H.K. Bruss Keppeler: 1937-2014Lawyer promoted rights of Native Hawaiians
H.K. Bruss Keppeler, 77, an attorney known for his dedication to preserving Hawaiian culture, heritage and way of life, died April 12 in Honolulu.
For many years Keppeler worked with U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka's staff on the Akaka Bill — a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill. In 2011, Keppeler also worked with state senators on passage of Senate Bill 1520, which created the commission responsible for creating and maintaining a list of Native Hawaiians tasked with working toward the organization of a native government.
Keppeler established Na ‘Oiwi Kane — the first Native Hawaiian "disadvantaged" business eligible for government contracts through the Small Business Administration — with Ronald K. Jarrett.
He was vice president and general counsel of JTSI Inc. and a director of the Kepler Group Inc. Keppeler was a graduate of Punahou School and the University of Washington, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts and a law degree.
In the "Price of Paradise," Keppeler wrote a Native Hawaiian claims article and, with Mahealani Kamauu, co-authored the Hawaiian sovereignty article.
He served on the boards of the Bishop Museum Association, Friends of ‘Iolani Palace, Moanalua Gardens, Na ‘Oiwi Kane, University of Hawaii-Manoa Charles R. Hemenway Scholarship Program and the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce. He was also a member of The Royal Order of Kamehameha I and the Hawaiian Civic Clubs of Honolulu and Prince Kuhio, and Mamaka ‘Ai alo. He served as adviser to the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission and was appointed commissioner on the Hawaii Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Survivors include partner M.J. Fogarty, brother John P. "Jack" Keppeler II, sister Leinani Keppeler-Bortles, six nieces and two nephews.
Visitation is at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew, followed by services at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to Friends of ‘Iolani Palace, Punahou School, Bishop Museum, Prince Kuhio Civic Club and Cathedral of Saint Andrew.
Post memories at bruss.keppeler.muchloved.com.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased