Kauai community remembers Mayor Bryan Baptiste

Julie Souza
Julie Souza

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

LIHUE, Kauai (KHNL) - Hawaii remembers Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste who died while recovering from bypass surgery.

Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste died Sunday on Kauai after apparently going into cardiac arrest. The 52-year-old was recovering from heart bypass surgery he had in Honolulu about a week earlier.

A helping hand at a community event, the person who pushed for the progress of Kauai. Those that knew Mayor Bryan Baptiste best say they can't believe he's gone.

The headlines are hitting home hard. This office once full of love, life and the legacy of a great leader Mayor Bryan Baptiste, now sits empty.

"When I went to visit him in the hospital he said ' What are you doing here? You shouldn't be here, I'm fine' that was the type of man he was," said colleague Julie Souza.

Baptiste's co-workers say whether it was promoting the Kauai community on the silver screen or helping dislocated Aloha Airlines workers, genuine care and concern for his people was the signature of his success.

"He was someone who believed in community and volunteerism and going out in the community and working the community in different projects," said colleague Kauai Tanaka.

Chartering a course for Kauai based on inclusion and community, his vision for the island was about vitality.

"The lord has another plan for him to continue and he has taught us all of the right things to continue his legacy," said Souza.

"I think Kauai has suffered a great loss and as time goes by we'll understand just how great our loss is," said Councilmember Tim Bynum.

A life of learning and legacy, this mayor's mantra will live on.

"Keeping the Aloha spirit alive and appreciating each other, where we are, where we come from and our aina," said Tanaka.

"He will be missed by all of the people of Kauai," said Souza.

For now, Baptiste's assistant will fill his role until a temporary mayor will be selected amongst current councilmember.

There will be a general election later this year to fill Baptiste's vacancy.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.