78-year-old mayor back at his desk days after heart attack

  • Mayor Harry Kim was discharged Friday evening and stayed in Honolulu with his wife over the weekend. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today, file)

HILO — Heart attack Thursday. Back at work Monday.

Mayor Harry Kim was at his desk Monday morning, looking fresh and rested, after undergoing evaluation and a heart procedure late last week. Kim, 78, drove himself to Hilo Memorial Center early Thursday after experiencing chest pains and pressure and was medevaced to The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.


Kim said doctors told him he had a heart attack in Hilo, and possibly a second in Honolulu. Having had three heart attacks previously, Kim knows the signs and sought treatment promptly.

He had a triple bypass 10 years ago, Kim said. He said doctors told him the valves have about a 10-year lifespan.

One of the valves collapsed, Kim said, and the specialists were unsuccessful in their attempts to use stints to prop it open. He’s now on medication.

Kim checked out of the hospital Friday and spent the weekend in Honolulu with his wife, Bobbi.

“I know my body. I know what works,” Kim said. “I know what I have to do.”

The mayor said he doesn’t want to take medication, but he’ll continue the regimen on his doctor’s orders. He also plans to eat more than his previous one meal a day and get more rest.

Kim had been keeping a hectic schedule, starting with daily early morning briefings at Civil Defense and continuing through evening meetings most days. He’s been in office since December 2016, after serving two terms from 2000 to 2008.

Managing Director Wil Okable, who served as acting mayor in Kim’s absence, said he was somewhat surprised to see the mayor back so soon.

“What really impresses me is his dedication to the county,” Okabe said. “He’s driven to help the community.”


Okabe said he and the staff are doing their best to lighten Kim’s workload by taking on more duties.

“I’m going to do everything I can to help him,” Okabe said, “to take the load off.”

  1. Buds4All May 1, 2018 3:50 am

    I would still like him to answer why he and his crew are not more focused on getting the proper facilities and personnel on our Island so we do not have to go off Island for the type of treatment he received. This should be a wake up call to them! It should be avail 7/24 both sides of the Island! This should be our focus as our Island continues to grow. Healthcare, education and diverse Industry growth!

  2. areapolice May 1, 2018 5:14 am

    Yeah, he knows his body but at that age he tends to fall asleep during the day at his office. Time to retire and stay home.

  3. Scooby May 1, 2018 5:35 am

    Part-time broken mayor with his lazy appointed staff collecting huge paychecks.

  4. metalman808 May 1, 2018 10:09 am

    Paying more for food is a gift to the people.

  5. leilani May 1, 2018 11:28 am

    The mayor has had 3 heart attacks and thought he was having another and DROVE?

    Did he not have any consideration for other people who might be on the road if he would have had that heart attack while driving and hit another vehicle? Is he getting “dementia too?”
    Sorry, but he could have killed innocent people too, should’ve called 911..

  6. Mel Wildman May 1, 2018 12:05 pm

    My condolences to Mayor Kim. But not just yet, Mr. Kim, Do you even remember me stating to your as you gleefully smiled like the cat that ate the rat in the Media news photo taken by Staradvertiser your friends AND supporters for TMT, when you pulled your little trying to do harm to the Merrie Monarch by shutting down the use of the pavilion, one that is under Hawaiian ceded land. that was your second mistake. The first was your support to TMT and its sacred land under Hawaiian Culture you despised. In other words, Karma returned. In fact, Mr. Kim i warned you in the past regarding your little political games you conspired against the Hawaiian people on Hawaiian Ceded Lands and the faces you made in photos with that ridiculous ginning smile each time you did your corrupted acts…Let this be a lesson to the others be forewarned from TMT, I made my statement some time ago, if they continued to imply desecration upon Mauna e Wakea, Sacred lands of the Hawaiians, so would karma return its justice. You were warned. If you think Mauna Kea is not sacred, think again. I also predicted the earthquake. Wildman is watching you and the rest.

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