Obituaries: Kanani Leigh Kauka

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday January 16, 2019
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Obituaries: Kanani Leigh Kauka

June 16, 1966 — November 10, 2018

Kanani Kauka was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. She went to Dartmouth College, where she was one of the few out LGBT students and was active in the campaign to divest from apartheid South Africa.

She loved living in California. She and her partner, Laura Thomas, were together for 18 years and married four times. One of Kanani's great passions was birding, including volunteering with the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory for 15 years. She was published in "A Woman Like That: Lesbian and Bisexual Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories," among other collections. She worked for Lambda Rising bookstore and the Lambda Book Report. For the last 12 years she worked for the Kaiser Family Foundation.

She was diagnosed with lung cancer in June and died with Laura holding her hand, surrounded by cats and friends. She is mourned by her partner, Laura; their cats Roswell and Yorvit; many friends and colleagues; and everyone at KFF.

Laura has asked people to make donations to the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, GLBT Historical Society, or the Transgender Law Center in Kanani's honor. Her memorial will be held on Sunday, January 20, at 4 p.m. at the Women's Building, 3543 18th Street, in San Francisco.