comscore Duke Aiona's mother dies at 93 | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Duke Aiona’s mother dies at 93

  • FL MORRIS / SEPT. 18, 2010
    Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona appeared at his gubernatorial campaign headquarters on primary election night with running mate Lynn Finnegan, left, and his mother, Frances Aiona, at his side. Frances Aiona died Tuesday.

Frances Helena Lum Aiona, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona’s mother, died Tuesday from natural causes, according to an announcement from Aiona’s office. She was 93.

Aiona spoke of his mother as an inspiration during his unsuccessful campaign for governor this year and, in a campaign advertisement on his education platform sponsored by the Republican Governors Association, described his mother as an educator for more than four decades.

Aiona’s mother was a second-grade teacher at Navy Hale Keiki. His father, James Richard Aiona, died in 1983.

On election night, an emotional Aiona thanked his mother, who he said was watching the returns. "Ma, it didn’t work out," he said.

"My mom was my hero and our entire ohana is deeply saddened by her passing," Aiona said in a statement yesterday. "She was an extraordinary woman and a compassionate, tireless educator who instilled in me a lifelong love for learning and mentorship. I am at a loss for words to describe how important she was in my life and the lives of countless others. During this difficult time, Vivian (his wife) and I humbly ask for privacy while we make final arrangements."

Aiona’s family asked that, in lieu of flowers, people donate to the Reid J.K. Richards Foundation, his mother’s favorite charity. The foundation was created in 1999 in honor of Aiona’s nephew Reid, who died of cancer at 33 and was survived by a wife and two young children.

The foundation helps people, especially children, cope with bereavement.

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