Walter Davis, prominent Honolulu attorney and recent author, died at his home on Friday following a valiant battle with cancer. He was 82.
Walter grew up in Los Angeles and enjoyed one of those rare childhoods where his vast extended family was part of the neighborhood. His many aunts and uncles alternately cared for, disciplined and cooked for him; cousins were among his best friends.
Following a short stint in the Air Force during the Korean War, Walter attended George Washington University on a basketball scholarship. When he returned to the west coast he took the LSAT on a whim while waiting for a friend to do the same. His score on that exam decided his professional direction and he shortly thereafter earned his JD from UCLA School of Law.
After working as Deputy DA in Los Angeles and spending several years in private practice in Redondo Beach, he moved to Hawaii. Walter was house counsel for First Insurance Company until opening his own practice, specializing in insurance defense and litigation.
Walter loved ideas and his natural curiosity prompted him to keep up with and reach for what was on the next horizon, whether it was technology, health and well being, or even his own “next chapter.” His was one of the first law firms on the island to have computers and fax machines, he spent a daily hour on the recumbent bike when chemo treatments would allow, and published his first novel just last year at the age of 81.
Walter lived life like he practiced law. He was in it to win, and when he didn’t win, he wanted to understand why so next time he would. Whether it was a complicated legal case or another cancer diagnosis, Walter researched, explored and exhausted every avenue so he knew how to battle his opponent.
To know Walter was to know someone who lived life fully, who eked out the full experience of every moment he was given. He never put himself above others and was unimpressed with status. A person’s authenticity and character were what he valued; his friends and admirers ranged from judges to janitors. Walter considered himself a lucky man. From his personal life with beloved wife, Jeanne, sons Eric and Anthony, and Jeanne’s children, to a profession he seemed to stumble upon, in a location where he never tired of the view, Walter knew he was a man of good fortune. While his death leaves a huge void, he led a life that mattered.
Services will be held at 8 AM March 14 at the Outrigger Canoe Club. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Hospice Hawaii or St. Clements Church.