Aloha 'Oe, Reverend Samuel Cox - Honolulu Civil Beat

About the Author

Lila Mower

Lila Mower is president of Kokua Council, a Hawaii nonprofit that advocates for the most vulnerable among us.

The Reverend Cox exemplified a lifelong commitment to giving hope and trusting in his fellow humans.

Editor’s note: This Community Voice was submitted by Kokua Council President Lila Mower on behalf of the council’s board of directors.

The Reverend Samuel (“Sam”) Cox lived a long life as a champion of human dignity and compassion.

In his early years, with degrees in theology and social work, he travelled the world as a social work missionary, then moved to Hawaii and worked for the state as a group social worker and served as the executive director of the Moiliili Community Center.

In 1970, Reverend Cox helped found Hale Kipa to provide residential, outreach, and therapeutic foster care services. Under his guidance for 26 years, Hale Kipa grew from a single home to 12 homes on Oahu, Kauai, and Hawaii island, supporting young adults, including those in crisis, to successfully transition to self-sufficiency. It has now served over 71,000 Hawaii youth.

Reverend Cox was designated a Living Treasure of Hawaii in 2008 in recognition of his significant contributions to a more humane society. This program was created by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission and was inspired by the Living National Treasures of Japan.

In 2013, over the opposition from some of Hawaii’s largest churches, Reverend Cox participated as a supporter of same-sex marriage and called for the Legislature to legalize same-sex marriages. Instead of being a polarizing figure, he did what he always did and pulled others into his orbit; same-sex marriages were legalized in December of that year.

The following year, Reverend Cox was recognized with the Martin Luther King Jr. Peacemaker Award for his decades of promoting greater tolerance and understanding.

Jim Shon and Rev. Samuel Cox, right, of the Kokua Council. (Kokua Council photo)

Ten years ago, with the approval of his sons, Reverend Cox donated the Kailua home they grew up in to become another transitional residence. Their home is now known as the “Beacon of Hope” for women to rebuild their lives after incarceration at the Women’s Community Correctional Center.

The Reverend Cox then moved to Pohai Nani, a senior residence, and formed and served as President of the Windward Chapter of Kokua Council to educate and advocate on behalf of kupuna, demonstrating his continued commitment to community engagement.

The Reverend Cox exemplified a lifelong commitment to giving hope and trusting in his fellow humans. His gentle and positive presence will be sorely missed by his colleagues in Kokua Council, his neighbors at Pohai Nani and the greater windward community, his wife of 10 years, Babs Ripple, and his colleagues in their many inspirational and consequential endeavors.

Rest in peace, dear friend.

Community Voices aims to encourage broad discussion on many topics of community interest. It’s kind of a cross between Letters to the Editor and op-eds. This is your space to talk about important issues or interesting people who are making a difference in our world. Column lengths should be no more than 800 words and we need a photo of the author and a bio. We welcome video commentary and other multimedia formats. Send to The opinions and information expressed in Community Voices are solely those of the authors and not Civil Beat.

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About the Author

Lila Mower

Lila Mower is president of Kokua Council, a Hawaii nonprofit that advocates for the most vulnerable among us.

Latest Comments (0)

Glad you shown a light on one of the truly blessed for his untiring good works. In the spirit of Father Damien.

oldsurfa · 1 week ago

Great job, Lila! Sam truly cared about all people, especially the disadvantaged, and he devoted his life to trying to make our world a better place.

bjs779 · 2 weeks ago

Beautiful eulogy, Mahalo.

Honolulu_Lulu · 2 weeks ago

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