A most definitive - and important - characteristic of the collective personality of the village of Lahaina is that the people of this West Side community truly care about one another. There is a deep-rooted and cultural affection among them that runs across family and religious lines to include all who call this place their home.
A man who represented these most cherished of human qualities is Willy Casco - a true to the red dirt Lahaina boy who passed away unexpectedly on May 27 after an alarmingly short battle with cancer. He was 54.
He is predeceased by his mother and father, Angelina and Bartalome Casco, as well as brothers Herman and Clifford Casco.
Willy Casco’s priority was his family.
Willy is survived by his wife of 12 years, Juli, and their children, Seraya (11), Will Jr. (8) and Colton (5). He also leaves behind his sister, Tina Casco; brothers Randy (Stacy), Kale (Val), Bobby and Gordon (Jill) Casco; and 16 nieces and nephews.
On a gray and misty day last week on the front porch of their Napili home, Juli described the innermost qualities of her beloved husband.
"He was a strong Christian man whose main concern was the welfare of his family - that's all he cared about. Would we be all right? Would we be taken care of? To the very end, he didn't complain. Although he was suffering some severe pain, he kept telling me that he would be all right and that he would work through this. He was always like that. At the end, he was at peace knowing he would be going to Heaven to be with Jesus," she explained through the tears that matched the gentle rain that fell from the dreary sky that afternoon.
The sincerity of that aloha in the spirit of Willy Casco spread well beyond his family. Some 30 years ago, he was employed at Kapalua Resort alongside Doug Stacy at the Bay Course and at the Honolua Store.
"He was simply a great friend who made you feel happy and warm with that electric smile of his. He was fun guy and a loyal and dependable friend - we will miss him dearly," Stacy said.
Willy most recently worked for the West Maui Parks and Recreation Department as an irrigation specialist, and his boss there, Jeff Anderson, echoed Stacy's sentiments regarding their departed friend.
"I had the pleasure of knowing Willy for the past 17 years, and he was an exceptional employee as well as a good friend. I will miss his abundant enthusiasm and his willingness to lend a hand to his fellow workers. Willy was one in a million, and he will be sorely missed," Anderson said.
Now, we are left with the sadness of the empty pages of our lives - most especially for Juli and their children - moving forward as Willy takes his place of everlasting comfort in God's Kingdom.
We take solace in knowing this beautiful spirit of kindness and consideration will be paid forward by all of us - all who had the privilege to know him. We take comfort in knowing that the world as we know it will be a better place, thanks to the warmth that Willy Casco gave to us.
"You're my blue sky, you're my sunny day; Lord you know it makes me high when you turn your love my way; you turn your love my way." ("Blue Sky" by The Allman Brothers Band)
Our sincere condolences go out to the entire Casco family. Peace to all.
A private family ceremony was held on June 2, with scattering of ashes near the former Casco homestead at Mala. A Celebration of Life took place on June 10 with friends and family at Wahikuli Park, along with Calvary Chapel Westside that Willy, Juli and their children attended.