About Us | Ken Ordenstein Funerals


About Us

History & Legacy

The Ordenstein's have over one hundred and fifty years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life in Hawaii. Families choose us because we put our knowledge, deep experience and concern for their welfare to work for them.  We have a saying; "focus on the other".  We simply focus on our families and their needs.  We are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have an old fashioned high touch, low tech approach to service.                                             

When I sit down with a family, I have just one goal:  to create a  healing, memorable and affordable service that helps a family remember their loved one like they knew them in life. I will listen to their stories and together, we'll build a memorial or funeral service that celebrates a very special life; a service that suits their needs now, and in the future. Families who come to me know that years from now, they will have deep peace-of-mind knowing they did their best to honor their loved one.

Our Legacy

The legacy from my great great grandfather, Manuel Silva was an appreciation for fine craftsmanship and pride in workmanship.  He was a coffin and cabinet maker for C.E. Williams, Undertaker founded in 1859  His obituary in 1906 says: “Hawaii owes him mention in its history for it was he that made the coffins in which most of the Kings and Queens were buried.  Chief among them was the Queen Emma coffin…”

My great grandfather, Jacob, left us a legacy of community.  He was involved with government commissions, civic clubs and business groups all his working life.  He spoke at the luncheon meeting Prince Kuhio called on November 26, 1918, at the Young Hotel that was the genesis of the Hawaiian Civic Clubs.  He along with great grandfather, Manual Silva (named after his father), supervised  the disinterment of Saint Damien in Kalaupapa.  The Saint’s remains were flown to Honolulu and put on a Belgian cruiser for transport home.    My great grandmother, Odelia “Tootsie” Silva worked with her husband Jacob.  She was an avid collector of Hawaiian antiquities  

My grandfather, Walter Ku'uleilehua Ordenstein, was an embalmer.  He believed that death robs us of our dignity and that the science and art of embalming can give us our dignity back.  To him, embalming was not about preserving a body it was about helping us remember the person who died by giving them back their dignity.

Francis, my dad, was kind.  He said that what we do is more a ministry than a business.  He knew that we were really about serving others.  He insisted that we serve with integrity.   So much of what we do, people don’t see.  If we always act with integrity we keep the trust of our community and maintain our right to serve them.

My mother, Anna, many knew her as Kwai Sim,  never lost sight of the fact that for the families that call us for help, the world has changed for them and will never be the same again. She always listened, reassured; comforted.  She believed that ritual, embodied in a funeral or memorial service gave people a mechanism to heal and begin to put their world back together again. She was recognized as a national leader in the funeral profession.  Under her guidance the funeral home was recognized as the best funeral home in the United States in the National Funeral Directors Association’s “Pursuit of Excellence” program in 1985.

I started working at our funeral home when I was thirteen years old.  This is what our family has been doing, generation after generation in Hawai'i Nei. This is what I do.