Lila Mary Anderson 87, passed away on February 28, 2018. She was born to Louisa and Mariano Calvo in North Kohala on September 10, 1930, the fifth of nine children.
Lila enjoyed singing at a young age and performed throughout her life in high school plays, weddings, church solos, church choir performances, school, and family gatherings. She loved sacred Christian music, and her favorite songs were, “Amazing Grace” and “This is My Story”. Her passion was gardening and she woke up early everyday to work in her yard. Her favorite flowers were gardenia and puakenikeni. Sewing was another activity that she enjoyed, especially hand stitching.
Lila graduated from Kohala High School in 1948. She moved to Honolulu where there were more job opportunities and lived with the DeRego family. She had many jobs, including babysitting and as a lei greeter at Ocean Liners, before she got a job as an usherette at the Waikiki Theatre. Having a good singing voice was required for the position. Their choir, named Waikiki Theatre Girls Chorus, sang before films and on other special occasions. Leighton and Lila started dating in 1951 while she worked at the Waikiki Theatre. While raising her family, Lila later worked as a midnight telephone operator for the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Moana Hotel. After years of working midnight hours she felt called to work as a preschool teacher for the Windward Nazarene Academy. She loved her job teaching preschoolers and her students loved her. Lila retired after 20 years there. She was very much loved throughout the community and it was amazing to see the wonderful people that approached her so many years later wanting to tell her about their children that had been her students.
Leighton joined the Marines and was stationed in Santa Ana, California. Lila joined him there and they were married on June 6, 1952. For a short time they lived in San Clemente. They returned to Hawaii and started a family, including Lynne KuuAloha, Lei Mamo, Lesley Manulani, Leith Kealiiokahikina and Lance Kanehoalani. One of Lila’s proudest moments and fondest memories was when she and Leighton were able to purchase their own home in Kaneohe that had a beautiful view of the Koolau Mountain Range in 1964. Their home was at the end of the cul de sac on Alokahi Place and Lila felt that it was safe for their five children.
Helen Cantil, married to Lila’s oldest brother Joe, witnessed to Lila when she was a young wife and mother and introduced her to their pastor, Harold Kiemel, at the First Church of the Nazarene. The Kiemel family was a great blessing to Lila and she started attending services at First Church. She rode the bus on Sundays with her little ones in tow, and accepted Jesus as her Savior. She felt that one of her greatest accomplishments was raising her children in the church. Lila’s happiest moment was when Leighton accepted Jesus as his Savior in 1994. Her favorite Bible verses were John 3:16, Proverbs 3:5-6, and Psalms 23. Lila’s message to us is love the Lord with all of your heart, mind and soul & always put Jesus first in your life.
Lila shared a love of travel with Leighton and they were so blessed to do a lot of traveling in their retirement years. They especially loved visiting family, their children, grandchildren, and friends. One of Lila’s greatest pleasures in her life was traveling around the world with Leighton. They were able to go on several tours through Europe and Asia with dear friends. They traveled to Kenya to build cottages for faculty of the University of Africa, as part of a Work and Witness Team with their church family. Visiting Israel and going on a Biblical Tour of Where Jesus Walked, allowed them an opportunity to renew their vows in Cana of Galilee, where Jesus performed his first miracle.
Lila was preceded in death by her parents: Mariano and Louisa Calvo; husband: Leighton Anderson; brothers: Joseph (Helen) Cantil, Clarence Cantil, Bernard Calvo; sisters: Minnie (Frank) Caravalho, and Carmen (Teruyuki) Murai. She is survived by sisters: Dora (Joe) Carvalho, Madeline (Stanley) Gonsalves; brother: William Alpiche. Lila is also survived by her children: Lynne KuuAloha (Keith), Lei Mamo (Craig), Lesley Manulani, Leith Kealiiokahikina (Renee), Lance Kanehoalani (Elsie); grandchildren: Lesley Keomailani (Philip), Michellei Kainani (Matthew), Ian Ikuwahoapili, Alexander Kanehoalani, Jason Kealiiokahikina (Chrissy), Emerson Kamuela, Maxine Kehaunani, Darcie Keomailani, Troy Kanehoalani; great grandchildren: Hannah Kainani, Mackenzie Kaiulani, Ainsley Noelani, Ethan Kanehoalani, Liam Ikuwahoapili, Farrah Manulani, Kinsey Kamuela, and Rylie Kalikomakamae.