David R. Thorne

Posted On July 18th, 2013 -

DAVID R. THORNE 82, of Kailua creator of the comic strip Thorney’s Zoo, educator for the D.O.E. and UH, and well known to his peers as the “Yoda of Hawaii Cartooning” for his mentorship of local cartoonists, passed away last year on July 22, 2012 due to a stroke. Dave was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan where he attended Western Michigan University and later moved on to Pasadena City College in California. After serving a hitch in the Coast Guard, he then went to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee where he received his B.S. in Art Education in 1958. In 1961 he attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. Dave and his family came to Hawaii in December, of 1961 for a New Year’s Celebration and after just 3 days he decided to stay in Paradise (as he would often say). Dave went back to LA to finish school, then in 1962 he got a job teaching art at Campbell High School. In 1966 he became a Media Specialist with the Department of Education until his retirement in 1985. He used his skills at putting ideas and concepts in a humorous fashion into the designing of teaching materials, and for the two decades plus that he worked for the DOE, almost every classroom in the state had a drawing or two of his. He gave several workshops throughout Hawaii, as well as in Micronesia and Samoa. Before retiring from the DOE, Dave became a lecturer in UH Manoa’s College of Continuing Education from 1976 to 2001 teaching basic cartooning. He also worked on books with social impact. He collaborated on an AIDS awareness comic book for use in Japan; cartoon strips promoting the mainstreaming of the deaf (he was clinically deaf himself) and for Reading Literacy, as well as Non-source Pollution. His Apoha fish can still be found in the concrete on many of Hawaii’s bridges and storm drains that lead to the ocean. Finally in 2007, his dream came true in his own bi-weekly newspaper comic strip, Thorney’s Zoo, which appeared in the Star-Advertiser until illness struck in the fall of 2011. Surviving are: His wife of 52 years, Lorraine, two sons, Mitchell and Randall, a daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and Ivan Paik, three grandchildren, Cameron, Carissa, and Kalani, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. Dave’s Celebration of Life will be Saturday, July 27th at Bay View Golf Park in Kaneohe. Visitation will start at 9:30 a.m., with service at 10:30. Fellowship after service ending at 1:30 p.m. Aloha attire. No flowers. Mahalo.


- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran