On June 5, 2022, Karl Michael Blankenship passed away from complications of diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis and a heart attack at Valley Care Medical Center in Pleasanton, California. His wife Catherine was by his side.
Karl was a loved son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, uncle to all of his nieces and nephews as well as “Uncle” to the members of the Hālau (Polynesian Performance Arts School) he founded with his wife, Catherine: Nā Hula 'O Moku'āina Kūhai Hālau a me Motu'aina.
Born November 17, 1949 in Los Angeles, California, Karl was the Scholar -Athlete and Salutatorian of his graduating class at Centennial High School in Compton, California. He is a B.S.E.E. graduate of Stanford University and a retiree from the electronics industry.
Although he worked many successful years at his chosen profession of engineering, he found his passion in music: Jazz, R&B and especially in Tahitian Drumming. He was the heart beat behind the Tahitian drumming of the Hālau. He was a mentor to many in the Northern California Ori Tahiti Community and was a guiding force of support for dancers. In 2004, Karl was thrilled to take his Group to perform in Fa'a'a Tahiti, where he had some of his drummers make-do using traveling cases as drums because there were too may drums to transport all the way to Tahiti. Under Karl's leadership as Ra'atira Rutu (Lead Drummer) the Group has won many awards.
Uncle Karl always had a kind word for everyone he met, gave good sound advice to his Haumana and always had a bright smile and infectious laugh that made you smile. Ia 'orana! Aloha!