Maui Coronavirus Updates

Maui ʻOhana Mourns Loss of Family Member in Utah to COVID

By Wendy Osher
December 23, 2020, 8:42 AM HST
* Updated December 23, 8:43 AM
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Billy Maluhia “Malu” Plunkett Jr. PC: Courtesy family photo

A Maui family is mourning the passing of Billy Maluhia “Malu” Plunkett Jr. who passed away over the weekend after contracting COVID-19 while living and working on the mainland.  

According to family members, Plunkett, 43, had been living in Utah with his oldest daughter, working to save money to relocate his family up there to be together. 

“Two Sundays ago he was told to leave work because a coworker had tested positive. On Monday he got tested. (On) Tuesday results were positive. Things escalated very quickly and we lost him on Sunday, Dec. 20, one week after he was sent home from work,” said Kanani Plunkett-Adolpho, Malu’s sister in an email communication with Maui Now.

“This virus ran its course shutting down his body within four days of his positive test result,” family members said in a Go Fund Me update.

Many on Maui knew Malu Plunkett for his years as a football coach, serving at Baldwin for nearly 10 years and also at Kamehameha Schools Maui.

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He graduated from HP Baldwin High School in 1995 and previously worked for the County of Maui Water Department. For the last year-and-a-half before moving, he worked on the ramp for Southwest Airlines.

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Since relocating to Utah, Malu Plunkett changed jobs and was only two-and-a-half weeks into his new job at a warehouse when he contracted the virus. 

Family members say it’s possible he caught COVID-19 at work, but they are not certain.

Malu Plunkett was described by family in an online update as a “genuine, loving, kind hearted, gentle giant of a man.”

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“If you knew Malu he gave the shirt off his back and the last bit of change in his pockets to anyone in need… For a lot of us he was a safe haven, a person we could run to for comfort and love,” family members said in the online post.

“We understand it’s the holidays, and families SHOULD be together during the holidays. Our advice would be to just be better at being safe. Practice social distancing, mask up, carry hand sanitizer everywhere you go,” Plunkett-Adolpho told Maui Now.

Malu Plunkett is survived by his wife Tiffany-Jean Plunkett and his five children Analisse Auelua (Theo and baby), Malu “Bull” (Tania and baby), Razjah, Zayven, Xyiah and his mother Larrie Plunkett, siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews.

For those who would like to help, the family is raising funds to bring Plunkett home to Maui and help to offset medical bills.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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