Ben Yee, a booster and volunteer fixture around the University of Hawaii football program for the better part of four decades, died today, friends said.
He was 88.
Yee had recently been hospitalized and had undergone surgery. His death was not related to COVID-19, a spokesman said.
A veteran of the Korean War and a retired worker at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Yee’s passion was Rainbow Warrior football, a cause he devoted himself to during the reign of five head coaches beginning with Dave Holmes in 1968. During that time he served as an administrative assistant and operations director as well as filming practices, all without pay.
“You couldn’t find a guy who loved UH football more,” said Bob Wagner, who spent 20 years at UH as an assistant and as a head coach.
Along with Wagner, Yee was instrumental in starting the Noa Koa football booster club in 1987 and helped to raise money for scholarships, summer school and equipment. The most inspirational football player each year is honored with the Ben Yee Award.
“He was always there to help in any way he could and was always supportive of the players,” said Kent Untermann, a tight end in the early 1980s. “He never wanted anything for himself, it was all about helping others.”