January, 2007 Vol. 32 No. 1
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Homecoming 2006 Jan. 2007

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UH Alumni Association

Published January 2007

UH Alumni Profiles

Pulitzer winning journalist

Robert Lopez
BA journalism with highest honors ’89

Robert Lopez

Career: Journalist, Los Angeles Times

Roots: Los Angeles

Family: Wife Nancy Zubiri, an author, former reporter and journalism teacher at Venice High School; daughter Mia, 10; son Diego, 4

Previous jobs: Firefighter, SCUBA instructor

Hobby: Surfing

Robert Lopez studied journalism at Kapiʻolani Community College and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with plans to apply to law school. He detoured into a graduate training program for minority journalists at UC-Berkeley, however, and was hired by the Oakland Tribune in 1989. "I interviewed a family who had lost their 3-year-old boy, who was run over by a car," he recalls. "I found out that the father had lost his job and that the family had no money to bury the child. We added that information to the story. After that, donations came in. I realized that everything I wanted to do as a lawyer—help people, change things—I could do much quicker as a journalist because people read the paper and react."

A job offer from the Times took Lopez, a third-generation Angelino, home in 1992. He was part of the reporting team that earned the paper a Pulitzer Prize for spot news coverage of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. He is now a member of the Times’ California investigations team, which does long-term, in-depth stories. "I have no regrets about not pursuing a career as a lawyer," he reflects. "My job is always different, I am always learning, I get paid a nice wage and I have a lot of fun! What more could I ask for?"


Social entrepreneur

Judith Lenthall
BA in psychology and sociology ’70, MA in sociology ’72

Judith Lenthall

Career: Executive director, Kauaʻi Food Bank

Roots: Born in California, moved to Oʻahu as a teen

Family: Married to Waimea Valley native Hartwell Pueo Apo; sons Jeremy and Jamison attended Kauaʻi CC

College routines: Washing clothes every Tuesday (ladies’ night at Anna Bananas); hanging out at East-West Center where "I liked the food, the gardens and all the people from abroad. It challenged me to become a citizen of the world."

Hurricane survival: "ʻIniki made a lot of heroes out of ordinary folk. It also taught me that I never, ever, want to do that again."

Avocation: Travel, including an around-the-world trip to 25 countries with mountain treks in Nepal and Africa

Faith is more than Judith Lenthall’s middle name. The first time she asked God to show her how she could be of service, a cousin called the next day to suggest she apply at Kauaʻi Food Bank. "God has blessed both me and the food bank with an abundance of blessings—a terrific board of directors, amazing volunteers and the nicest people I have ever known and worked with. So I just keep praying and saying ʻMahalo.’" She’s earned a string of awards for creative initiatives to help people be self sufficient, including Kauaʻi Fresh. The business teaches people to grow produce, provides food to island seniors and markets the surplus to schools, hotels, grocers and restaurants.

Lenthall shrugs off suggestions that her background in planning, banking and housing in two countries warrants a lucrative corporate position. "If you measure success and happiness by what you can do to help others, then live your passion; go where your heart is; the money will follow," she says. "And those who have made it big can always help those who have not. Our website is a way into the world of caring on Kauaʻi."


Miniature history buff

Michael Payton
BEd ’68, PD ’69

Michael Payton

Career: Brigham Young University pep band director, Kamehameha summer campus band instructor, part-time teacher at Kahuku High School

Home: Kahuku

Family: Wife Dorene (Suzuki) Payton (BEd ’75, PD ’76, Mānoa), 5 children, 11 grandchildren

Rocker past: With hair that grazed his shoulders, Payton was the drummer with local band The Mopptops, which recorded several records in the 1960s

Passion: Building historically accurate dioramas using his massive collection of hand-painted toy soldiers

As a history teacher, Michael Payton recreated historical battles with toy soldiers he had painted, and then invited students into his home to be tested on whether they could accurately identify the event. "I have a whole museum at my house," he says. "My dream would be to have a museum where kids could come and see historical events depicted in a three-dimensional way. When you see things in a diorama, it’s a lot more real than just reading it in a book."

Payton created his own line of lead toy soldiers, Drummer Boy Miniatures, that depict Hawaiʻi’s Royal Guard. He also enjoys painting tiny replicas of local high school marching bands (he headed Kahuku’s marching program for 36 years) and figures that portray Hawaiian historical events, such as the death of Captain Cook. The miniatures are available at ʻIolani Palace or through his website.


Renaissance woman

Candes Meijide Gentry
BS in travel industry management ’98, MBA ’04

Career: Gentry Pacific board member working with her family companies on land development projects in Central Oʻahu

Roots: Punahou School graduate, Kāhala resident

Crowned: Miss Hawaiʻi 1999–2000

Placed: Second in her age group in the 2005 Xterra World Championships triathlon and second overall in San Francisco’s 2006 Bridge to Bridge 7K and Embarcadero 10K races

Planned: Musical performances for local charity fundraisers and a possible Christmas CD in 2007

Passions: Work, music, athletics and philanthropy

She may have eased up on her training regimen to tackle the corporate rigors of the business world, but Candes Gentry hasn’t stopped training for athletic events or performing the music she loves. "I believe that success is measured by the satisfaction we derive from achieving the goals we set for ourselves," she says. A singer since junior high, she has recorded two CDs of favorite Broadway show tunes. Sales of "Candes" raised more than $10,000 for the National Psoriasis Foundation; "Candes: A Change in Me" was a benefit for the 2006 Hawaiʻi Theatre Annual Gala, where she was a featured performer. Visit her website.

Gentry’s passion for triathlon began in college as part of the ongoing Volcano Triathlon Club. While she was at Mānoa, the club competed in a number of mainland events, including the Collegiate National Championships. She completed the Kona Ironman the same year she earned her master’s degree. "UH gave me the tools to be an active team member in my family business. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to live and study in the place that I love."


One-woman actress

Sara Edlin-Marlowe
MFA ’77

Sara Edlin-Marlowe

Career: College instructor and advisor, actress

Home: Spokane, Wash.

Early influence: "I began my life in theatre as a backstage daughter to an onstage mother."

Performs: Through Humanities Washington and the Idaho Humanities Council

Unusual venue: An entire Idaho town turn out for her show in the school library

Edlin-Marlowe performs one-woman shows featuring remarkable real-life women—Sacagawea, Georgia O’Keeffe, Hawaiian royals. She finds satisfaction in the impact she has on young people. "I have become a mentor, inspiring them to read history, to follow their dreams and to grow and prosper as human beings," she says with satisfaction. Older audiences appreciate being transported to other times and places.

You could say the actress is a product of the places she’s been. she says. After a summer with Ohio’s outdoor drama Tecumseh!, Edlin-Marlowe felt drawn to Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who served as interpreter and guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition. "I loved her struggle to return to her family and the west," she says. She obtained permission to use poetic monologues from a colleague’s opera, Sakakawea, a Woman of Many Names, and developed her one-woman show.

A summer spent at Kamehameha schools in 1978 inspired her show Six Women of the Hawaiian Monarchy, which includes appearances by Queens Kaʻahumanu and Liliʻuokalani, Princesses Kapiʻolani and Kaʻiulani, Bernice Pauahi and Owana Kaʻohelelani Salazar. Edlin-Marlowe particularly enjoys performing A Conversation with Georgia O’Keeffe. "I found many parallels in Georgia’s struggle and was told I looked like her."

When she’s not performing through arts councils, libraries and schools, Edlin-Marlowe teaches theatre and speech at Spokane Falls Community College and serves as faculty advisor for student radio station KWRS at Whitworth College.


Christian actor

Gordon Williams
BA in theatre ’73

Gordon Williams

Career: Actor, singer, writer

Home: Houston, Texas

Favorite lay character: George Washington in The Meeting of the Worthy Company

Recent works: The comedy sketch Cafe Decapolis and drama Paul Unchained

Volunteer role: Vice-president of Houston Inspirational Writers Alive!

Busiest time of the year: Easter

Critic: "I get together with a friend who’s an English teacher to get feedback on what’s working, what’s not working."

Since his Shakespearean debut with a Hamlet soliloquy in Professor Terence Knapp’s 1973 Shakespeare birthday show at Kennedy Theatre, Gordon Williams has been recognized for one-man dramas and dramatic readings. His repertoire includes Martin Luther—the dialogue taken from Luther’s written justifications for his scriptural positions—as well as Pontius Pilate, King David, the Apostle Paul and Harod the Great. He performs in churches, conferences and coffee houses and presents workshops at Christian arts and theatre gatherings. He also participates in traditional stage dramas—he’s played editor Webb in Our Town and Baron van Sweiten in Amadeus—and has TV, training film and commercial credits.

Because Christian plays were hard to find, Williams began writing in the ’70s. Doing research on the Roman Empire opened his eyes to the perception of Christians at the time and why they were perceived as a danger to the empire’s stability. Researching Martin Luther was transformational. "Here was a man ready to sacrifice everything, even his life, for the authority of the Bible."

Williams counts a 1993 Christian Artists Seminar sketchwriting award for his monologue A Perverse and Excessive Superstition as a turning point, and he’s won several regional writing awards since. He has also published several poems and choral readings. "Ours is a sacred calling," he says of writing. "We are members of that grouping known as believer-artists or apostle-artists. We, along with our brothers and sisters who are actors, singers, dancers, painters, sculptors are all part of the body of Christ."


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