Walter Flanders wasBy Mary Adamski
Walter E. Flanders Jr. gathered family and friends together two weeks ago to celebrate the 90th birthday of his wife Muriel Macfarlane Flanders.
Songs she composed were a highlight of the festivities, particularly one she wrote about her family's seaside estate in Ewa. "Listen to the rustle of 1,000 palms. ... Lanikuhonua," was her musical recollection of the several hundred coconut palms that Flanders planted and cultivated there.
The trees still grace the Ewa shoreline as a continuing memorial to Flanders, who died yesterday in Honolulu. He was 88.
Flanders was a visionary about changing the landscape surrounding Lanikuhonua too. He was a principal in West Beach Development Co., developing the master plan for what is now Ko Olina Resort.
"During the time he worked on the master plan, he started a nursery in an old quarry in Ewa," said his daughter, Alice Guild. "He was growing trees and landscape plants for that resort. He wanted to make sure they were mature and acclimated. He was sort of ahead of his time."
Flanders donated 80 gold trees to the Kapolei Regional Park to mark an earlier birthday of his wife, who is the granddaughter of James Campbell.
"He was a very creative thinker. He encouraged all members of the family for three generations to think creatively and to problem-solve," said Guild.
The outrigger canoe race to be sponsored tomorrow at Waikiki by the Outrigger Canoe Club will be dedicated to Flanders. The regatta is named for the late Walter J. Macfarlane "who was my father's best friend and brother-in-law," said Guild. "He has never missed a race in 60 years."
The Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, which provides college scholarships for young athletes, is one of the causes he and his wife long supported.
Flanders was born in Pontiac, Mich., and attended Menlo College in California. He was a major supporter of the Automotive Hall of Fame Museum in Dearborn, Mich., in memory of his father who was an automobile pioneer and creator of mass production for Ford Motor Co.
He came to Hawaii in the 1930s, opening Flanders Store for men in downtown Honolulu and later, in Waikiki. He was a flight instructor in Arizona during World War II, then started Island Aviation flying school after the war. He was a long-time agent for Prudential Insurance Co., a member of the Prudential Million Dollar Roundtable.
Graveside services will be at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Old Oahu Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice Hawaii, the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, the Automotive Hall of Fame or the James and Abigail Campbell Foundation.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Muriel; daughters Alice Guild, Mary Philpotts McGrath and Judith Flanders; brother William D. Flanders; 11 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.