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Thursday, April 6, 2000

Grace Buscher
Guslander, Coco Palms
hotelier, 89, dies

Star-Bulletin staff


Grace Buscher Guslander, world-renowned Kauai hotelier, died at her home in Wailua, Kauai, yesterday at age 89.

A native of Collegeville, Pa., she came to Hawaii in 1948 and worked at a variety of jobs until 1953 when Lyle Guslander, owner of the hospitality company Island Holidays, bought what was then a 24-room roadside lodge on Kauai, the Coco Palms, and asked her to manage it for him.

She developed it into a 35-acre Polynesian-style resort which would become famous as a movie setting.

She married Guslander in 1969, the same year he sold his business to Amfac Inc.

The hotel became known for the remaining coconut trees of what had been a copra plantation, the giant clamshell wash basins and its outdoor, low-rise flavor of Polynesian hospitality.

The 396-room hotel at Wailua has been closed since it was severely damaged by Hurricane Iniki in September 1992. It is scheduled to be torn down and turned into a time-share resort.

Guslander won a worldwide title of Hotel Manager of the Year in 1965, and in 1979 was the first woman to win the Man of the Year award at the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant show in New York.

She had a flair for showmanship, remembered the names of most of her guests and was known as the grande dame of Hawaiian hospitality.

Guslander is credited with pioneering the Hawaiian torch-lighting ceremony, which hotels throughout the islands copied from the Coco Palms. She worked until 1985, when she was 74. Lyle Guslander died in April 1984.

Ernest Andrade Jr., 73, of Boulder, Colo., a professor of history at the University of Colorado, Denver campus, died March 17 in Boulder. He was a former teacher at Mid-Pacific Institute. He was born in Honolulu. He is survived by wife Ruth H.; son Dale W.; daughter Lynne M., and six grandchildren. Memorial services: June 22 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl.

Luis C. Cabico, 66, of Lihue,Kauai, a mill operator for Lihue Plantation, died March 29 at home. He was born in the Philippines. He is survived by wife Aurelia J.; sons Frolando "Karno" and Rey; daughters Felicidad "Fely" Catbagn, Myrna Rebudal, Flora and Thelma Cabico, Gliceria "Glacy" Marcelino and Rowena Omo; brother Urbano; sisters Maria Brea, Cresencia Garces, Regina Torres and Carolina Nono, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Services: 10:30 a.m. Monday at Immaculate Conception Church. Call from 9 to 10:15 a.m. Burial: Kauai Memorial Gardens. Casual attire. No flowers.

Violet I.L. Desha, 95, of Honolulu died last Thursday in St. Francis Hospice. She is survived by daughters Edwina Bush and Harriett Desha; brother Kenneth W. Ludloff; sister Lei Wassman, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Services: 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Borthwick Mortuary. Call after 8:30 a.m. Casual attire.

Mary R. Dorman, 80, of Honolulu died March 27. She was born in Illinois. Private services. Contributions suggested to the Queen's Festival of Trees, c/o the Queen's Medical Center, or to a favorite charity.

Milton English, 69, of Honolulu, an employee with Chaney Brooks & Co., died March 29 in Kaiser Hospital. He was born in Makawae, Hawaii. He is survived by wife Claudine; brother Ralph, and sisters Myra Gibbs and Winona Gulick. Scattering of the ashes at sea.

Robert "Bobby" Gomes, 69, of Pahoa, Hawaii, a retired supervisor/dispatcher for Theo H. Davies building materials, died Sunday in Hilo Hospital. He also worked at"Da Store" in Hawaiian Beaches. He was born in Hilo. He is survived by wife Sally; sons Russell, Arnold, Eric and Eliot; sisters Bernice Costa, Elsie Fontes and Lorene Delatorre, and seven grandchildren. Services: noon Saturday at Dodo Mortuary. Call after 9 a.m. Burial: Homelani Memorial Park. Casual attire.

Lucy Goo, 62, of Los Angeles, an underwriter for CNA Insurance, died last Thursday in Los Angeles. She was born in Hawaii. She is survived by sons Ronald R. and Ramsey K.; father Generosa Jumalon; sisters Gloria Fernandez and Nora Pan, and two grandchildren. Services: 11:45 a.m. Monday at Hawaiian Memorial Park Mortuary. Burial: Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery. Casual attire.

Esther L. "Momi" Jackson, 75, of Waianae, who retired from Hilton Hawaiian Village, died Monday in Queen's Hospital. She was born in Honolulu. She is survived by sons Raymond Jackson, Clarence DeCaires Jr. and Kealoha Barrett; daughters Barbara Jean Counts, Lucinda L. Goldstein and Irma Ockerman, eight grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Services: noon Monday at Diamond Head Mortuary. Call after 10 a.m. Burial: Diamond Head Memorial Park. Aloha attire.

James K. Kaauamo, 65, of Haiku, Maui, a driver for Budget Car Rental, died Monday in Haiku. He is survived by daughters Shannon Rezents and Shauna Tanner; sons James Jr. and Radford; brothers Michael, Solomon Jr., Samuel and Herman; sisters Elizabeth Azeka, Christina Seto, Mary Ann Shimatsu, Cecilia Haugen, Emily Kalalau, Pauline Sineci and Jeanette Salomon, and four grandchildren. Prayer services: 3 p.m. Saturday at Ballard Family Mortuary. Call from 2 to 4 p.m. Cremation to follow. Aloha attire. Leis only.

Valerie M. Kahae, 45, of Kahului, a telemarketer for Fortune International Co., died March 29 in Maui Memorial Hospital. She was born in Wailuku. She is survived by husband Earl; sons Earl Jr., Moses and Ralph; daughters Leslie Gusman, Christie Furtado, Ashley Gomes, Purity and Alana Kahae and Tanya Takatani; mother Juanita Gomes; brothers Ernest Jr., Leslie, Rocky, Ronald and George Gomes; sisters MaryJane Kahaleaki and Juanita Tengan, and a granddaughter. Services: 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Ann Catholic Church. Call after 9 a.m. Burial: Waihee Cemetery. Luncheon to follow. Casual attire.

Dorothy M. Kamimoto, 75, of Lahaina, Maui died Monday in Maui Memorial Hospital. She was born in Lahaina. She is survived by son Stanley; daughters Deborah Naone and Rebecca "Maui" Phillips; brothers Herbert, Chris "Bully," Harold "Hale," and Abraham "Kalani" Kaniho; sisters Emma "Becky" Shishido, Florence "Wahinekapu" Yoshino and Annabelle Runnels, 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Services: 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Lahaina Ward. Call after 9 a.m. Burial: Maui Memorial Park/Garden of Meditation. Casual attire.

James F. Matsumoto, 76, of Haleiwa, a retired leadman, weldshop, died March 21 in Pearl City Nursing Home. He was born in Waimea. He is survived by wife Gladys M.N.; sons Elwin S. and Jay K.; daughters Carol E. Iwamoto and Lynette K. Leong; brother Kenneth S.; sister Alice E. Nishiyama, and seven grandchildren. Memorial services: 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Mililani Mortuary-Waipio, mauka chapel. Call after 6 p.m. Casual attire. No flowers.

Tatsue Nakashima, 96, of Hilo died March 25 in Hilo Hospital. She was born in Papaikou, Hawaii. She is survived by sons Richard, Takeshi and Tadashi; daughters Hisano P. Furukawa, Harumi Sato, Lillian Miki and Hatsue H. Kamimura, 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Private services.

Kathryn E. Ruggles, 97, died Monday in St. Francis Hospice. She is survived by sister Merritt "Alice" Holingsworth, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Graveside services: 3 p.m. tomorrow at Bahai Garden of Light in Hawaiian Memorial Park. Hawaiian attire. Leis and flowers welcome. Donations suggested to the Bahai Humanitarian Fund, 3264 Allan Place, Honolulu 96817.

Walter T. Shiigi, 76, of Pearl City, a retired enforcement branch supervisor with the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, died Sunday in Ewa Beach. He was a World War II veteran. He was born in Pahoa, Hawaii. He is survived by companion Nancy Owen; sons David and Scott; brothers Seigo and Richard; sister Alice Chinen, and three grandchildren. Services: 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Hawaiian Memorial Park Mortuary. Call from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Inurnment: noon Monday at the park. Casual attire. No flowers.

The Rev. Leon "Sonny" K. Sterling Jr., 83, of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, a minister with the Helani Congregational Church, died Monday in Kona Community Hospital. He was born in Honolulu. He is survived by wife Leilani; son Robert Ahia; half brother Robert; half sister Leona, two granddaughters and a great-grandson. Memorial services: 11 a.m. Saturday at Helani Congregational Church. Call after 10 a.m. Casual attire. No flowers.

Xavier L. "Mack" Tabon, 34, of Kahului, Maui, a truck driver, died Sunday in Maui Memorial Hospital. He was born in Wailuku. He is survived by wife Virginia L.; son Xavier Jr.; daughters Michelle, Jaymie, Shaunte and Shanice; mother Lucille R.; brothers William, Eugene and Buster, and sisters Virginia Corden, Shirley Kekona, Margie Laborte, Leonor Tabon and Nemesia Natividad. Services: 7 p.m. Sunday at Ballard Family Mortuary. Call from 6 to 9 p.m. Services: 10:30 a.m. Monday at the mortuary. Call after 9 a.m. Burial: Maui Memorial Park. Aloha attire.

Sally K. "Kichan" Tamura, 78, of Honolulu died March 17 in Kuakini Hospital. She was born in Honolulu. She is survived by husband Larry F.; sons Alvin M. and Neal S.; daughter Gail C. Takushi; brothers James, Fred, Norman and Wallace Nakamura; sisters Florence Arasato, Lily Nakamura, Doris Kakazu and Iris Miyamura, and six grandchildren. Private services.

Kazumi Tanaka, 73, of Kahului, Maui, a retired mason for HC&S Co., died Tuesday at home. He was born in Paia, Maui. He is survived by wife Ethel; son Glenn, and brothers Akira and Wayne M. Services: 4 p.m. Sunday at Nakamura Mortuary. Call after 3 p.m. Reception to follow. Graveside services: 9 a.m. Monday at Maui Memorial Park.

Rufina T. Tulagan, 69, of Kekaha, Kauai, a retired kitchen helper at Kokee Lodge, died March 28 in Kauai Veterans Hospital. She was born in the Philippines. She is survived by daughter Gloria Ceazar; brothers Teofilo and Adriano Tambo; sisters Prisca Odanga, Virginia Abalos and Pacita Camat, two grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Mass: 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Theresa Catholic Church. Call after 8:30 a.m. Burial: Kekaha Public Cemetery. Casual attire.

Louis Vespoli, 85, of Kalaheo, Kauai died March 26 in Wilcox Hospital. He was born in New Haven, Conn. He is survived by sons Charles and Michael; daughter Rosemary Browne; brother Henry, and three grandchildren. Services on the mainland.

You can also search the Hawaii State Library System's
Hawaii Newspaper Index online for older obituaries at:
The index, which goes back several decades,
is available via Telnet software.

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