HONOLULU (KHON2) — Two University of Hawaii earth science professors along with their two sons were involved in a serious accident while on a family vacation in New Mexico. The community came together to support the family.

Professor Jasper Konter passed away on July 3 while his wife Bridget Smith-Konter had serious injuries and is going through physical therapy.

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Bridget’s parents were also in the accident. Along with her husband, Bridget’s mom passed as well.

Colleagues who worked alongside Jasper and Bridget spoke out.

Aaron Pietruszka, UH Manoa Department of Earth Sciences associate specialist, said it was a difficult time for him “but you know we’re remembering Jasper for all the amazing things he’s done in terms of both his research as a marine geologist — but he was also an amazing teacher.”

Even though they weren’t originally from Hawaii, they’ve really embraced the culture and everything Hawaii has to offer and brought a wonderful perspective sense of joy to the work.”

Jenny Engels, UH Manoa Women in SOEST Co-Founder

Both professors ran programs and studies within the community. 

EP’IK is a program they ran helping high school students learn about Hawaiian culture through the environment. They held the latest program in June 2022.

“But this year being in person, fully in person for the first time, we did three great field trips and just I think their enthusiasm really shines through,” said Engels.

Click here to find more information about EP’IK.

The Department of Earth Sciences said this has impacted a lot of people within the department. They’ve received many messages from the community and from people around the country.

Click here to see the article written by the university calling Jasper a “dedicated mentor and exceptional scientist.”

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Jenny Engels put together a GoFundMe account to support the Smith and Konter families.