A West Hawaii woman known for her community service and advocacy for Native Hawaiian issues has died.
Ruby Keanaaina McDonald, 70, died early Monday morning.
McDonald was the West Hawaii liaison for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. She was previously a member of the Hawaii Island Burial Council, participated in the Kona Hawaiian Civic Club and served on a cultural advisory committee for Pohakuloa Training Area, among other organizations.
Former North Kona Councilman Curtis Tyler served with McDonald in several organizations and committees. He said McDonald had an extensive knowledge of Kona’s history, including a solid grasp on families’ ancestral ties to the area.
“She committed her life to helping Hawaiians and helping local folks, especially families,” Tyler said. “Her knowledge of different families and their history was always invaluable. She was a very valuable resident of this community and will be greatly missed by many.”
Tyler said McDonald was also forthright and straightforward. If she didn’t know the answer to a question, she would tell the person asking it, Tyler said.
But more often, she knew the right person to talk to, or which family would be affected by a particular proposal, he said.
Her deep knowledge of West Hawaii will be difficult to replace, he said.
“Ruby was very generous in sharing info with people that she knew would utilize it properly,” Tyler said.
He said she died “before her time.”
“She just was a very valuable and wonderful soul,” Tyler said.
Service information was pending. Arrangements will be by A Hui Hou. — WHT