By Minna Sugimoto
KAIMUKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Many residents and business owners near 10th Avenue in Kaimuki are saddened by the death of an elderly pedestrian Tuesday night. They say they always looked forward to seeing him during his daily walks through the neighborhood.
Family members say Dickey Lau was born in Hawaii and attended Puuhale Elementary in Kalihi before moving to China. He returned to Oahu when he was 30 years old, and for the next 50-plus years still lived like he was 30.
A father of four and grandfather of seven, Dickey Lau was looking forward to a big birthday party on July 30th when he would have turned 88 years old, a lucky year for the Chinese.
At a check-up last month, his doctor gave him a clean bill of health.
"He wanted to show that he could walk longer and farther and get stronger everyday," Shirley Yoshida, Lau's daughter, said.
But on Tuesday, he didn't make it home. Police say Lau was walking across 10th Avenue near Kaau Street at about 8 PM, when a 2002 Nissan Quest van plowed into him.
His sudden death stunned 10th Avenue business owners, who called him a fixture in the neighborhood.
"You could tell his mind was sharp still yet, you know," Wayne Takushi, North Shore Grinds, said.
Just hours before the crash, Lau made his regular stop at the Aloha gas station convenience store for a manapua and coffee. He then sat down to read his newspaper at North Shore Grinds, where he often enjoyed the beef stew and chicken long rice.
"I found out that he passed away and oh my God, you know," Takushi said. "We just saw him yesterday in the morning over here and now he's gone."
At 87 years old, neighbors say Lau -- who retired as a maintenance supervisor at the Halekulani -- still kept busy with projects around his home.
"He was working on his roof for about two weeks straight, working on his house, up on ladders," Zoe Moriwaki, crash victim's neighbor, said. "He was really independent and he had this really funny side to him. He'd always have this smile on his face."
Yoshida says it's ironic that her father was killed in a traffic incident. She and her husband are driver's education instructors.
"We're constantly reminding people about driving habits and to be safe and to look out for people," she said.
There is a crosswalk in the area, but investigators say it's unclear if Lau was in it.
The driver of the van, a 78-year-old man who lives near the crash site, was not hurt.
This is Oahu's eighth pedestrian fatality of the year. There were also eight pedestrian deaths at this time last year.