Obama's tutu's life honored - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Obama's tutu's life honored

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By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) -  Hundreds turned out to pay their respects to the beloved tutu of Hawaii-born Barack Obama.

Madelyn Dunham passed away just as her grandson was elected the first African-American President of the United States.

Those who knew her best say Dunham lived life to her fullest. Always with a smile and the strength to support her family, she was admired and adored by all that knew her.

"Sunset, twilight, beautiful music, warm prayer and great recollections," said Bank of Hawaii Chief Executive Officer Al Landon.

"There's been this outpouring of love and affection from the people of Hawaii and across the country," said Hawaii Democratic Party Chair Andy Winer.

It was a night to remember Madelyn Dunham. Flowers, flags and somber faces pay tribute to a woman that was extraordinary.

"What a wonderful person she was, helpful to the people in the bank, kept them right up to the mark and they had to do it right, but she helped them," said family friend Alice Dewey.

"Court 1 Wall B" is home to Dunham's late husband and World War II Veteran Stanley Dunham. But this night at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl belongs to her memory. For her family,especially President-Elect Barack Obama, she was their rock.

A beautiful head start, a good basis as he's already started but a very good foundation for what he's going to go through," said mourner Abigail Kekaulike Kawananakoa.

Although she was relatively private in her last days, friends say there's nothing but admiration for 86-year-old Dunham. She's remembered in this special place reserved for the heroes of our country as her grandson gets ready to lead it.

While not in attendance, Dunham's grandchildren Barack Obama and Maya Soetoro-Ng did share these words of wisdom, they say:

"Although one doesn't get to choose how to die, one could determine how to live each day until that time comes. She fought to live well until her very last day. She will be greatly missed."

Meanwhile, Dunham's family says they'll have a small private ceremony for her to say their final goodbyes.