Merv Kitashima, September 13, 2023 – The Kamehameha Schools community and the loving family of Mervlyn Kitashima are mourning the peaceful passing of a remarkable woman. Merv, as she was affectionately known, served as the Administrator of the Parents & Alumni Relations Department at Kamehameha Schools, Kapalama. On Wednesday, September 6, 2023, surrounded by her family, she left this world, leaving behind a legacy of love, leadership, and dedication.
Phillip Swain, Mervlyn Kitashima’s brother, fondly remembers her as a “force of nature.” Despite being the fourth among seven siblings who grew up together, Mervlyn, even as a young teen, assumed the role of caretaker for the younger ones in the absence of their parents. With a mix of love and gentle authority, she managed chore duties, earning her the nickname “Da Bull of Kalalea Street.”
Phillip shares that it came as no surprise to him when Mervlyn, who had been in love with Daniel Kitashima since high school, went on to have a large family of her own, blessed with seven children. In 2003, she received the prestigious honor of being named the National Mother of the Year, a testament to her devotion and nurturing spirit.
Mervlyn Kitashima was not only a dedicated mother but also a leader and master teacher in her faith. Her service extended to the Kamehameha Schools community, where she served as a parent liaison and alumni relations coordinator. She also became a highly sought-after speaker, both nationally and locally, in the field of education. However, to her family, she remained Merv, Mervy, Mom, Aunty Merv, and more—cherished roles that defined her.
Renee Ahuna Cabrinha share a post on facebook showing sympathy for Mervlyn Kitashima. She said that:
“From Phillip Swain, brother of Mervlyn Kitashima: There is a BIG empty space in our family’s heart today. Our sister, Mervlyn, passed quietly yesterday afternoon (September 6th) surrounded by her large ‘ohana. Merv, as we call her was a force of nature. Even though she was 4th in a group of 7 of us who grew up together, Merv as a young teen was generally left in charge of all the younger ones when our parents were away. She enforced chore duties with both love and a little fear. Sometimes we called her Da Bull of Kalalea street. It was no surprise, to me at least, that one day Merv would have a large (7 children) family of her own with her love since high school Daniel Kitashima. She would later be honored as 2003 National Mother of the Year. She became a leader and master teacher in our shared faith. She served many children and parents at her beloved Kamehameha Schools as a parent liaison and alumni relations coordinator. She would also go on to become a highly sought after speaker, nationally and locally in educator circles. But to us, she was still Merv, Mervy, Mom, Aunty Merv etc. We will miss and love you forever, Merv. The hole in our hearts will heal in time and be filled with amazing remembrances of you. We will see you on the other side of the rainbow”.
A memorial service to celebrate Merv Kitashima’s life will be held on September 29, 2023, at the Honolulu Hawaii Stake Tabernacle, located at 1560 S Beretania St, Honolulu, Hawaii 96826. The viewing will take place from 2 pm to 5 pm, followed by Wala’au at 6 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to the Uncle Dan E Aunty Mero Kitashima Scholarship in honor of the departed. Further information on making donations will be made available soon.
The family plans to release a detailed obituary, providing a comprehensive account of Merv Kitashima’s remarkable life and the impact she had on those around her.