Don Ho Private Memorial Service for Family, Friends

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - The day's tribute to Don Ho began with a private, one hour memorial service at 4:30 on the Diamond Head Lawn at the Sheraton Waikiki. It was attended by about 100 family and close friends.

John DeFries, who has known the family for 4 decades, explains the importance of the privacy. "This family has had to share Don with the people of Hawaii and the world. The same is true of his passing. This event is going to become very public in an hour. The family taking this time for itself and close friends is a very important thing."

The area was roped off but fans still crowded the perimeter to watch. A 76 foot long lei was given to the family - one foot for each year Ho lived. Daughter Hoku Ho took the stage in tribute to her father. When it's dad's turn to sing his trademark "I'll Remember You," Hoku cried and mouthed 'I love you,' while Don's wife Haumea teared up.

A 21-gun salute was followed by taps for Ho, an Air Force veteran. Finally, a chant or "oli" ends the memorial. Friends say Ho was humble and down to earth and that he probably wouldn't have expected this kind of fanfare because he didn't consider himself a big star.