Hundreds gather to remember Loretta Fuddy

Published: Dec. 21, 2013 at 4:12 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 22, 2013 at 1:02 PM HST
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State lawmakers were in attendance including Lieutenant Gov. Shan Tsutsui, Sen. Clarence...
State lawmakers were in attendance including Lieutenant Gov. Shan Tsutsui, Sen. Clarence Nishihara, Sen. Jill Tokuda and Sen. Michelle Kidani.
Loretta Fuddy's family members saying their last farewells.
Loretta Fuddy's family members saying their last farewells.

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of people turned out Saturday morning at the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa for the funeral services of Hawaii State Health Director Loretta Fuddy.

Fuddy, 65, who died last week after the single-engine plane she was riding, a Makani Kai Cessna Grand Caravan, crashed into the ocean off Kalaupapa, Molokai.

Friends, family, church members and others filed past her casket in front of the church before the funeral Mass. Those who came included several state lawmakers, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui and other cabinet members.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie spoke before the service, and presented her family with a Hawaii state flag.

"Loretta is one with infinity today," the governor told the gathering. "Loretta, may you have joy and light and continue to sing."

One of the most emotional moments of the day came when Richard Schuman, the CEO of Makani Kai Helicopters and Charters, broke down as he paid his respects to the family. Schuman was hugged warmly by Fuddy's sister, Cynthia Bunch, who appeared to comfort him.

The service itself began with Fuddy's fellow choir members singing her favorite hymn, "Here I am, Lord."

Her priest remembered meeting her for the first time seven and-a-half years ago. "I had my defenses up, but the person that I met was humble, smart, cheerful and soulful," said the Rev. William Kunisch, rector of St. Theresa.

All those who came said Fuddy was very valuable, as the state's point person on health issues, as a member of the St. Theresa choir, or as a friend.

"She was very valuable to the cabinet of the governor, but like I said, the people have lost someone very, very precious," said state Sen. Michelle Kidani (D), the vice chair of the senate Ways and Means Committee.

"I think when you have someone who cares so much for people, and is able to serve in such a humble way, we're going to miss her a lot," said a tearful Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland (D), who chairs the Senate Human Services Committee.

Many members of the health department also attended.

"I think this helps bring some closure to all of us, to her blood family and her Department of Health family," said Deputy Health Director Gary Gill. "We're going to carry on in her spirit and in the Department of Health. She's left us a very aggressive agenda, some very important things to do, some work that remains unfinished, and we will set about it with all of our hearts and all of our spirit."

Fuddy's burial services will be private.

Previous story: Hawaii Health Director dies in Molokai plane crash

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