the day, I was the Director and High School Principal of Hale o Ho'oponopono an alternative Konawaena High School Program funded by Kamehameha Schools located at the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau at the City of Refuge in South Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. During the nights I played music with my brother Moses at MKBH.
Al & Elisabeth were very friendly and inquisitive & wanted to visit my school and farm and went out of their way to visit me. Then they would take us and our families out to dinner at the Old Kamehameha Hotel in Kailua Kona to eat Al's favorite, Prime Rib. Elisabeth always had Fish.
Later in the early & mid 1980's when I farmed 1200 acres of alfalfa hay and had a 500 cow calf operation & ranched in North Kohala, they visited me and again we always ate Al's treat prime rib dinner. In fact every year when they came they always were interested in what I was farming, be it growing root ginger, taro, cucumbers, green beans, pigs, ti leaf, kona coffee, Macnuts, avocados, guavas, mangos: they both followed my teaching , farm & ranching career as well as our music.
In 1992, at the closing of the MKBH for a two year renovation, My son Keoki and I moved to Maui to play music at the Westin Kaanapali, & guess what! Al & Elisabeth moved their yearly visit to Maui where we continued our yearly family visits and Prime Rib dinners at Leilani's on the Beach all the way til 2010.
In the mid 1990's when I started touring with Uncle Ray Kane & Keola Beamer, and Led Kaapana, Dennis Kamakahi and Cyril Pahinui, Al & Elisabeth would drive all the way down from Napa to watch us play at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, Yoshi's in Oakland or The Holiday inn in Chinatown , the Grest Anerican Hall and Slims in SF.
A couple of times my son Keoki and I even stayed at their home in Silverado in Napa and got to experience the cold waters of their swimming pool and go to Safeway to pick up left over vegetables, carrots, cabbages, & greens to feed to their friendly feral Deer. My son Keoki and I wanted to catch their deer and have a BBQ but we respected their relationship with their deer friends.
What I liked about Al & Elisabeth is that over a period of over 40 years, they loved not only our families and lifestyle, they also loved our music. They bought our music when it was on 8 track, 45's , vinyl LPs and CDs and brought the appropriate technology to go along with our music. They also were genuinely interested in us as Hawaiian people and our Hawaiian Culture and our families and Lifestyle . In 1994, We even wrote a song about "Jojo. "A famous wild Orphan Dolphin Al met in Aruba who would remember them every time they returned and would swim with AL when ever they returned to Aruba.
Anyway mahalo Akua for over 40 years of Friendship with Al & Elisabeth Achilles and mahalo for blessing us with their Aloha and sharing all those years of Prime Rib dinners! Will will truly miss you both at our Show at The Blue Note Napa Opera House. GK