‘He touched everyone’s life’: Community left reeling after beloved coach dies in crash
EWA BEACH (HawaiiNewsNow) - Community members turned out for in an impromptu gathering Wednesday night to mourn the loss of a longtime coach killed in a crash.
Todd Takahama, 58, coached Little League baseball and Pop Warner football for several years.
Following his death in a crash Monday night, HNN asked a few family members and friends to talk about him and to share their memories.
What we got instead was more than 50 people who showed up at Ewa Mahiko Park — on short notice — to share their memories and support his grieving family, who were taken by surprise by the turnout.
“When I first came here I was shocked because I pictured, like, three people. And I seen everybody and I’m just very grateful that he touched everyone’s life,” said Takahama’s wife, Dina.
The gathering included many of his former players and their families.
Takahama died after his small truck crashed into a light pole on Renton Road, not far from the park.
“In honor of our coach, we wanted to wear our jerseys tonight to show that we did appreciate him in every single way. Every season. And just every day for the life that we were with him,” said Bresen Chang, one of Takahama’s former Ewa Beach Little League players.
Many of Chang’s team members came.
They were the boys of Chang’s last baseball team before he retired in 2017, after 13 years of coaching. That was the year he led the Ewa Beach team to be the Hawaii Junior League champions.
Several players had him as a coach for eight to 10 years.
“He would always give it to you straight. He would never beat around the bush,” said former player Caleb Lomavita, who went on to be part of Saint Louis School’s state championship baseball team.
He’s now a catcher with the California Golden Bears.
“I know the boys can back me up on this, he would always want the best out of you.”
Takahama was also known for expecting the most from his players.
“He wanted my son to play baseball for him. And at the I time, I said no. I don’t want that coach. He’s a mean coach,” said Corinna Tadeo.
Her son ended up playing for Coach Todd. What changed her mind?
“I see his teaching, what he wanted. He wanted to see boys play baseball. Good baseball.”
“He was always just mean to us, but that grew on us,” said Lomavita. “And as the years went on, we just learned to just love that and adapt from that. And that’s what brought out the best in us.”
They remembered things like his favorite song, “Brick House” by the Commodores, which he played after every victory. They played that song Wednesday night.
The outpouring overwhelmed his wife, who shared what one of the parents had told her.
“She was saying, Dina, the impact Todd had on the boys and the family and a lot of lives, I didn’t know that. He was just a coach. A husband. A father. That was it,” she said.
She then looked around at those who had gathered around her.
“I appreciate all you guys,” she said, before tearing up and leaning her head on her younger son’s arm.
Honolulu police have not determined a cause for the crash, although investigators ruled out speed as a factor.
Services are pending.
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