Isle attorney had passion
for Hawaiiana

By Leila Fujimori

Prominent attorney and businessman Donn Wendell Carlsmith of Carlsmith Ball LLP, Hawaii's oldest law firm, died Wednesday. He was 73.

Carlsmith specialized in estate planning, real estate and corporation law, representing primarily Big Island corporations and businesses, as well as many island families and individuals.

Carlsmith's grandfather, Carl S. Carlsmith, partnered in 1895 with David Hitchcock, who began the practice in 1857.

Donn Carlsmith retired as partner in 1995 but remained with the firm until his death.

Carlsmith was both chairman of the board and lawyer for Magoon Brothers and Dillingham Investment Corp., which owned Captain Cook Coffee Co., the Captain Cook shopping center and Dillingham Ranch, formerly known as Puuwaawaa Ranch.

"He was a man with an extremely wide range of interests, particularly relating to the island of Hawaii," said James Case, who became partner in 1959 along with Carlsmith at the law firm, then Carlsmith and Carlsmith in Hilo. "He knew everything about every piece of land on that island."

Case said Carlsmith's business and legal activities were closely related, thus he knew about ranching, coffee, shopping centers and wines (Guenoc Winery is owned by Magoon Brothers).

He was also keenly interested in Hawaiian plants, birds and history, collecting rare Hawaiian books and old paintings of early Polynesian voyages.

"My father's love for plants was really his passion," said his son Harvey, who got a degree in forestry. "He instilled in me an appreciation for plants, and I took my own path with it."

He said his father had a large collection of many varieties of plants, including rare and endangered ones, and was interested in protecting and propagating them.

Daughter Kandy Carlsmith admired her father's sense of humor and clever wit. "The way he would phrase things, his observations would just crack everybody up," she said.

She marveled at his brilliance and ability to remember detail, saying, "It was like a computer hard drive in his head."

Born in Hilo on March 17, 1929, Donn Carlsmith graduated from Hilo High School in 1946 and from Stanford University in 1950.

Although he moved to Honolulu in 1990, he spent his weekends on the Big Island, where he maintained a home and ranch.

The third-generation lawyer joined Carlsmith & Carlsmith in 1953 after receiving his law degree from Harvard Law School, and became a partner in 1959.

He also served as chairman of the board of directors of charitable organizations including the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lyman Museum and Hawaii Preparatory Academy.

Carlsmith is also survived by mother Edith Mattson Carlsmith, sister Edith G. Carlsmith and brother C. Duane.

Funeral arrangements are pending.


[ JAMES R. "BOB" MAYNARD / 1922-2003 ]

O’Toole’s co-owner
was great storyteller

By Leila Fujimori

Honolulu bartender and restaurateur James R. "Bob" Maynard, who co-founded O'Toole's Pub, died of cancer Feb. 8 in Anchorage, Alaska. He was 80.

"He was a hell of a nice guy," said longtime buddy Eddie O'Toole, whom the bar was named after.

Regulars at the downtown pub on Nuuanu Avenue dubbed Maynard "Fifty-One" because of his 51 percent interest he co-owned with Ron Dougherty from about 1974 to 1982.

When the two bought the bar, "Bob was looking for an Irish name," he said. "He figured O'Toole's was Irish enough."

Maynard also owned the Tiki Torch restaurant on Kalakaua Avenue and the Chief's Hut Steak House at the Reef Hotel from 1959 to 1969. Although the restaurant has changed hands, its name has returned to the Chief's Hut.

Maynard was born Nov. 4, 1922, in Redondo Beach, Calif. After graduating from San Pedro High School in 1940, he joined the Merchant Marines and traveled the world by steamship during World War II.

He got his start in food and beverage while serving as a merchant mariner in the stewards department, said son James R. Maynard Jr.

After the war he briefly ran his own saloon in Long Beach, Calif., then moved to Waikiki, becoming a well-known bartender who could "talk knowingly on many subjects," according to a Star-Bulletin article.

"He made a lot of friends," his son James said. "Once they got to know him, they loved him. ... He was a great storyteller."

Maynard befriended a couple of Alaskans and soon was arranging for dozens of Alaskans to stay at the Reef Hotel, where "they kept lubricated at the Chief's Hut," his son said.

In 1957 he married Maria Teresa de Larrazabal, Miss Philippines of 1954.

Maynard served as president of the Hawaii Restaurant Association.

He had a great interest in yachting, sailing many trans-Pacific yacht races and other events.

Maynard moved to Alaska in 1980 where he worked for Boatel Alaska Inc. and as camp director at the Kuparak oil field.

He is also survived by sons John and Joseph, daughter Cristina Rothwell, sister Patricia Osuch and four grandchildren.

His ashes will be scattered at sea 4 p.m. March 3 at the Waikiki Yacht Club.

A celebration of his life was held last Saturday in Anchorage.

E-mail to City Desk


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