Tuesday, November 24, 2015         


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‘Mr. Magic’ always made the customer the star

By Ben Wood


BOBBY “MR. MAGIC” Acoba, 71, who died May 13, gained fame over the years for doing magic tricks behind the bar for customers. Bobby was working at Sarento’s until mid-February when he was diagnosed with leukemia. He underwent treatment and was in remission, according to his daughter, Jodee Acoba-Suganuma. But he started feeling bad two to three weeks before his death from pneumonia complications, she said. Besides Sarento’s, Bobby entertained customers while bartending at Aaron’s, Nicholas Nickolas, Nick’s Fishmarket, Chart House, Red Vest, the Ilikai at poolside and at the Top of the I, and Honolulu Club. A people person, Bobby was a charity volunteer and taught judo, wrestling and volleyball to youngsters. A longtime friend summed him up this way: “Although he was the ‘attraction’ no matter where he worked, Bobby always made the customer or friend or co-worker feel like the most important person in the room. Not many are able to pull that off, mostly because it has to be from the heart.” Visitation will be today from 6 to 9 p.m. at Borthwick’s with a service at 7 p.m., and tomorrow from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. with a prayer service at 10:30 a.m. Burial will follow at 1 p.m. at Hawaiian Memorial Park. …

THE WEDDING reception of Jany Cataldo and Charles Davenport on May 21 was somewhat of a family reunion. Jany’s ex, Bill Cataldo, threw the party for them and 50 guests at his large Kahala property. Not many guys would do that for an ex. Jany and Bill’s young adult children, Anthony and Elizabeth, flew in from California, as did the newlyweds. Jany’s pals Amanda Abe and Keiko Miyanago helped line up party guests. Jany and Charles were married March 28 in L.A. …

JANY’S FORMER Diamond Head neighbor Sheila Watu­mull tossed a dinner party for her and Charles at Spices on May 23. The restaurant is normally closed on Mondays, but it was opened exclusively for the party of about 20. One of Jany and Sheila’s neighborly fellas, Jim Nabors, could not attend because he was off to the Indianapolis 500. Jim has been singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” at the event for years. Sunday’s 500 was the 100th for the grand race. …

WOOD CHIPS: Town & Country magazine’s June/July issue reports that President Barack Obama’s Washington golf course of choice is Andrews Air Force Base, which has three championship courses. The mag says he has a 22 handicap and usually plays with White House staffers and occasionally “old pals from Hawaii.” Unfortunately, the old pals were not named. Any old pals from Punahou come to mind? … Hula Grill, fronting the ocean at Outrigger Waikiki, is marking its seventh anniversary today from 3 to 5 p.m. Bar proceeds will benefit the Waikiki School Food Farm. … The colorful Iona Contemporary Dance Theatre presents “Destiny” at the Hawaii Theatre Center on June 18 at 8 p.m. and June 19 at 4 p.m. …


Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin on Honolulu streets in World War II, writes of people, places and things.

Email him at bwood@staradvertiser.com.

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