Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Saturday, July 29, 2000

Housing pioneer
Slipher dies at 89


By Harold Morse


David Slipher, 89, general manager of Kaiser Hawaii Kai Development and later special assistant for housing for Gov. George Ariyoshi, died Monday at his family home in Sedona, Ariz., where he lived since 1992 following longtime Hawaii residence.

His lifelong career in land development, housing and finance spanned 60 years and took him from the nation's capital to a number of mainland states and as far west as Guam.

He pioneered in prefabricated housing, with large numbers of units built in World War II. For 25 years after the war, he was associated with companies formed by the late Henry J. Kaiser in producing and financing affordable housing. His work in Hawaii Kai meant new homes for more than 40,000 people.

Also while Slipher was a Kaiser executive, Kaiser Pacific Properties built new storm-resistant housing on Guam to replace homes destroyed by typhoons; and Kaiser Community Homes built more than 10,000 affordable postwar homes in Los Angeles, San Jose and Portland.

Retiring from Kaiser in 1976, Slipher then worked 10 years for the state, as both special housing assistant and Hawaii Housing Authority commissioner.

The state honored him in 1986, for "more than 50 years of work, tirelessly contributing to the field of housing construction, housing finance, land development, business and industrial management and public service." He served on a number of boards and other bodies.

At age 75, Slipher began a new mission as director, president and chief operating officer of a troubled electric company on Molokai. Over five years, he restructured its finances, restored and upgraded its physical plant and concluded a sale/merger of Molokai Electric into Hawaiian Electric Co.

He was born in Flagstaff, Ariz., to parents V.M. Slipher, director of Lowell Observatory from 1916 to 1954, and Emma Slipher. In recent retirement, he served eight years as a member of the advisory board of Lowell Observatory, from which astronomers discovered the planet Pluto in 1930.

His early life in northern Arizona was highlighted by his setting a high school track record for running the mile that endured for many years.

He later earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University that launched his long career.

He is survived by wife Trudi; daughters Monique Slipher and Michele Riordan; sons David Jr. and Allan; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service was set for 1 p.m today at Flagstaff Federated Community Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in David Slipher's name to Lowell Observatory.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin