HPU chairman was 'a good friend to many'


POSTED: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hawaii lost one of its top businessmen and nonprofit supporters Friday when Hawaii Pacific University Chairman William Aull died, but friends and family say the memory of his larger-than-life personality will live on. He was 77.

Aull, born in Bronxville, N.Y., and raised in Ohio, came to Hawaii during the Korean War and chose later to make it home. Despite earning degrees from Yale University and Harvard Business School, Aull kept simple values.

“;He knew there was a right way and a wrong way to do things,”; said Bill Morris, Aull's friend of 60 years, who will give one of the eulogies. “;And, his way had to be the right way.”;

However, Aull's unwavering determination and strength seldom alienated people, Morris said.

“;Let me put it this way: I don't know anybody that didn't like him,”; he said.

Aull's genial personality opened doors for him in Hawaii. From 1956 to 1985 he worked for Hawaiian Trust Co., where he started as a tax clerk and worked his way up to president and chief executive.

“;He was one of Hawaii's best-known businessmen, a great family man and a good friend to many,”; said Larry Johnson, who got to know Aull 45 years ago through their work in the banking community.

After retirement, Aull served on many foundation boards, including the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, 'Iolani School, Mid-Pacific Institute, the Strong Foundation, YMCA of Honolulu, the Oceanic Institute and HPU.

He earned HPU's highest honor, the Fellow of the Pacific Award, twice and was a recipient of the Business Leadership Hawaii Lifetime Achievement Award.

On the nonprofit sector, Aull was unstoppable, said Sam Cook, his friend of more than 50 years.

“;If he asked you to do something, you could never turn him down,”; he said.

And, despite his loud voice and intimidating stature, Aull had “;a heart of gold,”; said Val Iwashita, headmaster at 'Iolani School.

“;Behind that rough exterior, there was a kind and sensitive side to him,”; Iwashita said.

HPU President Chatt G. Wright described Aull as a mentor and close friend.

“;Bill was a can-do man who had an infectious sense of humor and a passion for giving back to the community,”; Wright said.

Aull is survived by wife Dawn; sons David and John; daughters Lisa Martin, Shelley Hewitt and Gwen Elizabeth “;Wendy”; Aull; and nine grandchildren.

A memorial service for Aull will be held tomorrow at 5 p.m. at St. Andrew's Cathedral. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to 'Iolani School, HPU or Mid Pacific Institute.