December 12, 2013

Health Department workers, elected officials pay tribute to Fuddy

Hundreds of state Department of Health employees gathered outside the department's headquarters this afternoon to say farewell to the agency's director, Loretta Fuddy, who died in a small plane crash off Molokai Wednesday.

Somber family members met with tearful employees and Gov. Neil Abercrombie spoke emotionally, describing Fuddy, 65, as "selfless, without pretense and completely and totally dedicated" to her work.

"Our hearts are broken but we'll carry on in the spirit of Loretta Fuddy. Imua Loretta," he said.

Elected officials from Washington to Wailuku praised Fuddy, who was born in Kaimuki and graduated from Sacred Hearts Academy, and was mourned as a passionate public servant.

Fuddy served in the health field for 30 years and was named deputy health director in 2002. She held degrees in social work and public health from the University of Hawaii and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

U.S. Sen. Mazie K. Hirono noted, "Loretta was a dedicated public servant who spent most of her life working to improve public health on behalf of Hawaii's families. ... She touched so many lives and will be missed."

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By:  Gregg K. Kakesako & Timothy Hurley
Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser