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An Exceptional Man with a Generous Heart


Photo Caption: Nelson A Boteilho Sr.

by Alma Tassi

The Maui community said goodbye to one of its best this past November. Nelson A Boteilho Sr. passed away peacefully on November 7, 2023, at his home surrounded by his loving family.

Boteilho was born on January 26, 1932, in Paia, Maui. He was the last of ten children born to Frank and Janet Boteilho. He graduated from St. Anthony Catholic School in 1950. Shortly after, he met his bride, Ann Cleo Yamashita. The two were married in 1952 and had five boys. November 15 would be their 71st wedding anniversary.

He was in the army for 20 years and in charge of the fire station at the Kahului Airport for many years. Eventually, he found his calling in real estate. Colleague Bernice Lu shares, “Nelson and I have been in the business for over 40 years. I got to know him when he joined the Maui Realty office in Pukalani. I was the broker in charge before we opened our own.” She recalls, “When we opened Maui Real Estate Group with Claire Gibo, we meant to do it for a little bit. 20 years later, we said where did the time go?”

Gibo adds, “He knew my mother and it wasn’t just work. It was family-oriented. When we were starting the office, because of his great reputation, people were willing to wait until we opened because they wanted to work with him. That was a nice start for us.”

With deep roots on the island, Boteilho would often be the executor of trusts for his relatives. Lu remembers, “One time he had to sell this property that had 14 people on the title. What a feat to get 14 people to agree on terms and conditions and price. That to me was amazing!” His ability to bring people together was testament to the trust he developed in his community.

In 1997, he was awarded the REALTOR® Associate of the Year in 1997. Lu recalls, “I know that he won that award on the basis that he epitomized the true realtor spirit. Money didn't drive him. He would help other agents any way he could. He was just the kind of guy that would make things happen.”

Maui Real Estate Group continues on with Gibo and Lu and said even until the end, people were still calling and wanting his help. Gibo says, “With everything he had going on, he was always asking me if I needed something. He was always looking to give to the community.”

Boteilho lived a long and full life, surrounded by a loving family and a community that benefited from his generosity. Lu says, “Anyone who has dealt with him would really tell you the same thing. He had a big heart.”

Realtor® means a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Do you know a Realtors®Association of Maui member who should be recognized for their contributions to the community? If so, send your story idea to Alma Tassi at

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