‘He had a huge heart’ : Family grateful for Good Samaritans who stayed with Konawaena teacher after fatal crash

  • Mike Shine with his family. Shine, right, died in a single-vehicle crash near Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Sunday morning. Several good Samaritans attempted CPR to save his life. (Special to West Hawaii Today

  • Mike Shine with his wife, Käri. Shine died in a single-vehicle crash near Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Sunday morning. Several Good Samaritans attempted CPR to save his life. (Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Konawaena Middle School students wrote cards for condolences after the death of their science teacher, Mike Shine. (Tiffany DeMasters/ West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Mike Shine lived up to his name, as those who knew him described the Waikoloa man to be larger than life, in more ways than one.

“He had a huge heart,” said Shine’s widow, Käri on Wednesday. “He was opinionated and knew how to stand firm on things that were right.”


Shine died after being involved in a single-vehicle crash about 7 a.m. Sunday. Several Good Samaritans, including celebrities Rose McGowan and partner Rain Dove, stopped to render aid and administer CPR. Shine was eventually taken to North Hawaii Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:38 a.m.

The morning of the crash, Shine was returning to Waikoloa after taking someone to the airport. Käri said the last text she received from her husband was at 7:06 a.m.: “Passing Four Seasons, coming home.”

At 7:28 a.m., Käri recalled receiving another text from her husband’s phone, written by a stranger indicating to her “this wasn’t a joke,” but Shine was in accident and receiving CPR.

“Our whole family thanks the people,” Käri said of those Good Samaritans. “Mike would’ve been the first to stop and I’m so glad somebody stopped for him.”

Shine was born and raised on Oahu. Käri met her husband in 1987 while working selling eyeglass frames. They got together at that time and Shine followed Käri to the mainland where they eventually got married in her home state of Iowa.

The Shines have been married for nearly 30 years. Käri said they have never been more than two weeks apart.

“We followed each other everywhere,” she said. “It was a wonderful marriage.”

Käri said Shine just found out he was going to be a grandfather before he died.

After teaching science in high school and two junior colleges in the Midwest, Shine took a job last school year at Konawaena Middle School as a sixth-grade science teacher.

“He came back to the islands to teach these kids,” his wife said. “His passion was to teach kids. He loved to promote good things. He was a positive role model.”

On Wednesday, Konawaena Middle School principal Teddy Burgess echoed the same sentiments as Käri. Shine was a large man, not just in stature but also in personality. Standing at 6 feet, 6 inches, teachers described Shine as having a booming voice.

“He had strong opinions about the world,” said social studies teacher Guy Gambone on Wednesday. “Every lunchtime would turn into a discussion about current events and the world.”

One thing that stands out to Burgess was Shine’s activities.

“He was that teacher that liked getting kids involved in hands-on experiments, not just reading facts,” the principal said.

On Monday, Burgess broke the news to the students and teachers who worked directly with Shine.

“In the 26 years I’ve been in education, I’ve never had a teacher die on duty,” the principal said. “I gathered the students who he taught and I was very factual.”

He added there were counselors available for the kids.

Gambone worked closely with Shine last year. Not only was the 53-year-old his co-worker, Gambone’s twin sons were in his science class.

“As a parent, he knew his science,” he said.

While Shine’s experience in teaching was primarily with older-aged students, Gambone said, he was realizing “what it was to teach sixth graders.”

This year, Gambone said, he was a partial-release mentor for Shine. They had been talking about changes he could make to get his students more engaged.

“As a parent, he was always open to talking about your kids,” Gambone said. “Not all teachers are comfortable doing that.”


The family plans to hold a memorial for Shine at 4 p.m. Friday at Big Island Baptist Church, located in the Keauhou Shopping Center at 78-6831 Alii Drive. Students made cards for the family offering their condolences, which Burgess plans to deliver at that time.

“It’s sad to see a good man go,” Gambone said as he fought back tears.