Isle personalities
left varied legacies

They were politicians and clergy, businessmen and musicians -- leaving behind varied legacies, loved ones, empty seats.

As any year, 2003 recorded numerous deaths of island personalities who made their name governing, entertaining or giving to others.

There was Gladys Kamakakuokalani Ainoa Brandt, who helped pen 1997's "Broken Trust," the essay that led to the ouster of Bishop Estate trustees. And Tauese P.F. Sunia, the two-term governor of American Samoa who died en route to Honolulu, where he was heading for medical treatment.

There were figures who preserved Hawaii's culture and shared it with the world. Jennie Woodd led some 75 hula halau at the height of her career. Lilia Wahinemaikai Hale championed the preservation of the Hawaiian language.

Some made their name in politics. Former state Republican Party Chairman Jared Jossem saw his plight for a two-party system finally begin to unfold with the election of the state's first GOP governor in 40 years last fall. Kekoa Kaapu Jr. went from a grass hut in Punaluu to Harvard University before becoming a Honolulu City Councilman and community activist.

Others are remembered for their business savvy. Jack Magoon Jr.'s leadership at Hawaiian Airlines helped bring Hawaii into the jet age. Frank Manaut helped establish Bank of Hawaii as one of the state's largest banks. Bobby Pfeiffer rose from being a deckhand to lead Alexander & Baldwin through one of its strongest periods of growth and prosperity.

There were those whose names spoke for themselves: Germaine, as in Marcia, whose eponymous backyard-style luau has become one of the state's best-known tourist operations. Ho, as in Honey, the mother of Don Ho and grandmother of pop singer Hoku. Lappert, as in Walter, the white-bearded founder of the Lappert's ice cream empire.

Their legacies live on -- in the music of Robert LaMarchina, the former conductor of the Honolulu Symphony; in complexes like the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, developed by Chris Hemmeter; in loaves of King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread that Robert Taira made and distributed throughout the country.

John White, who died Dec. 19, was studying for a doctorate in 1983 when he instead decided to concentrate on feeding the needy. Today, the Hawaii Foodbank -- which White started with just a donated flatbed truck, forklift and two refrigerated containers -- distributes more than 8.5 million pounds of food each year to 245 charitable agencies throughout the state.

Some went too soon. Jim Bartels, the historian who worked at Washington Place and Iolani Palace, was just 57. Glen Grant, the author whose chilling series of ghost stories delighted generations, died at 56.

Ito Kinase was Hawaii's oldest known resident when she died at the age of 113.

Others who died in 2003 were known for a variety of talents and circumstances.

Retired Roman Catholic Bishop Joseph Ferrario ministered to the state's largest religious denomination. George Elliott Jr. was known largely for one solitary day: Dec. 7, 1941, when his warning of planes approaching Pearl Harbor went unheeded. Lilia Wahinemaikai Hale was known as a pre-eminent champion of the Hawaiian language renaissance. And Campbell Estate heiress Muriel Macfarlane Flanders was known for her philanthropy.


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