Friends remember Bainum

Bertram Kobayashi
Bertram Kobayashi
Adriana Ramelli
Adriana Ramelli

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL)- Councilmember Duke Bainum's sudden death has left a feeling of emptiness in the many lives that he touched. Those closest to Bainum say his loss still seems so surreal, as they remember the person behind the politician.

Shock and sadness at Honolulu Hale. Heartfelt sentiments are shared, those closest to him can barely speak.

"I'm sorry, I can't do this," said close friend Bertrand Kobayashi.

Former State Senator Bertrand Kobayashi has known Duke Bainum since the 80's.

"He had energy, talent, he was not a sick man, this should not have happened," said Kobayashi.

Closest friends to community members, his death is tough to deal with.

"I was in shock like everyone else and extremely sad."It's a huge loss to the community," said Sex Abuse Treatment Center Executive Director Adriana Ramelli.

Bainum started volunteering at this sex abuse treatment center years ago, providing medical care to sex assault victims, without hesitation.

"I said, you're a doctor, I need a doctor at the sex abuse treatment center and he said, 'OK'," said Ramelli.

With a medical background, he genuinely cared for the health, welfare and well-being of others. Bainum came to Hawaii for his surgical residency. A serious politician who campaigned to cure the root of Honolulu's problems, Bainum was also a family man that wasn't afraid to smile.

"He just had this enduring way about him that I think a lot of people gravitated to," said Ramelli.

"He was quirky in that he liked to do odd things like sing Happy Birthday multiple times, he tried to inject humor, sometimes not all that well," said Kobayashi.

Each memory, each impact credited to Duke Bainum is individual. He was a politician but more importantly a person, that people respected. Aside from the politics, friends say Duke Bainum was a stand up guy with a genuine concern for others, and that he'll be missed greatly.