You always heard Shep Killen before you saw him, and in a good way. You would hear his bellowing laughter and you knew the good times were rolling once again.
Shep was one of my first regular customer when I started bartending in 1989 between newspaper jobs. We quickly became friends. We talked and laughed about everything. Sometimes we even discussed football, which he played at the University of Hawaii as a wide receiver and tight end in the early 1980s. But mostly we laughed, at the same crazy and silly stories we told each other repeatedly, and never tired of.
He was one of the friendliest people I’ve ever come across. Gregarious, outgoing people often are not good listeners, but Shep somehow gave others his full attention despite his big personality.
He died the other day, a few weeks short of his 50th birthday. One of the tributes I read about him was from a teammate who noted that as a veteran player Shep was helpful to freshmen, getting them acclimated to the team and Hawaii. That sounds like my friend Shep Killen. He will be missed by many.