Leinaala Teruya Drummond, former Miss Hawaii, dies at 77

Leinaala Ann Teruya Drummond, former Miss Hawaii and the face of the iconic Hawaiian Airlines...
Leinaala Ann Teruya Drummond, former Miss Hawaii and the face of the iconic Hawaiian Airlines logo, has died at 77.(Miss Hawaii Organization)
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 3:52 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 21, 2023 at 10:56 AM HST

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Leinaala Ann Teruya Drummond, former Miss Hawaii who posed for a popular photo in front of the iconic Hawaiian Airlines logo, has died at 77.

She died at Hilo Medical Center on Monday after a battle with cancer. The Miss Hawaii Organization confirmed her death in an email on Wednesday.

“Her stunning iconic smile, elegance and grace will always be remembered,” the Miss Hawaii Organization said, in an email. “Hawaii lost a talented, poised and gracious woman who touched the hearts of many across the globe.”

Drummond, who was born and raised on Maui, was crowned Miss Hawaii in 1964, becoming the first neighbor island contestant to capture the prestigious title.

At just 18 years old, the Wailuku native went on to compete in the Miss America Pageant, performing a monologue and placing in the top 10.

Her son says she was always Ms. Aloha.

“She’s really been more than anyone I’ve ever known. Just the embodiment of aloha and just always open arms. Always an open heart for everybody,” said her son Kawika Drummond.

Drummond was also selected as a model for a promotional shoot for Hawaiian Airlines, posing alongside the carrier’s Pualani logo seen today on the tail of its aircrafts. That logo was unveiled in 1973.

She was one of Danny Keleikini’s famous three hula dancers in 1976 and a co-owner of Ian’s Restaurant and Deli in Pukalani with her late husband John Robert Ian Drummond.

She was also a former Maui County councilmember and ordained pastor, her family said.

The Miss Hawaii Organization released the following statement on behalf of the Drummond family which said in part:

Leinaala spent the last three years of her life living with her daughter in the beautiful green forest of Volcano on the Big Island. She enjoyed a quiet, simple life sitting in the sunshine, taking walks in the neighborhood, shopping at her favorite weekly farmers markets, eating as much Waipio poi as she could get and swimming at Richardson Beach in Hilo. Her life will be cherished and remembered everyday by spreading the same love, light and Aloha she shared with everyone.

Drummond is survived by her son, Kawika Drummond, daughter, Christina Drummond; brother, Asa Teruya; sisters Leona Asako (John) Medeiros, Iwalani (Benjamin) Bosque, Doreen (Lee) Yamashita, Darlyn Atay, Cindy Saffery, and granddaughter Hawk Drummond Smith.

The Drummond family says a celebration of life service will be held on Maui in October. More details have yet to be determined.

This story will be updated.