Everett “Ev” A. Rea III, 94, a former longtime resident of Volcano, Hawaii, died Nov. 21, 2017, at his home in Cold Spring, where he lived since 2010 with his daughter and son-in-law, Joel Ann Rea and Joe Brancatelli.
Born March 21, 1923 in Webster City, Iowa, Ev was the eldest of four children of Everett A. and Regna (King) Rea.
After traveling with his parents and their growing family from Iowa to New York to Ohio and then to California, they settled in Costa Mesa, just a few miles from the beach, where Ev quickly took to the outdoor lifestyle.
Encouraged by his dad, he took up golf at the age of eight, playing as often as his chores and many Depression-era jobs as newspaper carrier, milk and egg delivery person, soda jerk, fence painter and more permitted. (He continued playing golf until age 91.) He rode his bike to the beach whenever he could, towing a surfboard and learning to sail. At age 16, he became licensed to operate the tiny 1919 Balboa Island Ferry as boat captain, ferrying two cars, pedestrians and bicyclists between Balboa Island and the Balboa Peninsula.
He also developed his signature style of humor and love of words and numbers from an early age. He was a famed prankster, an avid reader, lover of crossword puzzles (which he completed in pen) and a whiz at solving complicated math problems in his head. He was also a devoted music fan, enjoying jazz, big band, classical and Hawaiian music. A pride and joy was the hi-fi system he built in the 1950s and maintained until his 2010 move to New York.
Following graduation from Costa Mesa’s Harbor High School in 1940, he entered the California Institute of Technology to pursue a degree in chemical engineering. He enjoyed his studies at the all-male school, also finding time for a bit of fun, including disassembling a roommate’s Model T car, only to reassemble the car and have it running in the friend’s dorm room when he returned from classes.
After the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Ev enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving primarily on Guadalcanal in the Pacific Theater from January 1943 to May 1946. It was during an R+R respite in Honolulu that he fell in love with Hawaii and vowed to return. He also served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1948 to 1958.
Upon his 1946 WWII military discharge, Ev returned to college but this time “to a co-ed school with girls,” enrolling as a math major at UCLA, where he helped to build one of the earliest computers, ENIAC. He also joined the Sigma Pi fraternity. With eight other “older” former military service men who were also Upsilon Chapter Sigma Pi members, Ev founded the Old Men’s Club for men aged 24 and older, which continued to meet and provide alumni support long after graduation. Ev was recently honored with the fraternity’s Emerald Cross Award for 60 years of service to Sigma Pi’s Upsilon Chapter.
While at UCLA, Ev met his future wife, Joan “Jody” Woford. They married in 1948, living in Los Angeles, Covina and Newport Beach. Their daughter Joel was born in 1954 and son Ev IV in 1956. The family was thrilled to move to Honolulu in 1970 before relocating to Millbrae, California, five years later when Ev was transferred to San Francisco.
Ev worked as a consulting actuary for a variety of firms in Los Angeles, Honolulu and San Francisco prior to retiring as a partner from KPMG when he and Jody moved to Volcano in 1982. On the Big Island at 4,000-feet elevation, Ev and Jody built their dream home overlooking the 11th fairway of the Volcano Golf Course near the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. They enjoyed golfing and entertaining, and for more than 20 years Ev served as treasurer of the No Hu Hu men’s golf group that played weekly at the Volcano course.
Besides his daughter and son-in-law, he is survived by a brother, Ralph King Rea of Laguna Hills, California. Ev’s wife Jody died in 2008 and his son, Everett A. Rea IV, in 2016.
The family plans a private service in the spring.
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