Maui News

Elizabeth Whitehead, Estrelita Bradford, 80, honored at Older American event

Listen to this Article
2 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

About 35 members of the Lahaina Honolua Senior Club gathered for the Older American Luncheon on Monday, May 13, at MEO.

Elizabeth Whitehead and Estrelita Bradford, who both celebrated their 80th birthdays this year, were recognized at the Lahaina Honolua Senior Club’s Older American Luncheon on Monday, May 13, at Maui Economic Opportunity in Wailuku.

Elizabeth was born May 8, 1944, at Pioneer Mill Hospital in Lahaina. She attended grade school at Sacred Hearts and graduated from Lahainaluna High School.

Moving to California and becoming a hairdresser, Elizabeth met her husband, James. They moved back to Lahaina in 1973 and operated a construction company. He passed in 2016. The couple has two children, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


Elizabeth volunteers at Maria Lanakila Catholic Church and is a member of the Lahaina Filipino Catholic Club, the Lahaina Honolua Senior Club and the ILWU senior club.

Estrelita hails from the Philippines, where she was born on March 29, 1944. In 1971, she came to Maui and met and married her husband, Clifford. He passed in 2007.

Maui Economic Opportunity Chief Operating Officer, Gay Sibonga, presents a gift bag to Estrelita Bradford, one of two 80-year-olds honored at the Lahaina Honolua Senior Club Older American Luncheon on Monday, May 13, at MEO in Wailuku. The other 80-year-old, Elizabeth Whitehead (left), and MEO Chief Executive Officer Debbie Cabebe look on.

A school teacher in the Philippines, Estrelita became a housewife, raising the couple’s four children, and later worked at the Kapalua Bay hotel for 24 years. She has two grandchildren.


In addition to recognizing Elizabeth and Estrelita, the club held a short meeting, led by new President Hedy Udarbe, and honored past President Arleen Gerbig, who later paid tribute to friend and club member Gladys Baisa. A former council member and MEO executive director, Gladys passed earlier this year.

Arleen Gerbig (right), longtime president of the Lahaina Honolua Senior Club, was honored by the club at a gathering Monday, May 13, at MEO. Retired state Sen. Roz Baker, sits next to her. Arleen took over leadership of the club after President Mae Fujiwara passed suddenly and guided the club through the COVID-19 pandemic, when many seniors were left shuttered in their homes, and the Lahaina wildfires. Arleen delivered food boxes to members, learned how to navigate social media and online platforms, such as Zoom, to keep in touch, and held the club together after many members were left reeling from the wildfires. “This woman takes care of everyone,” said former Mayor Michael Victorino, who led the recognition.

Club members played bingo and had lunch. The club has been meeting at MEO since the Aug. 8 wildfires destroyed their main meeting site, the West Maui Senior Center, and scattered many members all over the island. One club member lost their life in the wildfires and members lost adult children and other relatives. Nearly 40 members lost their homes.


Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments