ROBERT PROULX / 1915-2005

Isle music aficionado
loved to play steel guitar

Every year for 35 years, Robert Joseph 'lopaka Proulx came to Hawaii to pursue his love of the steel guitar and made it his six-month winter home.


Robert Proulx: Played with the "Hau Tree Gang," which included several noted singers

"It was his dream as a child," longtime friend Rudi Lowe said.

The 89-year-old played his last Hawaiian tune on Waikiki Beach in March.

Proulx died Friday in Manchester, N.H., two days after a school bus struck him as he drove a motor scooter.

Proulx played with the "Hau Tree Gang," which included some well-known singers, Lowe said.

Although he could play any instrument, Proulx's favorite and trademark was the Hawaiian steel guitar.

Proulx developed a love of Hawaiian music in the 1930s. He traveled with his band, the Paramount Hawaiian Orchestra, performing in places like the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York as well as entertaining troops across the country, Lowe said.

"He made Hawaiian music popular (on the mainland)," he said.

Proulx is survived by 10 children. A celebration of life with an "acoustic jam" will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Waikiki pavilion across from McDonald's.

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