Posted On February 12th, 2014 -

2-12 KENNETH BROWN b&wKENNETH FRANCIS KAMUOKALANI BROWN 28 October 1919- February 2014 Kenneth Francis Kamuokalani Brown was a son of Hawai’i. In the era that brought Hawai’i into the modern world, he played many roles. He saw and took part in the events that have shaped Hawaiian history-from World War II, statehood, the rise of the Democratic Party, the ascendance of the tourist industry, the establishment of environmentalism, and the rediscovery of Hawaiian culture, to the definition of the new sovereignty movement. For some, he has been a kupuna, a living point of contact with the values of a unique culture, now largely transformed. A rich resource for the recovery and reconsideration of that culture, he supported the Hawaiian renaissance in many of its manifestations. For some, he was a political leader, a model for a Hawaiian politics in an era of new social commitments. In seeking to serve the people and the islands in public contexts, he self-consciously took up the responsibilities of the traditional ali’i. For some, he was a patron of the arts and of culture, an architect who used a Hawaiian sense of place to promote an indigenous aesthetic. And for many, he was a mentor, a friend of unusual depth, integrity, and durability, who extended his aloha to an ‘ohana that reaches from Hawai’i through the Pacific and beyond the edges of our ocean of islands to the continents on either side. Born at his family home, Ainamalu, in Ka’alawai on the slopes of Diamond Head on October 28, 1919, Kenneth Brown came into a mixed-if not divided-cultural world of his own. His mother, Julia Davis Long White, was the offspring of a prominent New England family whose patriarch was Nelson Davis White, a factory-owner in Winchendon, Massachusetts. Julia was a woman of strong views and distinctive character, but she remained far from home, in some ways, for her whole adult life. His father, George I’i Brown, was the grandson of John Papa I’i, a distinguished public figure of nineteenth-century Hawai’i. John I’i was assigned by Kamehameha I as a boyhood companion of Liholiho, and became a central influence upon the complex cultural and political adjustments by which the Kingdom of Hawai’i and the Hawaiian people encountered the pressures of a wider world. John I’i was an influential member of the court of Kamehameha III, taking on various public roles; he served in the Privy Council, the House of Nobles, and the House of Representatives, and as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Hawai’i. He was a key figure in the design of the 1848 Great Mahele, and one of the drafters of the Constitution of 1852. George I’i Brown and Francis Hyde I’i Brown, Kenneth Brown’s father and uncle, both followed the tradition of public service established in the family since the days of the monarchy. George Brown was president of the territorial Board of Commissioners of Agriculture and Forestry, and a regent of the University of Hawai’i. Francis Brown was a very visible political, business, and sports figure in the islands, serving for many years as a member of the territorial Senate. Notably, in 1939, Francis Brown took a public stand against the administration of the Kamehameha Schools by the Bishop Estate, urging the appointment of Hawaiians or part-Hawaiians to the board of trustees, and arguing strongly that the school should better serve Hawaiian youth, following “the chief concern of the beloved Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop.” Kenneth Brown moved geographically between two worlds, when, as a child and young adult, he traveled with his mother and elder brothers, George and Zadoc, between New England and Honolulu. Though he attended Punahou School in his earliest years, he obtained most of his schooling not in Honolulu, but in New England, first at Hotchkiss School, and then at Princeton University, where he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1941. During World War II, he served as a civilian architect for the U. S. Army Engineers in the War Emergency Headquarters on Maui and O’ahu. And following the war, he opened his own architectural firm, working actively on public and private projects. On March 8, 1947, Brown married Joan Elizabeth Schaefer, daughter of F. A. Schaefer, Jr., and Kathryn Walker. Joan’s family also has a long-established history in Hawai’i. Her great grandfather, George Morrison Robertson, a Scotsman by birth, was an established figure in the islands by 1850, when he was appointed judge of the Circuit Court of the Island of Hawai’i. In the course of a long and influential life in public service, and as a close advisor of Kamehameha IV, Robertson held many positions in the Kingdom of Hawai’i. He served, along with John I’i, as associate justice of the Supreme Court; he was vice-president of the Land Commission; and he too played a major role in the Great Mahele. Robertson served on the King’s Privy Council, as Minister of the Interior, Representative and Speaker of the House, and as a charter member of the Queen’s Hospital. Frederick August Schaefer, Joan’s grandfather, was the patriarch of another successful kama’aina family. He emigrated from Germany to Hawai’i in 1858, and became the proprietor of an increasingly diversified business, F. A. Schaefer and Company, an export-import firm that eventually absorbed the Honoka’a Sugar Company, the Pacific Sugar Mill, and the Hawaiian Irrigation Company. Kenneth and Joan brought up three children-Laura Schaefer Brown, Frances Hyde I’i Brown White, and Bernice Victoria Brown Johnston. Two have now made their lives far from Hawai’i, but all of them carry the spirit of their home place with them everywhere, in their hearts. Kenneth and Joan’s family extends to include two sons-in-law and ten grandchildren: Laura’s children-Ana I’i Brown-Cohen, Jonah Isaac Brown-Cohen, and Lawrence Schaefer Brown-Cohen; Frances’s husband Philip Kniskern White and their children-Kenneth John I’i White, Philip Brown White, and Francis I’i Kniskern White; and Bernice’s husband Michael Hunt Johnston and their children-Josephine Kiyomi Johnston, Everett Kahalelaukoa Johnston, Samuel I’i Brown Johnston, and Reynolds Palani Johnston. Brown’s career in business and politics, architecture and culture, seems like the life of several people, rather than one individual. He embarked and reembarked on new ventures, over a long course of sustained engagement with Hawai’i and its people. Perhaps most significant for his own sense of himself and his contribution to the islands was his tenure as chair of the Board of Trustees of the Queen’s Health Systems in Honolulu in the decade of the late 1980s and early 1990s, where he took up the mission of what he called the “rededication” of the hospital to Queen Emma’s original vision. That vision had emerged from the tragedy of the Hawaiian contact with the world beyond the islands, which resulted in the death by disease of probably nine out of ten Hawaiians in the Queen’s own lifetime. For Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV, the goal was a concession to the divided world that the Kingdom of Hawai’i had inevitably become. They founded the Queens Hospital in order to welcome Western science, and turn it to the advantage of their people. In his turn, Brown emphasized the role of the hospital as a center for service to the Hawaiian and part-Hawaiian people of the state, and-relatedly-to the less privileged sectors of the population. In this context he supported a wide and innovative range of projects in care delivery, preventive medicine, and social and cultural programs designed to build a healthier community from the ground up. His shaping of such policies proved in some ways controversial, and he faced challenges from critics seeking more focus on profitability and on a narrower definition of medical excellence. But Brown’s efforts on behalf of the Hawaiian people in the realm of medicine matched up with a wide, multifaceted movement in the islands that was generating a renewed commitment to the lives and future of Hawaiians. In that sense, Brown was playing a distinctive role in a major cultural shift, by turning the attention of big medicine in the direction of the Hawaiian renaissance. In a similar way, Brown sought also to turn big business-in this case tourism-in the same direction. During the 1980s and 1990s he promoted this vision on various fronts. As President of Mauna Lani Resort he was a key figure in the shaping of a development plan designed to accommodate tourism to traditional Hawaiian sites on a vital part of the Kona coast. And as the direct inspiration for several individual programs designed to infuse the hotel industry with an awareness of Hawaiian culture, he opened new avenues by which Hawaiian values and visitors could be brought together, for the benefit of both. He promoted this vision in a widely respected position speech at the Governor’s Tourism Conference in 1984, where he argued that “a spiritually strong Hawaiian community, united and secure in the understanding of its essential, central values” is the best basis for a productive, successful tourist business in Hawai’i. Unintentionally then, and in diverse ways too numerous to list, Kenneth Brown became a leader in the Hawaiian renaissance. A seminal thinker behind the scenes, he inspired George Kanehele’s important book length study of Hawaiian values, Ku Kanaka, Stand Tall: A Search for Hawaiian Values, published in 1986. He was a founder and major source of funding for Project WAIAHA, the group whose conversations on Hawaiian values shaped Kanahele’s work as well as the thoughts and contributions of others. By various means, through his role as president of the Hawai’i Maritime Center and his position on the board of trustees of Queens Medical Center, he found ways of supporting the voyages of the Hokule’a and the work of the Polynesian Voyaging Society as it extended its impact on the people of Hawai’i through new cultural and social programs. He forged connections across Polynesia, notably with Maoridom, where he gained inspiration from an ongoing cultural renaissance that had preceded that of the Hawaiians. There in Aotearoa/New Zealand, hearing the melody of his family name-song carried by the voices of another Polynesian people in another struggle to define their place in a complex world, he found himself in spirit. Earlier in the century, in 1966, Brown had embarked on another career. He entered the political arena as a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for Lieutenant Governor, publicly repudiating his own family’s traditional affiliation with the Republican Party. His appearance at a voter registration center to register as a Democrat was covered by the Honolulu papers. Brown had formed a close connection with Governor John A. Burns, and, at Burns’ urging, challenged an established Democratic Party candidate, Tom Gill, for the nomination. Many believed Burns had hoped Brown could succeed him as governor. When he was defeated in the primary, and upon Burns’s reelection, Brown became special assistant to the Governor, playing a significant role in his administration. Brown’s commitment to public office developed further during this time, and in 1968 he ran for election to the State Senate. He served two terms as Senator, from 1968 to 1974. In the Senate, he spearheaded bills for the restoration of ‘Iolani Palace and Kawaiaha’o Church. His main focus of attention in the Senate, however, was as chair of the Committee on Ecology, Environment and Recreation, where he pushed through a substantial package of environmental legislation, formulating policies to guide development and to respond to problems of environmental impact. These highlights only suggest the general shape of Brown’s career over the larger part of a half-century. Shapeliness was not his priority, as one decade and one commitment succeeded another. The motto assigned by his daughter Frances White for his and Joan’s fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1997 seemed to him and to his family truly appropriate: “Having no destination, we are never lost.” Brown had many other destinations. Following the model of his uncle Francis, a well-known amateur golfer, Brown supported the growing visibility of the sport in Hawai’i, serving in 1964 as tournament chairman of the Hawai’i Canada Cup-shortly to become the World Cup, and in the following year as the first tournament chairman of the Hawaiian Open-predecessor of the Sony Open-which Brown was instrumental in launching. Brown served on the boards of directors-in several cases with a term as chair-of many major businesses in Hawai’i, from Amfac, Oceanic Cablevision, Tongg Publishing Company, Pan Pacific Development Company, and Emerald Hotels Corporation, to Hawaiian Airlines. He served from its inception as the Chairman of the Mauna Lani Resort, maintaining the Hawaiian traditions and the local site of Kalahuipua’a in the context of the area’s development. And as a result of his many, long-term connections with Japan, in 2011 he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the government of Japan for his lifelong contributions to the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and the United States and the improvement of the social status of Japanese Americans in Hawai’i. Beyond the world of business, Brown was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. He served on the Historic Hawai’i Foundation, the Hawai’i Nature Center, the John A. Burns Foundation, and was the director of the Nature Conservancy, the chairman of the Hawai’i Community Development Authority, the chairman of the Board of Governors of the East-West Center, the President of the Hawai’i Maritime Center, and the Chairman of the Bishop Museum Board of Directors. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities from the University of Hawai’i in 1987, and the Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award in 1986. He was named a “Living Treasure” by Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai’i for his manifestation of the Buddhist spirit of Dana. He received the Charles Reed Bishop Medal from the Bishop Museum for his allegiance to the vision of the museum’s founder, and the David Malo Award from the Rotary Club for outstanding contribution to the community from a person of Hawaiian ancestry. And with Joan, this “beloved husband and wife team” was recognized as Kama’aina of the Year by the Historic Hawai’i Foundation. These activities, and many others, register the many paths that Brown’s varied and lengthy lifetime in Hawai’i took. Being never lost, though, also meant that Kenneth Brown was ever seeking to find something-himself, his history, his culture, those enduring meanings for which in Hawaiian we have so many words and yet none-the mana, the spirit of the place that lived in his heart. His life reflected some part of this search, as well as the complex situation and future of Hawai’i itself, where his spirit will be alive always. Private services will be held at the grave site. A celebration of his life will take place at Waialae Country Club on Monday, February 17, with program to begin at 4:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations to the following organizations in honor of Kenneth Francis Brown will be much appreciated: the Bishop Museum (, Friends of the Future (, The Polynesian Voyaging Society (

- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran