Wednesday, February 10, 1999



Willows creator
Kathleen Perry
dies at 96

By Harold Morse


Kathleen Kameelani McGuire Perry, widow of Hawaiian musical legend Al Kealoha Perry and part-owner and executive of Willows Restaurant in Moiliili from 1944 to 1980, died Jan. 30 at Queen's Hospital. She was 96.

She met her musician husband in 1919, and after a one-year courtship, they married.

Never entering the musical field herself, she devoted a lifetime to community projects and business.

As manager and hostess of the Willows, she -- with help from brothers and sisters -- eventually turned her mother's old family home at 901 Hausten St. into a dining establishment known around the world.

Receiving many culinary honors, she was the first Hawaii restaurant operator to be elected to the American Restaurant Hall of Fame.

In 1944 she met a CBS correspondent named Arthur Godfrey who was stranded in wartime Honolulu.

"They were supposed to go to Leyte to cover the war there," she recalled. "But Gen. Douglas MacArthur wouldn't let them continue to the Philippines. So Arthur came to the Willows every night for a week until they could return to the mainland."

"Those great people took me in, didn't know who I was and didn't care," Godfrey said later. "I went back full of love for this place and couldn't get it out of my system." Godfrey, who died in 1983, aired praise of the Willows and its people many times.

Born in Hilo, to parents John J. McGuire and Emma Ai McGuire-Hausten, the future Willows creator studied at Kamehameha, Punahou and Phillips Commercial schools, later spending a summer term at Cornell University in 1960.

From 1920 to 1931, she was secretary to the president and manager of the Honolulu Advertiser.

She served as legal secretary to the Honolulu prosecutor from 1933 to 1944, the year the old homestead was converted to a restaurant.

The Willows, a dreamy Polynesian-style wonderland of an earlier era with thatched roofs, breezy lanais, fishponds and strolling minstrels, featured gardens with many rare and beautiful plants.

It stayed in the family until it was sold to Randy Lee in 1980, who closed it in 1993 because of a slump in trade.

Perry's husband died in 1979. She is survived by son Grandison, sister Momi Norton, three grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Private services were held at Oahu Cemetery. Donations may be made to Make-A-Wish Foundation of Hawaii or to a charity of choice.

Ocean power visionary
Toyomura dies at 72

By Rod Ohira


Dennis Toyomura saved his biggest challenge for last.

As the point man for an ambitious project to build an offshore power plant in Hawaii, Toyomura was instrumental in bringing the right people together for an International Ocean Alliance floating summit meeting last December.

The state is interested in the project and lawmakers are considering more funding for studies.

Toyomura, however, will not see it completed.

The award-winning architect and former Hawaii Housing Authority commissioner and chairman died Sunday in Straub Hospital. Toyomura was 72.

His son, Gerald, said the "ocean floating, all-natural clean energy power station" project is on track.

"My father wanted Hawaii to be the first," Gerald Toyomura said. "He was a visionary with an exceptional quality of being able to work with people."

Supporters of the offshore power station envision setting up a large platform about five miles off Keahole on the Big Island, where the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute has been tapping deep water for ocean thermal energy.

The Star-Bulletin reported in February 1997 that Mitsubishi Research Institute of Japan had already designed a model platform.

As an architect, Toyomura designed the first community school library in the United States at Kahuku High and Intermediate School, says Gerald Toyomura.

In 1996, Toyomura received the American Institute of Architects' prestigious Government Affairs Award. He was only the second Japanese American ever honored with the award, his son says.

Gov. Ben Cayetano recognized the accomplishment in a letter to Toyomura by noting:

"The award acknowledges your excellent work in advocating for numerous legislative issues at both state and national levels -- including tort reform, procurement, consumer protection and professional conciliation.

"I also thank you for your distinguished service on the Hawaii Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners, as well as your contributions to other state entities -- including our university's School of Architecture, the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and the University of Hawaii Research Corporation."

Toyomura is survived by wife Akiko; sons Wayne, Gerald and Lyle; daughter Amy Tsujioka; brother Harry; and three grandchildren. Services are planned at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at First Presbyterian Church, 1822 Keeaumoku St. Cremation to follow. Casual attire. No flowers.

See also: Obituary Notices

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