HILO — A retired Big Island police lieutenant who was decorated for heroism has died.
William “Billy” Kaleikuaiwa Lyman of Hilo died Jan. 8 at Hilo Medical Center. He was 70.
The Hilo-born Lyman, who became a private investigator and owner of Lyman’s Investigations after his 1990 retirement, was awarded the silver medal of valor for helping to save the life of a driver involved a traffic collision on Sept. 17, 1988.
It was reported in the Dec. 22, 1988, edition of the Tribune-Herald that Lyman, then a Hilo Patrol lieutenant, had just gotten off duty when he happened onto the Kaumana Drive crash and pulled a victim, whose car had burst into flames, to safety.
“That was Bill. He would put himself in the line of danger first, before others,” Lyman’s wife of 32 years, Eileen Tredway said Sunday. “He probably would have done that even if he were not a cop.”
Tredway said her husband “had a great love of family and community, was not afraid of hard work and was honest.” She called Lyman “my best friend and the love of my life.”
“He was a great storyteller,” she said, and added that three of his stories are in East Hawaii Cultural Center’s fundraising book “Aloha ‘Aina: Big Island Memories.”
He also presided over the 1992 Merrie Monarch Festival as king.
Police Chief Harry Kubojiri said that Lyman was his supervisor when Kubojiri was a patrol officer.
“I definitely liked the guy; he was a mentor of mine,” the chief said. “He was a good supervisor; he took care of the men and women who worked for him.”
During his police career Lyman also worked as a detective, and built a reputation as a skilled investigator.
“He was a homicide detective; I was a prosecutor. You remember ‘Hill Street Blues’? That was us,” said Tredway, referring to the popular 1980s TV cop drama.
Lyman was a descendant of missionaries David Belden Lyman and Sarah Joiner Lyman, who arrived in Hilo in 1832, founded the Hilo Boarding School for young Hawaiian men and built the Lyman Mission House, the oldest standing wooden structure on Hawaii Island. The house is now on the state and national historic registers and an important artifact of the Lyman Museum.
Lyman continued to be an active community leader in his retirement. He served as secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Lyman Museum and was also a past president and member of the Waiakea Lions. In addition, he was a coach and pitcher for the Hui O Na Kolohe senior softball team.
“I think Bill will leave a big hole in this community,” Tredway said. “He did so much for this community; he loved this community. He was of Hilo and for Hilo and lived his life for Hilo.”
In addition to his wife, Lyman is survived by sons, Scott A.K. Lyman of Los Angeles, Mark K. (Jen-L) Lyman of Aiea, Oahu, and Paul Kalei Lyman of Honolulu; brother, Newton S. (Monica) Lyman Jr. of Hilo; sisters, Tina L.N. Whitmarsh of Hilo, Harriet L. (Wyatt) Crumb of Waikoloa and Pearl M. (Mark Wakeland) Lyman of Hilo; two granddaughters, Kahelelani Lyman and Kuumomi Lyman of Aiea; aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
Visitation is 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday at Haili Congregational Church with a memorial service at 10:30 a.m. A gathering of family and friends will follow at a location to be announced at the service. The family requests aloha attire and that flowers be omitted.