Mary Ellen Vana, age 71, passed away at Mission Hospital McDowell on January 6, 2019. She was born on April 4, 1947 to the late Mary and Jaro Vana of Hilo, Hawaii.
Mary Ellen was a vibrant, rambunctious spirit who loved animals, music, and traveling. She made her home in several places throughout her life including Hawaii, Connecticut, Michigan California, New Hampshire, New York and made many friends along the way. She had a deep love of nature and every place she made her home was a reflection of that love. Places such as Yosemite, the White Mountains, and most recently the North Carolina mountains. Mary Ellen was an accomplished pianist; she had a special affinity for Mozart. In addition, she could also be heard strumming the ukulele and singing hymns.
She was never without a beloved cat or dog in her life, and it is not hard to imagine that this league of animals that she loved and cared for over the years is providing her with a rousing welcome in the hereafter, along with her dear mother and father. Mary Ellen also had a deep and abiding faith in Jesus Christ that was paired with a scholarly and informed curiosity of all things spiritual, and one can only imagine that the cup of unanswered questions is now being filled.
Mary Ellen is survived by her son Robert Tom and his wife Deb Tom and her grandchild, Leilani, as well as her son William Tom and his wife Jennifer Tom and their children Gabrielle & Tommy. She is also survived by her brother Peter Vana and his wife Aurora Vana and their children Christine and Curtis. She will be dearly missed by her family, and her beloved cat, Sammy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
A Memorial Service to celebrate Mary Ellen’s life will be held Friday, January 18, 2019 at 12:30 PM at Uncle Robert’s, 12-5038 Kapoho Beach Road, Pahoa, HI 96778. If you intend on attending the service, in lieu of flowers please bring your favorite lei as a tribute to Mary Ellen.