Public servant, medical miracle and island treasure Virginia Isbell remembered

Virginia Isbell blows the pu signaling the start of the Kona Crime Prevention Committee Police 2017 Officer of the Year Luncheon at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Former South Kona Councilwoman Virginia Isbell, right, and Kealakekua resident Glenn Yano, the namesake’s brother, untie the ceremonial maile lei at the blessing and rededication of Yano Hall in Captain Cook on Tuesday. (Laura Ruminski/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Virginia Isbell is seen in this 1950 photo. Isbell used to model when she still couldn’t walk after suffering bulbar polio. “She was in a walker, but she could at least use her beauty to pay her way through college,” daughter Iwalani Isbell said. (Isbell family photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Virginia Isbell first blew a baritone at age 5. In Hawaii, she was a regular for blessings and special events with her skill of blowing the pu. The pu (conch shell) was a Fijian type that she owned for about three decades. (Isbell family photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Virginia Isbell, a former politician, public servant and pillar of the Kona community, died Sept. 19 on Oahu. She was 87.