Stephen Kim saw his share of full houses as a wrestling coach, athletic director and Maui Interscholastic League executive director.
It was no different on Tuesday morning, when family, friends, former wrestlers and administrators turned out in full force for his memorial service at Nuuanu Mortuary. Kaiser’s wrestling team, clad in royal blue and yellow T-shirts, was there. So were former HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya, former OIA chief Ted Fukushima and former Kaiser coach Billy von Arnswaldt.
They shared memories of Kim’s laid-back, successful run as a wrestling coach. They spoke about his decorated time in the Vietnam War. For his many students, though, he was very unique teacher.
Bryan Almadova was a multiple-sport athlete at Kaiser when he took Kim’s U.S. history class. Kim offered all the history his class could absorb, and added his real-life stories about combat in Vietnam. What they took away was more than history, though.
“He was always laughing, always funny,” said Almadova, who went on to play football at UH and coached at Kaiser. “He was such an intelligent man. His demeanor was always pleasant.”
Kim also taught social studies and photography, then taught yearbook class before heading to Maui, where he later became an athletic director. He was the MIL’s executive director for several years.
Kim, who died on Oct. 28, was 70.