The many friends of longtime Canby resident Harry Lee Kwai will gather at Wait Park in Canby this Saturday to pay their respects and remember a man who lived an adventurous and remarkable life.
The “Aloha Celebration of Life” will be held at 1 p.m. Aug. 7. Please dress comfortably and bring your own blanket or chairs to sit on. The event will also be live-streamed by CTV Channel 5.
Lee Kwai, who had relocated to Woodburn shortly before his passing on May 15, was born in August 1947 in Palama Settlement of Honolulu, Hawaii.
The 73-year-old was reportedly swimming with a pod dolphins during a return visit to his beloved, native Hawaii to visit family in Kailua Kona when he suffered a heart attack and drowned.
Lee Kwai showed an early interest in learning about other parts of the world through his mentor Lorin Gill, a naturalist and founder of the Hawaii chapter of the Sierra Club who would take children on hikes and teach them about conservation.
Heavily influenced by Gill in his teenage years and throughout his life, Lee Kwai attended Boise State University, earning a secondary education degree, and later, the University of Oregon, where he earned his master’s in community education.
He eventually settled in Canby with his wife, Kim Lee Kwai, who preceded him in death.
Lee Kwai was a former director of the Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce and worked many years in marketing with the local telecommunications company DataVision.
“Harry will be remembered as someone who brought people together to accomplish wonderful things,” said longtime chamber member Bob Rhoades. “His laugh and infectious smile will live in hearts for years to come.”
He traveled extensively throughout his life, fishing hiking and biking locally and in exotic locations.
He undertook several missions trips to Guinea in West Africa with his local congregation, Canby Alliance Church.
Above all, his family said, Lee Kwai enjoyed spending time with friends and loved ones and was “very much a people person.” He enjoyed meeting new people of all walks of life, listening to their stories and helping them if he was able.
In lieu of flowers or monetary gifts to charity, Lee Kwai’s family asks that you honor him by paying his kindness forward to someone in need.
“Harry believed in helping people,” his family said. “His memory can best stay alive by giving to others.”
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