Farrington athlete, coach 'Alika' Punohu
By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Rod Ohira
Alexander "Alika" Punohu, a former Farrington High School football and basketball star, was a "Governor" for life.
"He bled maroon and white," Farrington athletic director Harold Tanaka said of Punohu, a Govs' assistant varsity football coach for 20 seasons, 17 of them on Ed "Skippa" Diaz's staff. "Alika sacrificed a lot of time for our kids, talking and working with them in the weight room."
Punohu, an 'Ewa Beach resident, died Sept. 25 at age 61. He was a retired ramp supervisor for United Airlines with 25 years of service and worked in security at the Hawaii Prince Hotel.
Punohu's 1962 graduating class at Farrington included Diaz, who lives in Wisconsin; Nephi Hannemann, Ron Ramie, Herman Waiolama and Lewellyn Kamanu. "He was a great athlete but a better friend," Hannemann said from Las Vegas, where he is attending a family reunion.
The Punohu and Hannemann families were next-door neighbors on 'Eluwene Street in Kalihi and remained close friends.
"As a youngster growing up I was like every Kalihi kid who idolized the Farrington Governors and I remember Alika as being a part of the mighty class of '62, a great athlete in football and basketball," said Mayor Mufi Hannemann. "Alika was a dear friend and strong supporter until the day he died. He made great contributions to Farrington while he was on Skippa Diaz's staff and touched many lives."
Punohu is survived by son, James; daughters, Jackie Pauole, Ellie Keola and Linda Ayau; brothers, Neil, Raymond and William; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
His service is today at St. Ann's Church in Kane'ohe. Visitation is at 8:30 a.m., Mass is at 9:45 a.m. Burial is 11 a.m. at Hawaiian Memorial Park. Aloha attire. Arrangements by Mililani Downtown Mortuary.
Reach Rod Ohira at email@example.com.