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Rupert Manalili; 1965-2009
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Rupert Manalili; 1965-2009

Rupert was born and raised in Lakewood, Washington, an army brat and youngest of five siblings. He passed away on December 29th, 2009. He is survived by two sisters, Irene and Bonnie, and two brothers, Robert and Joe. Always interested in the arts, he first pursued graphic design and worked for a label company in Seattle in the mid '80s. He saved up some money and took time out to visit an exchange student he befriended out in Tokyo, Japan. He took up the cause for activism and became a member of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in Seattle. His pursuit of activism led him to Boston, then New York City. He became a member of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of ACT UP New York in the early '90s.

He participated in civil disobedience demonstrations and outreach. Some of the goals for the coalition he saw come true were safer sex education materials distributed to the Asian Pacific Islander community in native languages and the availability of more retro-viral drugs in the battle against HIV infection covered by health insurance. He met his former partner Mark Schaumburg. They were together in Brooklyn for six years. He pursued his new interest in culinary arts and came back to Lakewood in the early 2000s. He worked a couple of seasons on cruise ships for Norwegian Cruise Lines, which took him to the islands of the Bahamas and Hawaii. He later moved out to Creston, Colorado in 2007, then finally out to the rural Island of Molokai in the state of Hawaii in 2009.

Family and friends attended a lovely Hawaiian memorial service on January 8, 2010 at One Alii Park in Molokai. A Hawaiian ceremony was performed, including conch shell horn, Hawaiian chants, and ended with a tropical flower sendoff. A dinner reception followed, which included both Hawaiian and Filipino food. His ashes were later spread into the ocean at Moomomi Beach.

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