Wednesday, August 4, 1999


Desmond Byrne

Cancer claims activist
Desmond Byrne

A longtime businessman who took part
in civic work, he also once headed
Common Cause

More obituaries

Star-Bulletin staff


Citizen activist and small businessman Desmond Byrne died at home yesterday, his 64th birthday, after an extended illness.

Funeral services are planned for Aug. 14.

"He had been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of brain cancer a year ago," said his widow, Jo Kamae Byrne.

Until his illness last year, Byrne kept a diligent regime: getting up every morning at 5, poring over the morning paper, analyzing documents and writing letters.

Last fall he had stepped down as chairman of Common Cause, and he and his wife had planned on focusing on their own business -- Honolulu Information Service -- and their own lives.

Besides his wife, Byrne is survived by a daughter, Myra Byrne McBride, of Berkeley, and a son, Jahan, also of Berkeley.

In 1995, Byrne was named Small Business Person of the Year by Small Business Hawaii for his tilting at the windmills of government.

Born in England, Byrne was trained as a certified public accountant and earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii.

He worked as an accountant in Hong Kong, a bank controller in the Bahamas, and treasurer of Malia International. He also was financial and administrative officer of Computab Inc.

In 1982, he formed Honolulu Information Service, which researches businesses, industries, government and public records. It also tracks legislative bills and helps mainland companies search for assets in Hawaii.

Gerald Kato, University of Hawaii journalism professor, described Byrne as "a very dedicated public sort of person, sort of a public conscience, so he served the community very well.

"It's unfortunate that people like him have to pass away under these kinds of circumstances."

Kato said Byrne's business paralleled the work of Common Cause.

"I think that served a greater public good."

E-mail to City Desk

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