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Helen Yonge Lind 1914-2013

January 29th, 2013 · 57 Comments

My mother died this morning at about 7 a.m. in a hospice house in the back of Palolo Valley.

The first photo was taken on Kahala Beach in late 1941. The second taken on Easter Sunday, 2012, during a visit to our home in Kaaawa.

1941 photo

2012 photo

Before her recent decline, she wrote her own obituary.

Here’s what she wrote, more or less. The original was written in her own hand.

Born Honolulu. Graduate Kamehameha School for Girls (before coed), and UH Manoa. Former instructor in Food Science, UH-Manoa. Also former secretary, Hawaiian Historical Society.

Survived by son, Ian Yonge Lind and wife, Meda, of Kaaawa; daughter, Bonnie (Lind) Stevens of California and Honolulu; granddaughter Christine (Lamont) Kemp and son, Kimo Lamont of Manteca, CA, and several great granddaughters.

Memorials to the Helen Yonge Lind Scholarship Fund
University of Hawaii Foundation
2444 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822

Tags: Aging & dementia · Obituaries · Photographs

57 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ohiaforest3400 // Jan 29, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Well, there you have it. It never feels the way you think it will and the way it feels changes wildly at first, more subtly over time. Know that you have many readers following the saga who send their best and look forward to sharing the good memories as you go thru photos and things in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, we wish you strength and peace.

  • 2 CiCi // Jan 29, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Best wishes to you and your family, Ian. I didn’t know her, but your writing and photos have made it perfectly clear what a beautiful woman your mom was, inside and out. I’m sure many lives have been enriched for having known her.

  • 3 bob jones // Jan 29, 2013 at 9:17 am

    so very sorry that you’ve lost your father and your mother over such a short period of time, and had to deal in both cases with their lingering lives.

  • 4 Nancy Cook Lauer // Jan 29, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Ian, Thank you so much for the insightful journey you led us on as you chronicled your mother’s passing. My condolences to you and your family, and I know you will find comfort in the fact that she lived a very long and full life on this earth.

  • 5 Reader // Jan 29, 2013 at 9:22 am

    We are so honored that you have shared this with us. Peace and comfort to you and your family.

  • 6 gigi-hawaii // Jan 29, 2013 at 9:26 am

    What a beautiful woman she was, inside and out! My condolence to you and your family, Ian.

  • 7 Skeeter // Jan 29, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Condolences to your family. Thank you, for sharing your mother’s beautiful life.

  • 8 Ray Barrington // Jan 29, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Steph and I send our condolences. I went through the same thing with my mom back in 2001, and even though it has been coming for a while and in some ways is welcome, it is still a stunning and sad moment. Hope all is well with you and your family.

  • 9 Gary // Jan 29, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Ian…my condolences for your loss. Be comforted in the fact that your mom lived a full life and produced a great son.

  • 10 April // Jan 29, 2013 at 9:47 am

    My dear friend, the stars shine brighter in the heavens tonight. Thank you for sharing all the wonderful stories, histories, and lessons from both of your parents over these years. And keep them coming. I know you’ve got more! Love and aloha to you and your Ohana.

  • 11 Denby Fawcett // Jan 29, 2013 at 9:55 am

    One never gets over the loss of a mother. Well-meaning friends might will probably try to comfort you saying your mother had a long life. But her longevity only makes her death more difficult. Your mother has been a part of your life for nearly a hundred years. My condolences.

  • 12 Penelope Quin // Jan 29, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I feel your pain. Much love to you all.

  • 13 Bart Dame // Jan 29, 2013 at 10:14 am

    You have my best wishes, Ian. Sorry for the loss of your mother. Thank you for sharing aspects of her life, her passing and your thoughts during the this period. It has been very helpful to me as I prepare for the passing of my own parents.


  • 14 Malcolm // Jan 29, 2013 at 10:48 am

    “Now cracks a noble heart! Good-night, sweet princess. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

  • 15 kimo in kailua // Jan 29, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I’d like to echo Bob and Denby’s comments.

  • 16 Wm. Drew Bertrand // Jan 29, 2013 at 10:58 am

    May she rest in Peace. My deepest condolences to you and your family.


  • 17 laurie // Jan 29, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Aloha no Ian, Bonnie and Meda, and aloha no Helen. Thinking of you all. Thank you Ian. Wishing you peace and comfort. Ian, you are a great son.

  • 18 Hugh Clark // Jan 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Take time to grieve. Age has little to do with the demise of a parent. Remember the warmth and good times, as you have shared already. Know she is free of pain but expect a lingering emptiness.

    And thank you for your openness. I know little first hand of Hospice but I keep hearing mostly positive. As Bob Jones suggested, maybe you can pen an article n coping with pending death since you have been dealt a doubleheader in a short time frame. Treasure those written memories and photos. Aloha.

  • 19 Martha // Jan 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Others have said all I would have and much more eloquently. Mahalo for sharing you journey. Your parents were truly Na hulu makua

  • 20 Tim // Jan 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Our Condolences to you and your family, Ian. She will rest in peace.

  • 21 Jon L. // Jan 29, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    my condolences to you and your family ian. you have shared this with great love and respect.

  • 22 Friends of Ms. Maka // Jan 29, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Our thoughts are with you. I echo the thanks of others for sharing all this. It will make it easier for me when the time comes with my mother. Best, Peter & Deena

  • 23 MakikiBarb // Jan 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Ian–I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. It has been fascinating to learn about your mother, as well as follow her last days, in your blog. You have my deepest sympathy.


  • 24 Raleigh // Jan 29, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I am sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. It is always difficult for those left behind no matter how inevitable or expected the death may be. And, as others have said, thanks for sharing. I hope that it is therapeutic for you in coping with the loss.

  • 25 Cathy Goeggel // Jan 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Ian-please accept my condolences- and mahalo for sharing such intimate and loving memories and thoughts.

    I don’t know if there is an after life, but if there is, I think that genealogists will have great fun meeting all the ancestors they have researched, comparing notes and filling in those pukas that they could not find on this side.

  • 26 WooWoo // Jan 29, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    She lives on in all she touched in life, which includes those of us here that been so fortunate to have known her through your blog.

  • 27 Curtis // Jan 29, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    My condolences . May she rest in peace. Aloha.

  • 28 aikea808 // Jan 29, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    My deepest condolences, Ian. Your Mother lead a beautiful and full life, as you know. She knew when it was time to say “Aloha” – and though she is gone from your vision, she’ll always be close to you with your loving thoughts of her.

  • 29 Kat // Jan 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Love to you, Bonnie and Meda, Ian. Mahalo piha for sharing your beautiful Mom with us. We have been enriched by her and continue to be grateful to have you and Meda in our lives.
    Kat & Henry

  • 30 jb // Jan 29, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Ian, Meda and Bonnie…Condolences on the loss of your Mom.

    Ian, I will be ever grateful you were able to share your family with me. The insights of the life lessons you spoke of taught me things and you showed me, through your parents, what Hawaii was like so many years ago.
    Peace be with you all!

  • 31 Leslie Lang // Jan 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    My condolences and best wishes to you all. So sorry she’s gone but glad that she seems to have gone very comfortably. I too feel honored to have been a part of the vigil, and to have known a bit of her through you.

  • 32 Alex Salkever // Jan 29, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Very sorry. But happy she seemed to have had such a wonderful life. Something we all can aspire to.

  • 33 Nancy // Jan 29, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Lots of aloha to you, Ian, and to Meda. Thank you for sharing this difficult and personal period with your readers. As you can see, it’s meant a lot to so many and I hope that it provided a kind of balm for you to write over the last couple weeks, too. I will always think of your mom and her commitment to making that great mango chutney every year. And, even though we haven’t met, I really send along to Bonnie, who was there practically 24-7 and will feel, no doubt, a mixture of many feelings in this new void.
    Love, Nancy

  • 34 damon // Jan 29, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    What a beautiful lady she was!

    I wish I could have documented my mom’s recent passing as well as you have done.

    Mahalo for the memories.

  • 35 Cindy Newburg // Jan 29, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I thought about your Mom today and wondered how it was going for her. I am sad to hear that she is gone. Even tho I never met her I feel like know her. Thank you for sharing her life with us.

  • 36 L.R. // Jan 29, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    In my classes at UHH, I’ve actually shown the interview you recorded with her about her time at Kamehameha. (I hope I haven’t infringed on you!) She shed such clear light on that time of her own life as well as that era in Hawai’i. So she has reached even more folks, on a neighboring isle, than she might have imagined. Mahalo, Helen Lind, for a wise and illuminating perspective. We admired you from afar. Mahalo, too, and deep condolences, Ian and Meda, for keeping the light burning.

  • 37 Merry Lee // Jan 29, 2013 at 11:06 pm

    What wonderful tributes to your mother you have posted. As the mother of a grown son, I can assure you that your mother felt honored by your devotion…and that it made all the difference in her acceptance of having to leave you.

  • 38 aikea808 // Jan 29, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I’m so sorry I left out Bonnie in my first comment – it wasn’t intentional at all. :-(

    Thank you, dear Bonnie, for caring so wonderfully for your Mom. It was a blessing for her to have you there, for sure.

    The night before my Mom stopped communicating with us, she said one thing to me that I’ll never forget. I had the 10 pm. to – 7 am. shift so my Dad could sleep. Around 3 am, as I adjusted her bed sheet that had bunched up under her, she said to me, “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

    When your in that helpless position, as she was, you appreciate all that is done for you. I don’t know if your Mother ever mentioned it – but trust me, she felt the same way as my Mom did.

  • 39 Gordon Pang // Jan 30, 2013 at 7:32 am

    My deepest condolences to you, Meda and your family.

    I don’t think I’m contradicting what Denby said by saying your mother certainly did live a very full and rich life that should be celebrated and applauded. You’ve documented that so well here.

    And yes, thank you for chronicling the journeys of both your parents. It’s made me think twice about how I deal with my own parents, as well as contemplate my own mortality.

  • 40 Keith Rollman // Jan 30, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Sorry to hear the news. Sincerest condolences to you and your family.

  • 41 cwd // Jan 30, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Aloha to all of you.

    Jim & Shannon

  • 42 Mr. Mike in Hilo // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Best wishes to you and Bonnie in this time of sorrow. Like others of your readers, I am grateful for the opportunity to to take part in the vigil. I treasury your wonderful photograph of her hands.

  • 43 Ian Lind // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Thanks for sharing her observations on that period in Hawaii history with your students.

  • 44 Patty // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:15 am

    How fortunate but perhaps painful, too, to have had both your parents live such a long life!

  • 45 Manoa Kahuna // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:41 am


    Thank you for sharing your mother’s life. Sincerest condolences to you and your family.

  • 46 Ulu // Jan 30, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I felt I knew her from what you wrote over the years. I am very sorry for our loss.

  • 47 Gail // Jan 30, 2013 at 11:34 am

    My deepest condolences to your family Ian. What a wonderful and lovely woman. But she lives on in all of you – and her spirit will be there for you always. Aloha

  • 48 Jay Robertson // Jan 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Condolences from a Faithful Reader.

  • 49 maunawilimac // Jan 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    May she and her ohana be at peace. And may the memories reflected in her photos never fade.

  • 50 Rich // Jan 30, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Condolences to you Ian. Reading your account brought back memories of my mom’s passing a few years ago. Similar circumstances…

    While I found it quite difficult coming to terms with my mom no longer being around, I found comfort in knowing she was probably much happier moving on.

  • 51 carol // Jan 30, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Sorry to hear about your mom…condolences.

  • 52 Ian Lind // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Yesterday morning, Boogie was happily in with your dogs when we started our walk!

  • 53 Nelson Ho // Jan 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Condolences to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your Mom’s life with your friends and readers.

  • 54 Kalowena Komeiji // Jan 31, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Ian: condolences on the passing of your Mom. Thank you also for sharing such an insightful piece with everyone.

  • 55 johnp // Feb 1, 2013 at 7:27 am

    condolences … you are her legacy … it was wonderful to learn about her life through you

  • 56 Joe // Feb 20, 2013 at 2:04 am

    Belated condolences to you and your family. Sounds like she was one heck of a lady.

  • 57 Ian Lind // Feb 20, 2013 at 5:39 am

    Thank you, Joe. Very much appreciated.

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