Wednesday, February 20, 2002

Honolulu Sign Co.
president dies at 83



By Pat Gee

Robert Harold Rotz, former president and general manager of the Honolulu Sign Company for 37 years, died Feb. 11 at Straub Clinic and Hospital. He was 83.

Rotz, born in Ritzville, Wash., was chairman of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply from 1971-1973, and was a trustee for Lanakila Rehabilitation Center for 29 years.

His life in Hawaii began in 1939 at the age of 19, when he spent his first night on Waikiki Beach under an overturned canoe. He was awakened by the legendary Duke Kahanamoku the next morning, according to Harriet Rotz, his wife of 51 years. They lived in Makiki for 41 years.

Kahanamoku "took him under his wing and helped him get his start in Hawaii," setting him up at the Honolulu YMCA, and befriending the "mainland haole boy," she said.

Rotz worked for the von Hamm-Young Co., Ltd., while attending the University of Hawaii. In 1943 he joined the Board of Water's engineering department but left in 1945 when he was drafted into the United States Combat Engineers.

The family-owned business, Honolulu Sign Co., is now managed by his son, Terry. Rotz's wife, a former airline stewardess, joined him there in 1960 in contract sales, she said.

"Up until the last, he had a good sense of humor. I had the highest respect for my husband; I don't know anyone I respected more," Harriet Rotz said.

He is also survived by his son, Robbie; daughter, Louise; sister, Betty Reckord of Washington state; and six grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at 4 p.m. tomorrow at Central Union Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to One Kalakaua Senior Living Foundation, Central Union Church Building Fund, or to a charity of your choice.

E-mail to City Desk


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