Hundreds gather at luau to celebrate life of Kolei Maile

Benefit Luau for the family of Kolei Maile, St. George, UT. Jan. 15, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Hundreds of friends and family members gathered for a Luau and celebration for late coach Kolei Maile Monday night at Pine View High School.

Nisi and Kolei Maile | Photo courtesy Maile family

The event, organized by Siva Pasefika, featured speakers, music and dancing, all in an effort to honor Maile and to raise money for the Maile family. Maile’s widow, Nisi, was in attendance, along with the four Maile children, including the oldest Brooks, who plays football at Pine View.

“Sometimes words can’t describe everything,” Brooks Maile said. “The main thing I feel tonight is love and the feeling of that quote, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and can also help support one. I knew my dad touched a lot of people, talking about family and family friends, but tonight it’s like he reached out and touched all of St. George. A lot of people really loved him.”

The event, held in the PVHS auxiliary gymnasium, was packed, with the line for the traditional Polynesian luau food stretching around the interior of Pine View. April Keil, the founder of the Polynesian dance studio Siva Pasefika, said 100 percent of the proceeds from the event go to the family and that it was an event Siva Pasefika was eager to create and fulfill.

Benefit Luau for the family of Kolei Maile, St. George, UT. Jan. 15, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“Every year we find individuals who are part of our Siva family who need help or assistance and we throw benefit luaus for them,” she said. “Kolei’s wife and daughter both used to dance for Siva Pasefika, so it was only right that we reach out and we touch their hearts with getting the community involved. It was a joint effort with the high school and (principal) Mr. Mees and his crew and a lot of local businesses, who sponsored tables here. There are a lot of people involved.”

Kolei Maile died of kidney and liver failure on Christmas day. The former Pine View assistant coach worked with the Team R.A.W. program for the state of Utah, assisting underprivileged and disadvantaged youth. He was known for his positivity, even in the face of defeat.

“I spent a lot of time on the road in a bus with Kolei and at the practice field,” said Kelly Campbell, who coached football with Maile. “He was one of the greatest guys you would ever want to meet, seriously. I never once heard him speak ill of anybody or any situation. He truly was an example to a lot of us that get too wrapped in the emotion of the game. He was always positive, always upbeat.”

Brooks Maile, Benefit Luau for the family of Kolei Maile, St. George, UT. Jan. 15, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The event featured local music while the audience members waited for food and then dined. Following the meal, dancers from Siva Pasefika performed traditional dances from different islands of Polynesia, including Samoa, Tonga, Hawaii and Fiji. At one point, Pine View head coach Ray Hosner was compelled onto the stage and performed an unprepared amateur dance. It may have been the highlight of the evening as the veteran coach, who was willing to sing, was coerced into dancing.

The Maile family sat in the front-center table and enjoyed the evening, with the line for hugs for the family seemingly endless.

“This is more than enough, to see every person here,” Brooks Maile said. “To feel and experience this is amazing, all for my dad.”

Cody Barney, who has a son Brooks’ age and has coached with Kolei Maile for years, said the man was an exemplary human.

“I’ve known and coached with Kolei for about 10 years,” Barney said. “He loved everybody, it didn’t matter where you came from. He always had time for you and your family. He was just an amazing man. He always had a smile on his face. His outlook on life was always positive. I’m sad that he’s gone, but one thing about him is that he’s prepared his family and they carry on his love and his legacy.”

Pine View head football coach Ray Hosner, Benefit Luau for the family of Kolei Maile, St. George, UT. Jan. 15, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Brooks Maile, who has committed already to play football at BYU and is currently a star rugby player, said his father’s advice and example left him with so much inspiration.

“The biggest thing he taught was effort,” Brooks said. “He always wanted me to try new things – but whatever it is that you try, do your very best. Always try your hardest. Always give it your all.”

The event served as a fund-raiser for the Maile family, with the ticket sales going directly to the family.

“We all hope to give a nice lump sum to Nisi and the family,” Keil said. “I’m sure they’ll be grateful for whatever they get. A lot of people have come together and I’m sure it will be a fair amount. They deserve it, and they need it.”

Kolei Maile was born in Salt Lake City and was a star athlete at West High School. He served a mission in Guam and was a lifelong and avid BYU fan. He leaves behind wife, Nisi, and children Brooks, Tori, Dylan and Drake.

A fund-raising page has been set up by a family friend to help the Mailes with their expenses and can be found here.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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