Kathleen Kern, an employee with the Maui County Planning Department, was one of the victims of Wednesday night’s tragic plane crash on Lana’i. This morning, Janice Okubo with the Hawai’i State Department of Health provided the following email to many major media outlets in the state. Okubo’s message, in its entirety, follows:
“Her family would like to share the following information and attached photos with the news media.
“Kathleen Kern was the youngest of eight children and was born in Vancouver, Canada, She was 50 years old. Most of the siblings were born in Vancouver but are now in many locations around the world, including England, Canada, Australia and Hawaii. Kathleen was introduced at an early age to Hawaii and loved visiting and finally being able to live the Hawaiian dream when she moved to Hawaii in 2009 and began working for the County of Maui in the planning department. Her family owns an interest in a condominium in Maui and are frequent visitors to the island. Her brother, Ken, has lived and worked in Honolulu for more than 35 years and is a retired physician.
“Kathleen had several degrees, including a BA from Trent University; Masters degree from York University – both in Ontario, Canada – and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She was a PhD candidate from University of Washington.
“Kathleen was passionate about urban planning from a very young age and believed that public spaces were critical to the functioning of communities. She had a particular interest in the process of planning and the involvement of the community in that process.
“Kathleen’s family is devastated with the news of her death. We are are in shock at this tragic news.”
Also killed in the crash were Maui County Planner Tremaine Balberdi and Richard “Dick” Rooney, owner and pilot of the Piper Chieftain aircraft. Survivors remain in critical condition, including Mark King and Doug Miller. James Giroux is listed in serious condition. Giroux, an attorney with Maui County, pulled the survivors from the burning wreckage and was able to call 9-1-1 following the impact.