Music is Bob Marley's One Love - played at Ira's Memorial Service

Ira at 17

Welcome to my son's Memorial site. Ira Thomas Morihara was born Aug. 3, 1979, in Eutin, Germany. A few months after his birth, Ira's family moved to Maui.

Ira was a brilliant student and athlete. He had a good head for math and was learning fractions in the 1st grade. He enjoyed bodyboarding, soccer, surfing, baseball and football more or less in that order.

Following his parents' divorce, Ira was raised with his older brother, Jackson, by my parents on Oahu since he was 9 years old. He excelled in sports and academics under the loving discipline of his grandmother.

At the University of San Diego, Ira began grading papers for the math dept. as a freshman and also earned extra money tutoring. He was well-liked and enjoyed his life at school.

Ira passed away in his sophomore year, March 15, 1999. Although he never regained consciousness following his fatal skateboard accident on campus, I was able to be with him at his bedside during his last night on earth, as he lay in a coma.

Ira was in perfect physical health, despite the head trauma, so at the time of his passing we were able to contribute to an organ donor program to help others in need. The following letter is from the transplant coordinator we worked with at the Organ and Tissue Acquistion Center:

Dear Dennis,

I want to express my sincere condolences to you and your family for the sudden loss of your son. I realize that you had to make one of the most difficult decisions at a time of such deep sadness. It was remarkable that you were able to look past your own personal tragedy in an effort to help others. It is my hope that knowing the results of your generous gift will bring some sense of comfort to you and your family.

The liver recipient is from the San Diego area and is a retired real estate agent. He is doing well and is expected to return home to his family this week. He is grateful to you for this precious "gift of life."

The first kidney recipient is a 38-year-old single mother of a six-year-old who lives in Massachusetts. She lost the function of her kidneys from diabetes and has been on dialysis since 1995. The second kidney recipient is a 56-year-old mother of three children ages 17, 16 and 14, from the San Diego area. These kidneys started working immediately and both recipients have returned home to their families.

Ira's corneas were placed for transplant with the San Diego Eye Bank's "Gift of Sight" program. One of the corneas was transplanted into a 15-year-old boy that had damaged his eye in an accident. His sight and the sight of another individual have been restored. The donated tissues will also help heal the wounds of cancer, burn and traumatic injuries for more than thirty-five people.

On behalf of these recipients and their families, I would like to convey our deepest condolences and heart felt thanks. I know that words cannot alleviate the pain you and your family must feel, but I hope that in the months ahead, you will gain comfort in knowing you have given the "gift of life."

I am available should you have further questions or if I can assist your family in any way.

Warmest Regards,

Tamara Wright

I intend to use this site to commemorate my son through images, words & music and I hope his friends and family will be able to contribute. Ira touched many lives and I have several letters and words of kindness written by those who knew him. I would like to share these notes and letters with visitors. Thank you for this opportunity. Ira's father, Dennis

Here is a note from one of Ira's teammates:

"Over the past five years, I was blessed to be able to call Ira my friend. We were teammates in both baseball and football for three years at Kalaheo. We also played summer baseball together for a couple years, giving us the opportunity to hang out a lot more. Out of all the wonderful memories I have of Ira, the one that sticks out the most is of our collision in the outfield one game his senior year. He was playing center and I was in right when a deep fly ball was hit into the gap. We both gave chase with all we had. I was lucky that he had good peripheral vision, because at the last minute he saw me and tried his best to slow down. We still collided, but by him slowing down we both were able to get up injury free. That moment was a perfect example of how great a teammate and friend he truly was. He always looked out for others before himself. He was quick to offer help when it was needed and never failed to cheer me up when I was down. He brought smiles to thousands of faces over the years, and he will continue to do so through memory. I can't thank Ira enough for the friendship he showed me, and I know he is in a better place right now, walking hand in hand with the Lord. Ira, I will never forget you. Rest in Peace my Brother. Love, S.

Ira with his older brother, Jackson and his younger brother, Nathanial and sister, Heather





The following is the text of Ira's last Father's Day Card to me, 1998:

Dear Dad,

Thank you for everything and for having a Mom as caring as Grandma. Even though things didn't turn out the way we would have liked them to, I still feel that you have succeeded as a parent and always as a father.

Everyday I try and do things the way I think you would. I hope to be just like you with all the wisdom you possess. As I am learning more and more, I am beginning to understand the logic in the way you see things and even in the belief of a religion. I have not yet quite discovered the religious part of my life but I totally agree that we should count our blessings and be grateful for the life given to us. All we can do is try our best to live the best life that we have.

I don't think I ever told you that I loved you since you would tuck me into bed when I was a little kid. You rubbing my head and back as I fell asleep is probably my fondest childhood memories. Just because it's hard for me to say these things, don't feel that I don't think them.

I hope everything is going well in New York for you and our family. I love you and I hope you had a Happy Fathers Day. I am thinking about going to visit during next year's spring break. Love, Ira

Here are some notes that were on a sympathy card given to me at the hospital at the time of Ira's passing:

"I can't put into words how much Ira meant to me and how much he taught. I'm extremely grateful to him and everybody who brought him up and molded him into the incredible person he is. I will take him with me forever and live in the loving, generous spirit like he would have wanted. I'm forever grateful for having him in my life. I love you Ira." - B.

"I will always remember him for one thing - his smile. He always was smiling. In my classes he was so incredibly smart and athletic, he killed us all at any sport. The last time I saw him was when he said goodbye with his usual smile. Thank you so much for such an incredible kid." Love, C.

"I remember about 2 weeks ago he told me that he used to be a bully in grammar school. I could only laugh in disbelief. The Ira that I knew was so peaceful, caring, and happy with himself and everyone around him. In the water or playing soccer, or jamming or eating in the cafeteria he was always happy, even when everyone was complaining of lacking something. Although he is so young, I feel there was a completeness to his life and the love that he brought about in us and between us has and will change us forever. Ira, I remember your smile so clearly. Know that I love you and will never forget the good that you brought to us." Love, S.

"To me Ira's love for all those around him and for life, was something that I always admired. When he smiled it was like a huge beautiful harmony had just been unleashed. I always wanted to get to know him better to figure out how he remained so peaceful and loving. You had an amazing son and no words can express the beauty and love that he spread when he would kindly look at you in the eye and smile. I will always remember his smiling. Have strength, my prayers are with you." J.

"Ira has always been the coolest engineer I know!! He never worried about anything, and he was always making jokes. Every Friday he would come into class and say 'Aloha Friday'. I will always remember how cool he was to everyone. I'm going to miss him, but I'm sure I'll see him in heaven." C.

"I don't think I can sum up in this limited amount of space Ira's unique traits that made him liked by all. He is everything that people aim to be like - kind hearted, intelligent, sincere. Someone who knew who he was. I will miss his smile. He and your family are in my prayers." Sincerely, L.

"Our love and aloha is with you right now. Ira will be missed more than you know. He will live forever in our hearts. Please take care of yourselves." L.

"Ira is truly a great friend and has touched many of us. He will continue to touch us forever. We will greatly miss him. He will live on forever in our hearts." J.

More notes from a sympathy card:

"Ira was the most positive person to touch me here at USD. His enthusiasm for life grows on people, and he made us all smile - he still does. I will never forget how much he has influenced me. It makes me proud to think that I was blessed to know such a special person. I love Ira so much. Best Wishes, M."

"What is one to write on a piece of paper about Ira? I have his portrait in my mind and smile each time I think of him. Je vie en toi, mon amis. O."

"Ira was my favorite person to have lunch with. He always used to make fun of me! It was the coolest... He was special. K."

"Ira could walk into a room and not say a word and people would still know he was there. He was so relaxed and calm, ready to just make sure people are having fun. I know I will never forget Ira, and the love he brought to so many people. A."

"Ira's spark and smile will be with us always. My prayers are with you. A."

"Ira was always a wonderful friend to everyone! Always positive and willing. Now that he is with God, he will be an angel and guardian to us all. Thank you for your wonderful son! We all love him and both of you. If you ever need anything, please call us. Love, A."

"Cards aren't fun, can't express real feelings, I can't write anything more than anyone else wrote but I know that your son was one of my closest friends. I loved him and always will."

"Your son was one of the nicest people I've met. He was fun, sweet and cared about everyone. My thoughts go out to you. T."

"What could I say about Ira that you don't already know. He was one of the sweetest, nicest, peaceful people that I knew. He was always such a gentleman. I am fully honored to have known him, and I will always cherish the memories I have of him. My prayers and thoughts are with you always. C."

Click on the Surfer for MORE ABOUT IRA AND MORE PHOTOS    

CLICK HERE for IRA AS AN ANGEL & A Beautiful Letter


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I would like to thank with all my heart my good friend Julane Grant. It was through Julane that this Memorial Site exists in its finished form as she did ALL the artwork, organization, and technical guidance that was necessary to put this site together. Julane also added a lot of spiritual hand-holding and guidance for which I will be forever grateful. Julane is the author of a wonderful book on the subject of parental grief, WHEN YOUR FRIEND'S CHILD DIES. (Dennis, I was inspired by your terrific son and your desire to try to create a memorial that would do him justice. He's lovin' it, I betcha! Love, J)

UPDATE: I remade this site from the Angelfire site to get the guestbook working and give Ira his own domain name. Merry Christmas!

-Nathaniel, 12-25-14