Local leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints led the Enumclaw community Saturday in honoring a man most community members know of as a long-time public servant but who also lived a full and meaningful life guided by his strong faith.
About 200 people including local and county civic and business leaders remembered Kevin Mahelona, who The Courier-Herald reports was serving his fourth term as an Enumclaw City Councilman before he died on Nov. 16 from complications of a rare type of pneumonia, as a private man who loved his family, his church and his community.
"You could warm your hands by the fire of his faith," said LDS Church Stake President Frank Rodarte Jr.
In the week since his death was first announced, a number of local leaders and citizens have shared their memories of Mahelona, which can be seen in this Patch story thread.
Among them, fellow Councilman Jim Hogan wrote: "He was a man of honor and integrity, as well as a loving man with a great sense of humor. I learned a lot about what it means to be an elected official from him."
Mayor Liz Reynolds added: "He cared deeply for the community and brought a high level of integrity and leadership to council. I will miss him immensely and wish strength and prayers to his friends and family for the community has lost."
On Saturday, however, it was son Aaron Mahelona's eulogy honoring his father that cemented his legacy.
In the last few weeks, the challenges his family has faced have been a "whirlwind," he said, likening it to "a giant wave coming toward us."
They could see it coming, he said, but in dealing with the inevitable blow, he took a lesson from years past when dad was teaching him how to assess waves while beachside in his native Hawaii.
There were the two-foot waves you could simply hurdle over, Aaron said. Then there were the larger waves that were impossible to scale. Instead, you make yourself as small a target as possible, and "you let it just wash over you. ... You don't fight it."
Afterwards, you clear your vision and keep watch because "there's always another wave coming."
Though his father's death has been a tremendous loss, his father's guidance has served him well. "He prepared me for this today," Aaron said. In his last days, "he was absolutely courageous" and allowed that if God had wanted to take him now, so be it.
Afterall, said Aaron, "his life is a success. His mission is accomplished."