Joy Gaston

Joy Pu'uolani Gaston

Wednesday, March 6th, 1946 - Thursday, June 11th, 2020
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1990 Hawaii State Teacher of the Year, Joy Puuolani Gaston, age 74, passed away at her home in Kihei on June 11, 2020. She was born to the late Richard MacQuiddy and Helen Marie Gaston on March 6, 1946 in San Diego, California. Joy graduated from the University of Southern California with a Master’s Degree in Marine Biology. She moved to Hawaii as a new Elementary School Teacher on Kauai in 1969 and moved to Maui in 1975.

Her beloved students called her their “Best Teacher Ever”, yet Ms. Gaston was also a Kamalii School and Kihei School administrator, artist, sculptor, jeweler, entrepreneur, surfer, author, scuba diver, historian, scientist, culinary expert, model, orb finder and carpenter.

Among her many accolades, Ms. Gaston was recognized in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, received the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching to being the only finalist to date to the National Teachers Hall of Fame from Hawaii. She was passionate about Hawaiian history, and all Polynesian culture. Tahiti was her Happy Place.

Joy is survived by Lori Sablas, and niece Marjorie Towers of Portland, Oregon. On the Sablas side, she is survived by “choke no can count loving ‘ohana” plus her loving pets, Hapa, Mele and Betty Bird.

Joy’s ‘ohana would like to thank Dr. Gayland Yee, Moriah and staff of the Kihei Wailea Medical Center, Bayada Home Care, and Hospice Maui for their loving care.

A Celebration of Life will be held on the one-year anniversary of Joy’s passing, June 11, 2021, from 5-8 pm at the Kihei VFW Hall, 1136 Ulunui Road, Kihei, where Ms. Gaston taught many Kihei school children about marine life on the Makai reef.
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