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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ho family loses daughter, 52

 •  A Family Album for Hawai'i

By Dan Nakaso and Wayne Harada
Advertiser Staff Writers

At Don Ho's Waikiki memorial last week, Dayna Ho-Henry lingered in the water, holding the hand of her father's widow, Haumea Hebenstreit Ho, after his ashes were spread. Police yesterday said there were no signs of foul play in Ho-Henry's death.


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The family of legendary entertainer Don Ho suffered another loss yesterday when Ho's daughter, Dayna Ho-Henry, was found dead in Waialua, nearly a week after her father's ashes were scattered off Waikiki. She was 52.

Honolulu police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said there were no signs of foul play.

"She was not responsive ... and was pronounced dead," said one of Ho's sons, Dwight Ho, 46. "We're having a hard time. We're just trying to pull together, get everybody together. We're terribly sad and trying to cope."

Dayna Ho-Henry and Dwight Ho were among the six elder siblings from Don Ho's first marriage to his high school sweetheart, Melvamay Ho, who died in 1999.

When Don Ho died April 14 of heart failure at the age of 76, he left a total of 10 children: Donald Jr., Donalei, Dayna, Dondi, Dori and Dwight, from his marriage to Melvamay; Hoku and Kaimana, with Patricia Swallie Choy; and Kea and Keali'i, with Elizabeth Guevara.

Recording artist Hoku Ho, who sang one of her father's signature songs, "I'll Remember You," at a tribute concert to him May 3, said in an e-mail yesterday that "Dayna loved to dance."

Dayna Ho-Henry had been staying with a friend on the North Shore, Dwight Ho said.

Neighbors along Kanoena Street in Waialua left for work yesterday to the sight of police officers and an investigator from the Hono-lulu Medical Examiner's office, they said.

Ho-Henry was pronounced dead by paramedics at 8:28 a.m. An investigator with the Medical Examiner's office would not positively identify Ho-Henry, or say anything about the circumstances of her death. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

On Sunday, a picture of Ho-Henry was featured on the front page of The Advertiser just after her father's ashes had been scattered in the ocean off Waikiki. Ho-Henry was photographed in the water, holding on to a canoe carrying Ho's widow, Haumea Hebenstreit Ho.

The two women were holding hands.

P. Gregory Frey, Ho-Henry's former attorney, called her "a great person. She had a tremendous heart and a tremendous depth of loyalty. She was very, very loyal. Loyal to a fault."

In 1971, then-16-year-old Dayna was a dancer in her father's weekend shows at the Cinerama Reef Towers' Polynesian Palace.

Ho-Henry spoke about her famous father "all of the time," Frey said. "She indicated that she and her sisters and her family had a life that was quite unlike anyone else could ever imagine, in terms of knowing so many celebrities and going to this event and that event."

Dwight Ho said his sister was "a caregiver" who helped clients in their homes.

One of her last clients was entertainer Dick Jensen, who died in June 2006.

"She was a very caring sister," Dwight Ho said. "She really did a lot to keep our family together."

Dayna Ho-Henry was maid of honor when Dwight married Lydia Ho.

"We just loved her dearly," he said.

Reach Dan Nakaso at dnakaso@honoluluadvertiser.com and Wayne Harada at wharada@honoluluadvertiser.com.