Longtime paniolo cared for Big Isle land entrusted to him
L. Radcliffe 'Rally' Greenwell / 1913-2006
L. Radcliffe "Rally" Greenwell, a foreman and manager at the Big Island's Kahua and Parker ranches from the 1930s through the 1960s, died Sunday at his home in Waimea on the Big Island. He was 92.
"He was born to the cowboy life, and this provided him with innate skill for animal caregiving," said Waimea veterinarian Billy Bergin.
Greenwell was born Christmas Day 1913 at Honokohau, North Kona, site of the Palani Ranch where he grew up speaking fluent Hawaiian. He joined Parker Ranch as a cowboy in 1934 and became a foreman within a year.
In the early years of World War II, he became an assistant manager at nearby Kahua Ranch, eventually rising to manager, staying until 1956.
Greenwell returned as an assistant manager to Parker Ranch, which had grown to 262,000 acres.
Lacking a college education, he nevertheless was the first Big Island rancher to pinpoint copper deficiency as the cause of "yellow calf syndrome," insisted on water development as the key to ranching operations, and avoided overgrazing, said Bergin.
He retired in 1971, helping with family businesses Palani Ranch and Lanihau Properties. In later years he would sit on his lanai overlooking Parker Ranch, drinking bourbon with a dash of water and sugar from a jelly glass, and pointing out geographic features on the ranch, Bergin said.
"Work with (Mother Nature), not against her. Leave the land better than you found it," Bergin quoted him.
Greenwell is survived by his wife of 59 years, the former Patricia Gilman, daughter Joan "Fluffy" Anderson, son David, three grandsons and sister Barbara Fitzgibbons.
Memorial service is at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Hawaii Preparatory Academy chapel. Donations in lieu of flowers to Paniolo Preservation Society in care of Bergin, North Hawaii Community Hospital, or Kona Historical Society.