By Wayne Harada
Jennie M. Von Rohr, mother of Island entertainer and Tony Award nominee Loretta Ables Sayre, died Wednesday (Dec. 16) of an aneurysm after suffering a heart attack. She also had been battling a kidney ailment for a dozen years.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Mon Dec. 21) at Unity Church, 3608 Diamond Head Circle.
Von Rohr was a proud and devoted supporter of her performing daughter, but never got to see Ables Sayre in her Tony Award-nominated role of Bloody Mary in Lincoln Center’s musical hit, “South Pacific.”
“She was a strong, loving woman who had battled kidney disease for the past 12 years,” said Ables Sayre, who is back in Hawai’i on leave from “South Pacific.”
“She went quiety and (was) surrounded by love,” said Ables Sayre. “She was our matriarch and leader. It was because of her vision and lifelong love of Hawai’i that she got my stepfather to request being transferred here from California. This is where she wanted to live and raise her family.”
Von Rohr had attempted to make it to Broadway to catch her daughter in the star-making role late in her singing career — at age 50 — but the flight was challenging; Von Rohr made the flight to California, but the trip was too strenuous for Von Rohr, who required dialyses treatment, so scrapped plans to go to New York and returned home.
Von Rohr was born in Phoenix, AZ and worked at Liberty House.
Besides Ables Sayre (and spouse David Sayre), survivors include daughters Barbara Karges and Judith Jones; sons Raymond Ables and James Von Rohr; and six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Attire is casual for the memorial services. Graveside services will be at Hawaiian Memorial Park.
n lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Kidney Fund, www.kidneyfund.org.