Rev. Abraham Akaka – A Brief Summary of His Life
The Rev. Dr. Abraham Kahihina Akaka, B.A., DD, LHD (born February 21, 1917 in Pauoa Valley, Oahu) stands as one of the foremost leaders of Hawaii’s history of the 20th century. The fourth of seven children of Kahikina and Anuenue Akaka, Abraham was raised by parents who set God at the center of their lives, demonstrated hard work, and believed in the advantages of education. The entire family began the day with devotions (ohana) and attended Kawaiahao Church Sunday mornings and evening services held at Pauoa Chapel.
He sold newspapers in downtown Honolulu and attended public schools. Abraham graduated from McKinley High School in 1934 and was urged and supported by his older sister Annie to continue his education. His undergraduate work was completed at the University of Hawaii – Manoa (1934-1937) and Illinois Wesleyan University where he graduated with a double major in sociology and music in 1939. Chosen as a delegate to the World Conference of Christian Youth in Amsterdam, Holland, Abraham Akaka attended it at the height of Hitler’s power. This was a turning point for him, leading to his decision to serve God as a minister in His church. As a result, he attended the University of Chicago’s Chicago Theological Seminary in 1940-1943.
He returned to Hawaii, married Mary Louise Jeffrey in 1944, and served in churches of Western Kauai Larger Parish Council (1943-1945). From 1945-1954, Kahu served at Waihe’e, Ka’ahumanu, Kahului Union, Waikapu, and Keawalai Churches in Central Maui; Haili Church in Hilo from 1954-1957; and at Kawaiahao from 1957-1984. Following his retirement, Kahu continued his ministry through The Rev. Akaka Ministries Foundation until his death September 10, 1997. The sum of his extraordinary life is expressed by Mama Kahu, “Beloved husband, father, Tutu Pa, preacher, poet, prophet, composer, and statesman, a faithful servant of God and a loving Kahu to all.”