EXPIRED: 03/20/10 – Ray Fonseca, 56, was living in Hilo, Hawaii and, in 2003, was driving 40 mph in a 25 mph speed zone when he struck a moped with his sports utility vehicle while trying to avoid potholes. The moped driver was killed. Fonesca pleaded no contest to second-degree negligent homicide. The judge sentenced him to six months in prison, but allowed work release during the day for community service and to teach hula.
Hula, you ask?
You see, Fonseca was student of kumu hula master George Na’ope, who gave Fonseca the name, Kahikilaulani. As an American hula dancer and hula master, Fonseca established the Halau Hula O Kahikilaulani in 1980,a school on the Big Island. Fonesca’s school integrated Hawaiian culture, language and folklore into its hula instruction teaching more than 100 students, who ranged in age from 4 up to 60 years old.
On the day he died, Fonseca flew from Hilo to Oahu to perform at the Lei o Lanikuhonua Hula Festival in Ko Olina. He was a strong supporter of the festival, which was founded in 2006 and allows high school students to perform and study with hula masters. He performed a great presentation, as always. Then he went backstage and collapsed. Fonseca suffered a heart attack.
Fonseca’s death came less than a day after the passing of another prominent hula figure, Auntie Dottie Thompson, who developed the Merrie Monarch Festival.He had visited her at her bedside before her death.