LAHAINA – The spiritual strength of the West Side community rests on the backs of a dedicated core of volunteers. Ray Lasco was a shining light among them.
Lasco, a humble family man, passed away peacefully two weeks ago at the age of 59, but his legacy of leadership for Lahaina youth will live on for generations to come.
His journey through life centered around his wife, Wendy, and their two children, son Zach and daughter Alexa. He worked at the Marriott and the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort to support the family, and he extended his care for the community to the West Maui Youth Basketball League.
Under the leadership of Don Rosenthal, WMYBL was organized around 40 years ago and has thrived over the years to become a model youth sports program for Maui County.
During the winter months here on the West Side, the Lahaina Civic Center has become a hive of keiki activity, nurturing hula hoop dreams for girls and boys of all ages.
And Ray Lasco was still there. As a coach, referee, scorer, he was literally always there to support the program.
Lasco has been voted WMYBL Coach of the Year several times. “He was part of this league for over 30 years”, Rosenthal said last week.
“He’s coached two teams each year, usually in the Peewee and Midget divisions. When not coaching in a match, he was a referee or scorer at the officials table. He was always there to support the program.
“He was the most requested coach by parents, and he became an icon of the community. Ray was always helping to make things better for everyone involved in the league. During all these years he was a class actor and, winner or loser, he taught children about the positive aspects of life. “
One of those kids was Luis Pico, who grew up on the West Side and graduated as a Peerless Athlete from Lahainaluna High School.
Now husband and father himself, Pico expressed his gratitude for Lasco by saying: “Coach Ray has disciplined me on sportsmanship in a way that will stay with me throughout my life. And I say thank you for life.
Coach colleague Alec Austin added: “It was a privilege to know Ray through the West Maui Youth Basketball League. He was always kind and helpful, and such a great example for all of us coaches to follow. We will miss you.”
Rosenthal concluded by saying: “He touched so many lives over those 30+ years, but more importantly, he was a loving family man, and these days that’s hard to find. Our sincere condolences and prayers go out to Wendy and the children. We will miss him.