1924 – 2012
Founder “Hildgund at Dawkins Benny Jewelers”
Hildgund Bucky, affectionately known as “Hildy” a long time resident of Honolulu for over six decades, peacefully passed away in her home on July 19, 2012 at the age of 88. Hildgund was born in Ludwigshafen, Germany on July 13, 1924. She started her education in jewelry and design, in Vienna and Mannheim. The art schools were closed until the end of the war, so the only chance of completing her education was to attend the trade school in Kaiserslautern at the Masters of Jewelry. In 1944 she graduated with a degree as a journeyman goldsmith in the midst of air raids.
After the war she worked at the American Red Cross in a resort town where the soldiers had R and R activities including arts and crafts. She had her tools and the family sterling she rescued from her home that was destroyed in the bombings. She used the silver to make rings for the soldiers with their initials and traded a carton of cigarettes for a ring. At that Red Cross she met and fell in love with her first husband, Arthur Joseph Weeks, a handsome Hawaiian soldier. They married on August 28, 1948 and with nerve, courage and some trepidation she started her journey to Hawaii.
Fortunately soon after arriving in Hawaii she was able to get employment at McKinley High School teaching an evening class in arts and crafts and textile painting. Hildgund traveled to Lanai once every two weeks to conduct a three hour class. She also had a home workbench made by her father-in-law and worked for Gump’s until the store closed. Then she found full time employment at Ming’s. At that time Ming’s only worked with ivory and sterling silver. Her boss, Mr. Moon got some pearls, jade and gave her carte blanc to created rings, earrings, and broaches in 14K gold. After seven years she began a fascination with black coral and used it with the pearls and jade in rings and pins.
While still working at Ming’s in 1959 her husband, Arthur, died in a drowning accident at the age of 33 leaving Hildgund with two little girls, Malulani and Laola.
She went to work for Maui Divers and after several years there, she opened a small shop in the Merchandise Mart Building in downtown Honolulu, known as Hildgund of Hawaii with her partner and fellow war bride Edith Park. She married Jack Zukerkorn during this time and had a son, Alan in 1964. She divorced Jack after four years and continued to build her business.
She purchased the Dawkins & Benny Co., established in 1873, in 1969 and renamed it “Hildgund at Dawkins Benny.” They had contracts with Hawaiian Telephone Co., many local businesses and schools for service pins and rings. She also made the Hawaiian bracelets, rings and Hawaiian Coat of Arms jewelry. Her clientele were primarily kamaaina. She had her workbench alongside five other jewelers at the store where she created her one of kind designs. Her specialty was redesigning old jewelry into unique, modern pieces. Customers would come in and explain what they wanted and she would draw it on paper for them. From there she would create her master pieces.
When Hildgund met Carl Bucky in 1977, she asked him to help her expand the company. They were married in 1982. Together they built a business that had five stores and an international reputation. They were partners in love, life and business. Hildgund retired in 1995 and in their semi-retirement they traveled the world many times over looking for Colored Gem. Carl died in 2002. Hildgund at Dawkins Benny is still operating in 6 locations in Hawaii. She continued to live in their apartment with occasional trips to visit her daughters in California and family in Europe.
A loving mother and Omi, she is survived by her daughters Malulani Eccleshall, Laola Simmons, and son Alan Zukerkorn; grandchildren Kalei, Keaka, Samantha and Asher; great grandchildren Kamea, Mahina and Ryder.
Hildgund was a gracious lady who cared deeply for the Hawaiian people, their culture and history. She supported The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace. She first saw the palace after the war while being occupied by the military. It was her dream to see it returned to its original stature.
Her kindness, integrity, courage, and compassion will be remembered by everyone who knew her. She will be dearly missed and never forgotten.
Special thanks caregivers Gerhild Daida, Herta McGuire, Sue Gulledge, Nettie Tamale and Kim Rodriguez who provided such loving care to our mother for many years and to Bristol Hospice, Dr. Brett Flynn, Michelle Apana-Sargent, RN, and Mary Jane Miguel, CNA for providing excellent hospice care during the last eight months.
The memorial service and mass will be held on Monday, August 13, 2012 at Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa, 712 North School St. Visitation beginning at 9:30 a.m. mass at 11:00 a.m., burial to follow at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl at 1:00 p.m. Family and friends, please join us at 5:00 p.m. to celebrate Hildgund’s life with a champagne toast at Hildgund Jewelry of Hawaii at the Kahala Resort.
Flowers are welcome or donations can be made to Hildgund’s favorite charities, Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace – Honolulu, The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace and the Alzheimer’s Association – Aloha Chapter.