Shared from Celeste Elson, René’s hanai daughter:
On June 29, 2020 René Siracusa, tenacious and passionate community activist and loving Hanai Mother and founder of Malama O’Puna, passed away peacefully and surrounded by loved ones at the age of 82.
René Siracusa was born on May 3, 1938 in New York, NY. She discovered the wonders of Hawaii in the late 1960’s, after traveling the world as she studied Linguistic Anthropology. Though she ultimately abandoned her PHD for political reasons, René put her knowledge of fourteen languages and her Masters degree from UH to great use. Once Pahoà captured her heart, she dedicated half her life to Puna. René was The Grand ‘Ol Dame of Community Service.
To list all the organizations, non-profits, groups, grants, programs, individuals and animals she started or helped would take up too much time and paper to record. She would also say, “It isn’t about me.” René lived a very simple life, off the grid, using candles and hurricane lamps to read by, rain water to bathe with. Rescued animals for company and rescued people for family. A force of nature like no other.
René is survived by her cousins: Kyra, David, Larissa and Michael Ray Robinov. Her hanai sister, Lisa and Mighty Joe Young. Her hanai children: Celeste Elson, Jason Hutchins, Angela Renee Wilmot and Jeffery Robinson; Kehaulani and Andy Pickering; Pua and Thomas Seyfort. Her hanai grandchildren: Cain Footracer, Jackson, Elysia and Ethan.
On June 30th, René was interred in a private ceremony. We hope to have a public celebration of life soon. Please contact Ariel Murphy through Facebook for details.
If René touched your life, please consider a donation in her honor to her preferred charity: Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary.
Or do something for your community, for your neighbor, for an animal in need. Be honest, choose love, stand up for what is good, fair, and just!
Thank you for everything you have given us all, René. You are missed. You have left a very large vacancy for someone with such a small frame. You are a daughter who left the world a better place.