The Punahou Alumni Association presented Hastings Judd Kauwela “Pal” Eldredge ’64 with its highest honor, the “O” in Life Award, at a luncheon yesterday at the President’s Pavilion.
PAA President Bonnie Pang ’86 presented Eldredge with the award, which has been given annually since 1954 to an alumnus or alumnae who exemplifies the ideals of service to Punahou School and the Hawai‘i community. Recent awardees include Bob Akinaka ’59, Judy Sheehan Dawson ’57 and Warren K.K. Luke ’62.
Co-nominator and close friend Michael Moss ’72 highlighted Eldredge’s lifelong commitment to others. “Pal’s been blessed with a very giving heart. For his family, his friends, his students, his players, his music, his Hawaiian culture, his community, Pal is all in,” Moss said. “He has dedicated his adult life in service to Punahou and the community … and improved the lives of so many others.”
Eldredge, the youngest son of Hawai‘i baseball pioneer David “Pop” Eldredge II, has carried on his family’s tradition of promoting education and athletics. He taught grades
3 – 5 at Punahou from 1970 – 2007 and coached football, basketball and baseball. He also served as Punahou head coach for baseball for 25 years, leading the Buff ’n Blue to ILH titles in 1986 and 1994, and to the 1989 state title. Local sports fans know him as “Mr. Baseball,” the pithy color analyst for University of Hawai‘i baseball and softball, and a longtime youth league baseball coach.
After graduating from Punahou, Eldredge earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and his master’s in education from the University of Hawai‘i – Manoa. Although retired from teaching, Eldredge remains an active volunteer. He is the music director for May Day and Holoku, contributes to many performances and activities throughout the School, and to the annual Alumni Reunion and Lu‘au, where he is a member of the Imu Emeritus Gang. The luncheon itself was filled with mele and hula, including a touching performance by his daughters and nieces, who danced to a recording of Eldredge and family members singing.
“Punahou is a way of life,” Eldredge said, who expressed happiness and gratitude for the award, and also took the opportunity to honor the legacy of his late brother and sister Dave Eldredge ’49 and Hattie Eldredge ’66 Phillips, who received the “O” in Life Award in 1991 and 2008, respectively. “The School has been a part of our immediate family for over 60 years and will continue long after I am gone. There’s no school like Punahou.”