My Trbute to My Sister Yvonne Kealoha Lopez

by

Adrian Yuen, Ph.D.

Copyright July 31, 2014

Wow, what a day!

It began early this morning when I was awakened by the news of my sister's passing.

Yvonne Kealoha Lopez, born April 11, 1947 and died July 31, 2014, after a valiant fight against pancreatic cancer that ended up going to other parts of her fragile body.

I was initially there when the doctors discussed the ramnifications of stage four and what could be expected.

Yvonne was a fighter then as she was throughout her life.

My memories of my sister began in a mother-only home,

When my mother became a Christian, Yvonne followed lot.

Yvonne was strong as a young lady, she spoke the truth, preached with fire, and made it a point

to do street work and to be active in her faith.

When my mother married our stepfather, Joseph K. Hui Sr, my older siblings were not prepared for the way such 

an action disrupted our family as our mother moved to the Big Island with my sister, Linda, and me.

Yvonne had to adjust and eventually struggled with the transition.

She eventually moved to the Big Island where she met Rudy Lopez, the eventual gem of her life.

Rudy was brilliant, vice president of a savings and loan company, a whiz like her,

And they married and made it a point to entertain Linda, our newest sister Alicia, and myself

by coming to us from Hilo to Kamuela and Kawaihae.  

I remember trying to talk them into leaving the United States and seceeding areas of the Big Island from the United States and humorously we would plan our own government.  Hmmm, no wonder the IRS has been tracking for mefor years, they thought I was serious.  Smile!

When I graduated from high school, I lived with them while attending the University of Hawaii at Hilo.  During those years, they were not walking with the Lord, but I always enjoyed the way they helped me to transition to my adulthood.

After years of living on the Mainland for college, I returned to Hilo and Yvonne and Rudy remained very close to me through the years of giving birth and rearing their two sons.

Yvonne and Rudy re-dedicated their lives to the Lord and moved their families to South Carolina to Holmes College of the Bible now known again as Holmes Bible College.

When they returned to Hawaii, they moved to Kailua and began to teach at Redemption Academy.

Rudy was also a comptroller and teacher and Yvonne was a teacher and a strong advocate for academic excellence and procedures.  After graduating with her Bachelor's degree and then working on the Mainland, her move to Honolulu assisted me at His Highest Praise and Redemption Academy.  

Not only were both of them excellent teachers, both of them were dedicared and devoted to their professions and senior pastors of His Highest Praise Kailua.

Let me sidebar for now.

My other sister, Linda Gentry, and brother-in-law, Terry Gentry, had just moved from Hawaii and Redemption Academy when Yvonne and Rudy came.

Linda like Yvonne was an advocate for academic excellence and Terry like Rudy were both "genius-proned" as comptroller, both could sing and loved music and play instrument.

So even when it was hard letting the Gentrys leave, it was nice to be replaced by excellence as well.

Yvonne and Rudy were personal blessings to me.

As a sister, she was by nature a very assertive personality.  I grew up with assertive women, starting with our mother, Alice Yuen Hui.

She raised us to be thinkers and speakers.  She raised us to stand up for the truth and follow the Bible.

She was a demonstration of no-nonsense and my brothers and sisters are of the same stock and breeding, Yvonne no exception.

Yvonne and Rudy would also help me edit my research papers when I was earning my Ph.D. in psychology.  They would check my grammar, format my writing style to be in compliance with the American Psychological Association writing style, and help me type out the final drafts prior to submission.

There were days when I would have them at my home working together with me in completing my assignments.

We had so much fun even in the stress.

When I began the counseling ministry. Yvonne was the biller, consistent to her experience in the medical field.

She would also do life coaching with some of my clients who came to me for Biblical counseling and psychological support with licensed professionals on my staff.

My sister was simply gracious, but don't be fooled by her beautiful smile.

She lived for Jesus and truth was imperative and fundamental to her life,

She would express herself and put a demand upon people around her.

God gave her a wonderful husband, it was hard watching Rudy be so strong when his heart was so broken.

Rudy and Yvonne were always together . . .  like bread and butter, like salt and pepper (smile).

When they would visit me, he's find a place to sleep in my office and Yvonne would be talking to me about some principled thing unless she was showing off what she had brought from Macy's at Ala Moana Shopping Mall.

Rudy took care of my sister from the beginning of their marriage and especially in her final years.

Yvonne was close to my heart as she was to her brothers and sisters. . . and deeply with her husband, sons and their families.

I feel a loss from within.  The spiritual part of me rejoices that she's with Jesus now and with all of the precious people and family members gone home to Heaven.

But, the loss is still felt.

Her final words she whispered to me two days before she died,

I LOVE YOU MORE THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOW.

I heard those words when she would call me and whisper that on the phone, she wanting to be strong and feeling the hurts of her physical suffering.

As I type this, another warrior has gone home.

In conversation with my son, Chris, he tearfully tells me how this kind of Aunty and Christian is hard to find.

Rachel tells me Aunty Yvonne spoke right to her heart and Rachel feels the depth of her counsel.

Teri Lynn could not come to work today, Yvonne was more than an Aunty, Yvonne was her mentor.  So 

much of who Teri is today is because of the mentoring from who everybody on campus called MRS. LOPEZ.

Every one of us is sad today, but deep inside, these tears will turn to joy.

Yvonne told me, ADRIAN, I DO NOT WANT TO SUFFER EXTENSIVELY WITH MY BREATHING.

And God honored her prayers.

Even though she was breaking laboriously, she finally walked out of her physical body into the Hands of a Welcoming God.

To her sons and their families who she loved dearly and to Rudy a man after God's own heart,

Our love and aloha!

And to those who read this, our hearts may be broken but our faith is in tact.

HE DOES ALL THINGS WELL.

Love you, Yvonne, my sister, my friend!

Love you!

 

 

 

 

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