One of the most renowned figures in Hawaii high school sports history, Johnston Kaipo Spencer ’75 was a star quarterback in football and guard in basketball at Saint Louis School in Honolulu. Even as a teen, he was more popular among most local sports fans than University of Hawaii athletics. Kaipo went on to break school passing records as a quarterback at Santa Clara University. With knee injuries preventing a pro career, Spencer began coaching at his high school alma mater. With Spencer as head coach in 1986, the St. Louis Crusaders won the state championship for the first time since 1968. Born fourth in a family of five children, Kaipo was something of a comedian. Father John was a professional musician, while mother Vivian was a sports-crazed homemaker. “She’s the one who would be outside throwing passes with him, practicing,” said older brother Kenui. “When Santa Clara recruited him she was the one who made sure he got a full-ride scholarship and wouldn’t be moved from playing quarterback.” He died May 3, 2020, at age 66 and is survived by brothers John Jr. and Kelani, sisters Kehaulani and Nalani, sons Nainoa, Waik,a and Kaipo, and many nephews, nieces and grandchildren.

02 Jun 2020