Sakada Offspring

Editha Colitti

Lucy Peros | Photos courtesy Colitti ‘Ohana

Kindness is a powerful word. American Writer, humorist and essayist Mark Twain says kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Oprah Winfrey, an American talk show host, television producer, actress and author also says this about the word kindness. To extend yourself in kindness to anybody is an extension in kindness in the world. This month’s featured Sakada Offspring, Editha Colitti shares her father—a son of a Sakada—showed kindness everywhere he went here on Maui.

Editha was born in May 1962 at Maui Memorial Hospital. She attended Lihikai Elementary, Sunnydale Elementary in California, Quartz Hill High School in California and Antelope Valley College and Fashion Institute of Design in Los Angeles, California.

Editha Colitti

Currently, Editha works at RE/MAX Gold Coast Realtors as a realtor and an office manager. Previously, she worked for a company doing statistical research in the oil business for data provided to news outlets and news journals. Previously, she was a stay-at-home mom raising a family. After graduating from college, Editha became a manager for Mervyn’s, a retail store. She then worked at Broadway which became Macy’s. Editha was gearing up to work at the corporate headquarters as her dream job to be a fashion buyer for one of the departments. This meant she would have to daily commute to downtown Los Angeles for work. Editha was a newlywed and she and her husband were about to start a family, so Editha shifted priorities between being a career mom or a stay-at-home mom. She chose the latter.

Editha’s husband, Michael Colitti is the owner and CEO of Hiring Done Right, a consulting firm for private businesses.

Editha and Michael have two daughters. The first is Jenna Christina Salera who is married to Chris Salera. Jenna and Chris have one child, a son named Noah who is 8 months old. Jenna graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and received her degree in International Business & Business Administration Management. She is currently working for Missions Produce, an international and public owned company, in the executive office as a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist.

Editha & Dad Edward Tadeo, taken at the Iao Valley Cultural Center around 1968-1969.

Editha and Michael’s other daughter, Sydney Michelle Colitti, graduated from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. She received her MPH degree in biology and works as an epidemiologist. Sydney, her team and other teams of epidemiologists were part of the scientists who provided data during the COVID outbreak. Some of Sidney’s work was published. She is currently unmarried.

Editha’s brother Mario Tadeo is an architect and is married to Zoe. Between the two of them, they have four adult children. Editha’s other brother, Dean Tadeo works for the Nanea in Wailea. He and his wife Tanya have two sons.

Editha also has three half-sisters and a half-brother. Half-sister Tessie Labra is a widow and has two adult children, half-sister Karen has two adult children, half-sister Nita has two adult children while half-brother Eddie Tadeo Jr. is single.

Editha & Husband Michael in Santa Barbara, taken at the Santa Barbara Zoo where they attended a wedding.

Editha likes to spend time with her family and her husband’s family. They usually enjoy Sunday dinners together. Once a week together with her fun group of ladies, they do Bible study. She also volunteers at her church functions whenever she is needed. She also helps at her in law’s home as one of the hosts whenever she is needed.

Editha’s father, Edward Tadeo was born in Santo Domingo, Ilocos Sur, Philippines on December 17, 1926. He came to Hawai‘i in July 1946 with his father, Agapito Tadeo along with his mother Leona, brothers Larry and Cirilo, and sister Julita Villarin aboard the S.S. Marine Falcon. Although Edward is not a Sakada himself, he nevertheless experienced the same experience as those who were.

While on S.S. Marine Falcon, Edward’s whole family, except his younger brother Cirilo, became very seasick. Because of their seasickness, they did not have much fun while on the boat. They could not eat anything except for fresh fruit. They suffered throughout the eighteen-day boat ride to Kahului Harbor on Maui. The Tadeos felt very relieved and happy when they landed at Kahului Harbor. The family was transported to Camp 13 (located halfway between the airport and Pā‘ia). Edward was only sixteen years old then but started working in the field as an irrigation maintenance man. He was working in that job until 1967 when he decided to look for an easier job. In 1967, Edward started working at the warehouse of A&B Supermarket (located where Central Pacific Bank is today). He stacked merchandise and picked up merchandise from the pier.

Teresa & Edward Tadeo at Editha’s Wedding.

Life at Camp 13 was a fun one according to Edward. On Saturdays and Sundays, as a sixteen-year-old, they spent time watching movies at the old Pu‘unēnē Theater near the mill and rode their bicycles around the camps. They celebrated Rizal Day, weddings, birthdays and baptism parties at the clubhouses. They raised their own pigs, goats and chickens as well as their own vegetables. To water their vegetables, they fetched water from the ditches. They shared their goods with their neighbors and sold the rest for extra money.

In 1959, Edward decided to go home to the Philippines to get married. His first cousin and his sister had a friend named Teresa Taal. Teresa was an incredibly beautiful young lady and they introduced her to Edward. It must have been love at first sight. The chemistry between Teresa and Edward was just so strong. With no doubt about it, in January 1960, they were married. He was able to stay with her in the Philippines for four months before his vacation expired.

Jenna, Sydney & Chris (son-in-law), taken in May 2021, the day of Jenna and Chris’ wedding.

As soon as he returned to Hawai‘i, Edward filed a petition for Teresa to come and join him. In September 1960, Teresa came to follow Edward. They lived at McGerrow Camp (a camp near the Pu‘unēnē Post Office across the Haole Clubhouse) until the 7th increment in Kahului opened in 1963. In 1965, they moved to Kea Street until they decided to move to California in 1973 when their children attended college. They lived in California until all their children graduated. In 1985, they returned to Maui to enjoy their retirement. Edward and Teresa belong to the Santo Domingo Association and the Filipino Catholic Club. Edward’s favorite past time is to go to the old Kahului Shopping Center under the monkeypod trees and talk stories and play card games with the other retirees. Edward and Teresa’s other passion is to travel on cruises and land tours. They have been on Alaskan, European and Panama cruises. They also traveled to Las Vegas several times, Canada and all over the continental United States.

Edward and Teresa’s advice to young people is to go to school, have a good education and work hard. Their advice to older folks is to travel and see the world, take vacations and take cruises while you are still healthy.

Editha shares her personal reflection on her parents, Edward and Teresa Tadeo. I remember that, as a child, both my parents were hard workers. My Mom was always away at work and working hard. She loved to cook. She would cook all kinds of fun and delicious meals and desserts. She was very strict but I don’t recall Mom raising her voice. Mom was always put together, dressed well and her hair was done. I remember she bought me an exceptional doll. This doll could walk. It had batteries and you would have to turn it on to make her walk. I was never allowed to play with it. Mom kept it in a showcase. She would take her out only when we had guests so she could demonstrate how amusing this doll was. To this day, I wonder gleefully if that doll was for me or Mom.

Editha & Michael, on the evening following the wedding in Lahaina.

From what I recall, my Dad seemed very friendly. He had a lot of friends and cousins and we had a lot of parties and get-togethers. We went to a lot of parties. Dad was also very strict but fun. I was a sickly child and I think he took pity on me. Dad would take me on his motorcycle for rides and let me climb over the house’s roof. I remember one day he came home with three mynah birds that he rescued and gave one to me and my brothers, Mario and Dean. Dad was always coming home with fun things for us kids. My Mom and Dad loved to go riding. We would drive up to Lahaina and Dad would pick up hitchhikers along the way. Once we got to Lahaina, he would feel sorry for the haole hippies, who he said were homeless and sat and hung out on the lava rock wall on Front Street. So, Dad would feed them and give them money. Little did he know that these hippies were starving artists and would soon become famous artists and maybe one day own a gallery on that street. We would also go riding down to Big Beach during the days when you had to go through keawe trees to get to the beach. The hippies used to hang out on the beach in tents. Dad again felt sorry for them because they had such a sad life. So, he would give them money and food. As usual, little did Dad know that these hippies were probably vacationing foreigners who chose to camp on the beach for weeks and were enjoying the free spirit life!

Dad was a proud American. He never spoke to his children in his native language because he wanted to emphasize that his kids were Americans. Dad was a patriotic man and loved his adopted country. His views were conservative, yet he cared very much for the environment, taking care of the land and respecting the island. Dad was very grateful and honored to have been able to come to the United States. He never took advantage of his citizenship and learned a very hard lesson when he got into trouble in his younger years when he came to the States. Because of this, he tried to be a good example to his family. Dad emphasized the importance of working hard and getting a good education. And he would quietly demonstrate ways to treat others well and take care of people who do not have the privilege we do.

Lucy Peros is a retired schoolteacher, having taught at St. Anthony Grade School and Waihe‘e Elementary School. Both of her late parents, Elpidio Cachero Cabalo (a 1946 Sakada) and Alejandra Cabudoy Cabalo of Hāli‘imaile, worked for Maui Land and Pine Company. Lucy now enjoys retirement and has time to join other seniors in the Enhance Fitness Program under the Department of Aging three times a week. She also attends the line dancing class and other activities at Kaunoa and joins other Waihe‘e School retirees when help is needed at the school. Lucy also devotes some of her time to activities at Christ The King Catholic Church. She enjoys writing and reading in her spare time.