COURTESY SUE BOYNTON
David Boynton, "Mr. Kokee," was an avid hiker and photographer as well as an educator and conservationist. Here, he is atop Waipoo falls in Kokee Park. CLICK FOR LARGE
Conservationist, teacher shared Kauai
David Boynton / 1945-2007
David Boynton, a man known as "Mr. Kokee" for his contributions to the state parks surrounding Kauai's Waimea Canyon, died Saturday doing what he loved: hiking along a treacherous trail to a remote beach.
Boynton, 61, was going from Kokee State Park to Milolii Beach to photograph sea turtles when he fell off a 300-foot cliff, his wife said yesterday. He was found by rescuers Sunday.
Sue Boynton, his wife of 11 years, said her husband was "a walking encyclopedia" of knowledge about the huge expanse of wilderness in Kauai's interior, from the flora to the fauna.
And he loved sharing his knowledge with students, creating a curriculum for Kauai students about the natural history of their island home at the Kokee Discovery Center.
"He touched 10 years' worth of classes," his sister, Lee Hoxie, said yesterday. "He was always giving of himself."
Sue Boynton said yesterday that her husband went out of his way to make Kokee special for students and tourists alike.
An avid and talented photographer, Boynton would take photos of every class that took one of his hikes, giving them their own personal reminders of the world around them.
And he was "always there to help," his wife said, often lending his knowledge to rescuers searching for missing hikers and helping out stranded or lost tourists.
Boynton fell in love with nature "probably when he was 2 years old," his mother, Elizabeth, said yesterday. His love of photography started not long afterward.
He grew up on Oahu and attended Punahou School before attending college on the mainland.
But his conservationist and educational skills were on full display when he moved to Kauai in the 1970s, his wife said. He founded the Kauai Chapter of the Sierra Club and worked closely with the Youth Conservation Corps, which planted vegetation near the Kilauea Lighthouse.
He had been working at the Kokee Discovery Center, which he had helped found, for 13 years. He was employed by the Department of Education and taught numerous classes at the center.
On Saturday he planned on going on a day hike, alone, to Milolii, a remote beach along the Na Pali Coast. The hike is steep and treacherous but one to which he was "spiritually connected," his wife said yesterday.
"He really loved that hike," she added. "David (died) in a place he would have wanted to be."
An avid surfer, Boynton had "a very fun sense of humor," his sister said, and "nothing was terribly serious."
His wife said he will live on through his work at Kokee and through his pictures.
"If people really want to feel his essence," Sue Boynton said, they can go to his Web site at www.davidboyntonphotography.com "to see some memorable galleries."
Boynton is survived by his mother, Elizabeth, who still lives on Oahu; Hoxie, who lives on Maui; and brother, Peter, of Hilo. He is also survived by a son, Dylan Boynton of New Mexico,* two stepdaughters, Sonya of Kauai and Summer of Hawaii Kai, as well as Summer's husband, Brian, and their daughters, Isabelle and Ruby.
A memorial service is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Kokee Meadow.