Richard “Rich” Harris Kalbrener
RICHARD RICH HARRIS KALBRENER Richard "Rich" Harris Kalbrener of Honolulu, Hawaii passed away on August 29, in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho after a brief illness. A humanitarian, entrepreneur, and telecom Pioneer, Rich was born on June 1, 1945 in Miller, South Dakota to Harris and Helen (Anderson) Kalbrener. He was raised in Winona, Minnesota and graduated from Winona State University, thereafter spending most of his life and career in Honolulu. He is survived by his loving wife Priscilla, daughter Melissa, sisters Nancy Curry (Gary) of Minneapolis, MN, Karen Turner (Paul) of Carmel Valley, CA. brother Jay (Leisa) of Grays Lake, IL. many nieces and nephews, and his faithful yellow lab, Kiah. A position as a Xerox representative brought him to Hawaii, and in 1981 he founded Long Distance USA in Honolulu. The growing innovative company was acquired by Sprint in 1989. He remained as President of Sprint for six years before moving to Hong Kong in 1996. There he served three years as the Regional President of Global One, a joint venture of Deutsche Telecom, France Telecom and Sprint, serving the Asia-Pacific region. Returning back to Hawaii in 1999, he was recruited to head up Pacific Internet Exchange (PIXC), later re-branded as Pihana Pacific, a company which built, owned and operated world-class carrier-neutral data centers in Asia and Hawaii. In his retirement, he served on many boards including Digital Delivery Networks, Inc., Hiawatha Broadband Communications and Winona State University. Rich and Priscilla traveled the world extensively, always finding new countries to explore. Although he moved to Hawaii in 1973, he kept one foot on the mainland by keeping a family summer home in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho where they would spend six months of every year in their retirement. Rich enjoyed cooking classes and creating exotic culinary delights in his own kitchen, regularly cooking with red wine, and occasionally including it as an ingredient. Family and friends cannot even begin to express how much his presence will be missed. However, during his lifetime he made such a positive impact on the many lives of all those he did business with, those who worked with him, his many friends and of course, his family. Rich was always kind, caring and generous, sharing his success with others and inspiring so many to be successful with his encouraging attitude. He had a robust laugh, a big smile and even a bigger heart! Though he will be deeply missed, his memory will be forever etched in our minds and on our hearts. A memorial service was held on September 27th in his hometown of Winona, Minnesota at the Winona State University, followed by a "Celebration of Life" reception.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased