DAVID BABINEAU / 1913-2005
Owner of Skillet active in Kailua politics
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Businessman David Bertley Babineau, 92, who owned and operated the Skillet restaurant in Kailua in the 1960s and 1970s, died Dec. 27 at Castle Medical Center.
Babineau was born July 8, 1913, in Rouleau, Saskatchewan, Canada. In addition to running the Skillet, a family restaurant in Kailua's only bowling alley, Babineau also ran the restaurant at the Bay View Golf Course in Kaneohe for a few years and was active in local politics, said his daughter, Julie Garcia of Kailua.
When the Babineaus moved to Kailua in 1962, "there was one streetlight and a dairy where Daiei and apartments are now," Garcia recalled.
Her father and some fellow businessmen who were dubbed "The Kailua Five" conceived development plans for Kailua in the 1960s that envisioned "parking on the edge of town and walking in," she said.
Babineau's wife, Dorothy Rose, recalled that the plans called for "lots of trees, sidewalks and all the stores made much more attractive."
Arden Wallace of Kaneohe, a fellow member of Windward Rotary Club, said he met Babineau after his retirement and found him "a very friendly, outgoing guy."
While serving in the Canadian Air Force in World War II, Babineau survived being shot down over the South China Sea on Christmas morning 1941. His account of the incident in a Canadian newspaper at the time described the survivors kicking away sharks for hours until they were rescued.
Babineau met his future wife, Dorothy, in Singapore, where she was born and raised.
Babineau was a longtime member of the Kailua Chamber of Commerce and a former president of the Windward Rotary Club, Garcia said.
"He was really easygoing. He laughed a lot," his daughter recalled. "He was really a nice, pleasant man, very rarely angry, and usually put other people ahead of him, to a fault. He was trusting."
Other survivors include son David Wayne of Nuuanu; brothers Johnny and Gordon; sisters Irene Surbey, Joan McLean and Doris Schmit, all of Canada; and four grandchildren.
A service to scatter Babineau's ashes will be held at Kailua Beach Park at 4 p.m. Saturday.