John Kalaukoa Diaz passed over to our Father on Jan. 1, 2009, in his home in Deer Lodge. He was born on June 23, 1967, in Corvallis, Ore., where his father was attending college. He grew up in his younger years in the country in Washington state and in Hawaii. In Washington, he learned to hunt and care for farm animals.
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He returned to Hawaii, with his twin brother, to complete his high school years. He graduated from Kaneohe High School in 1986. He and his twin brother played their last football game against their father's team from Farrington High School, Honolulu, Hawaii, and won the game. He returned to Montana in 1987.
He was a carpenter/contractor by trade, and loved working with wood. He was in the Montana National Guard for 8-1/2 years, where he earned his badge for being an excellent marksman, and took special classes on chemicals and post-war recovery.
He loved to cook - his sister remembers his pies. His children remember his barbecues and his holiday dinners. He loved playing Monopoly and Scrabble with his children and family. He loved swimming with his children and his nieces and nephews. He loved watching football and kick boxing with his brother and son. He loved to laugh. He and his twin brother were admired for their beautiful eyes, their smiles, their broad shoulders, and inner strength.
He is survived by his beautiful children: Janosch Diaz (20), Latascha KeAloha Diaz (17), Bettina Kamakahonu Diaz (15), Mathias Kaleo O' Kelani Diaz (13), and John's wife, Brigitte Diaz;
His twin brother, James Akau Diaz, (Helena) and children: Erik, Connie, Jessica, Joshua, Sarah, Tayelor, and Ethan;
His sister, Kathleen Haunani "Nani" (Diaz) Sparks, Belgrade, and her husband Joseph Sparks, their children: Keana Malea Sparks (12) and Jesse Kaaa Sparks (7);
His stepsister, Raissa Maria Diaz (22), who he lovingly provided care for due to her disabilities.
His father, Edward "Skippa" Diaz, retired coach and teacher, Honolulu, Hawaii;
His mother, Jeanette K. Diaz, counselor, Deer Lodge; and
His family in Hawaii, especially his aunties: Marian "Nana' Kahale and Leetha Faleafine, who lovingly provided a home for him and his brother during their high school years.
His sister, Nani, said "He was my friend, my brother, and my protector. He was my dad, part of the time. I went to him for everything. He even handed me over to Joseph, my husband."
His brother, Akau, said "He was my twin, my brother, my everything. We shared time and space. He was with me from the beginning and to the end. He was a good man."
His sister, Maria, said "I miss him, and Shadow (his Lab) misses him."
He leaves us much too early and will be sadly missed by all. He was a good dad and loved his children more than life, itself. He will be cremated and service will be held at the First Assembly of God Church, 2210 Dodge Ave, Helena, at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9.
John will be presented with military honoring of deceased at his service, and his ashes will be buried at Fort Harrison Military Cemetery in Helena.
His cause of death was internal bleeding from a ruptured artery in the liver and advanced cirrhosis of the liver. This was a young, beautiful man and a precious soul, but alcohol stole everything from him, including his life. If this statement of truth can help anyone who is drinking and encourage them to seek help and support, then his life and memory will not be lost. Perhaps they will not leave behind children and family who will grieve the way our family is doing ... because of alcohol. Any donations for chemical dependency treatment can be forwarded to the Rocky Mountain Treatment Center, 920 4th Ave, Great Falls, MT 59604, in the name of John K. Diaz, for alcohol and other drug treatment for those who need but cannot afford.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Jan. 8, 2009