Local author was dedicated to sharing stories of Hawaii


POSTED: Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mary Castro Richards shared stories about the people and history of Hawaii as the author of books and magazine articles and as a lecturer aboard Royal Viking Lines cruise ships.




She was the author of “;No Ordinary Man,”; a 1998 biography of former Hawaii Gov. William F. Quinn, and the 1990 profile of a multigenerational musical family, “;Sweet Voices of Lahaina: The Fabulous Fardens.”;

Richards, 87, died Dec. 15 in Phoenix, where she had lived since January 2007.

She worked in public relations positions with the Waikikian Hotel, Kuilima Hotel and Kahuku Sugar Mill in the 1970s and 1980s.

She was a columnist and contributing editor with RSVP magazine, Vintage News and Aloha Magazine. Her articles about Hawaii were published in Westways, Silver Kriss, Polo, Manulani Magazine and This Week. She was a member of the Honolulu chapter of the National League of American Penwomen.

“;She was a patron of the arts and contributed her time generously”; to several organizations, said Honolulu artist Ramsay. She served on the board of the Daughters of Hawaii, which operates Queen Emma Summer Palace, and as a docent with the Honolulu Academy of Arts, president of Honolulu Community Theatre and a director with the Children's Theater.

“;She had the highest goals ... always trying to outdo herself. She was a larger-than-life person,”; Ramsay said. “;We were friends. I knew if I called her, I would always get a sound, reasoned, honest answer.”;

Ramsay recalled bringing Richards as her guest to the 2007 convention of the National Society of Arts and Letters in Tempe, Ariz. “;She did an impromptu hula with grace and poise. People were just amazed at her,”; Ramsay said.

Richards graduated from Punahou School and attended Dominican College in California.

She is survived by son Jeffery Fitzsimmons, son-in-law Charles Dennis Haigwood, granddaughters Molly M. Dufner and Mary M. Rodgers, stepson Balbir S. Khalsa and stepdaughter Holly Richards.

A funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Friday at Sacred Heart Church, 1701 Wilder Ave. Friends may call after 10 a.m.

The family suggests that aloha attire be worn and that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the Honolulu Academy of Arts or Sacred Heart Parish.