Lyman, Richard Ka‘ilihiwa "Jewellel" "Papa" Jr.

Author: 
Malia Lyman

 

Richard Ka‘ilihiwa "Jewellel" "Papa" Lyman, Jr.
Photo: courtesy of Kalehua Lima

‘O Richard Lyman Jr. ko‘u kupunakāne kuakahi.
‘O Beatrice Coaculman ko‘u kupunahine kuakahi.
Noho pū lāua a hānau ‘ia ‘o Carl Lyman.
‘O Carl Lyman ko‘u kupunakāne.
‘O Margaret Pu‘u ko‘u kupunahine.
Noho pū lāua a hānau ‘ia ‘o Michael Lyman.
‘O Michael Lyman ko‘u makuakāne.
‘O Carrie Lyman ko‘u makuahine.
Noho pū lāua a hānau ‘ia ‘o La‘amaikahiki, ‘o Malia, a ‘o Mahinalani.
‘O wau ‘o Jennifer Malia Lyman ka lua o nā keiki.
E ola ka hāloa o ku‘u ‘ohana!

"He pua noku wekiu." This was the ‘ōlelo no‘eau used to describe my great-grandfather by his colleagues in his book, Mea Ho‘omana‘o. The literal translation of this saying is "a blossom on the topmost branch" (‘Ōlelo No‘eau 844). However, sometimes when Hawaiian sayings are translated into English, the real meaning is lost. Therefore, the "real" meaning of this ‘ōlelo no‘eau is, "praise of an outstanding person." Richard Ka‘ilihiwa "Jewellel" "Papa" Lyman was born in Hilo on the tenth of July, 1903, to Phoebe Williams Lyman and Richard Lyman. Throughout his lifetime, "Papa" Lyman was well-known to all as an amazing agriculturist, a super state senator, a terrific territorial, and a brilliant Bishop Estate trustee.

Papa was born in Hilo but was raised twenty-five miles away in Kapoho, a little village in Puna at the end of the railroad. While attending school in Kapoho, his favorite time of the school day was when he would pick and eat guava, apples, and if they were lucky, mangoes! When recalling this story, my grandfather was appalled at how different things were in the "dinosaur" days. Papa Lyman graduated from Hilo High School in 1921 and went on to major in agriculture at the University of Hawai‘i in 1925. My grandfather recalls Papa growing papaya, watermelon, and other trees and plants on lava-covered land. He laughed when remembering how Papa was called "Johnny Appleseed." According to Mea Ho‘omana‘o, "Papa was able to see an oasis of agriculture in what most people regarded as a wasteland of lava."

Papa was married three times, each time to a wonderful woman. As my grandfather recalls, he was raised by his mother Beatrice Culman as a haole until his father instilled Hawaiian values within him. Back then, my grandfather said it was a shame to be Hawaiian, and his great-grandmother who spoke fluent Hawaiian refused to teach any of her mo‘opuna anything Hawaiian. Beatrice Culman was the wife with whom Papa had Betty Ann Huakalei Ke‘ala and Carl La‘amaikahiki Lyman. They unfortunately later divorced and Papa remarried a cherry blossom queen from Japan. Grandpa doesn’t recall caring much for her, and felt much better when Papa married Jane, his third wife. He regards Jane as a very nice woman, and as his stepmother.

A story recalled by my grandfather about Papa Lyman involves his great sense of humor. One day, my Papa was eating breakfast at a restaurant when a rat came up and bit him on the ankle! From what I’ve heard, the rat was later captured and killed, and when his fellow senators found out about the story, they took action! They sent "condolences" to the rat’s family and congratulated Papa on being the most delectable and tasty senator of the legislature. Instead of taking this personally, Papa laughed along with the others.

Papa served Kamehameha Schools for 30 years and, during that time, spread the word about Pauahi’s tremendous contributions to the Hawaiians. Unfortunately, Papa died in 1988 at the age of 85 due to heart failure. Although he has passed on, my aunty still says that "those who knew him still feel he is very much around, when we read the book [Ho‘omana‘o] we can hear him talking to us."