Honarary Member: Charles Hemenway

Author: unknown
Puka Puka Parades, April 1946, vol. 1 no. 1

Feature article covering Honorary Member Charles Hemenway

TO THE MEMBERS: To acquaint you with our Honorary Members, our club organ will have, each month, a feature article covering one member. We will try and give you a hasty picture, of who they are and what they have done.

This issue is dedicated to Charles R. Hemenway, one of the three original Honorary Members, elected into the club while most of us were still over there.

Mr. Charles Reed Hemenway, “Charley” to his business associates and “Pop”, “Old Man” or “Uncle” to many of our boys, was born in Manchester, Vermont on June 12, 1875.

He was graduated from Yale in 1897 with an A. B. degree. He married Jane Munson Colburn, and came to Hawaii in 1899 to become a teacher at Punahou.

This Kamaaina, who has been here almost 50 years, was at one time law practicioner[sic], and at another time Attorney General of Hawaii. His business background includes board memberships of a dozen leading firms in Honolulu. Aside from business, he was president of the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii, of the Queens Hospital and Honolulu Community Chest. These are but a few of the many community activities he participated in as a leader.

Today he is president and chairman of the board of Hawaiian Trust Company.

Mr. Hemenway’s interest in the welfare of the youth of Hawaii, especially of the AJA’s, dates back to the days when he was first a Regent of the University of Hawaii. He is one of the outstanding leaders in the field of fair play and race tolerance among the executives of Hawaii. Many of our boys have taken to him as a foster father, burdening him with personal problems, and he takes pride in being able to assist them. He claims to have the biggest family of boys in the territory and proudly makes a challenge of it. There is no other business executive that I can think of that has his office open to calls from our boys as does Mr. Hemenway. His Calendar is always scribbled with names of AJAs for business and social calls. I have heard him name dozens of boys by their first names, and he feels offended when they do not come in to make a “report” periodically. His home in Manoa Valley has been the scene of many meetings of inter-racial groups.

When the Club 100 was first organized and funds began piling up from dues turned in by members, there was the problem of a place for safe-keeping of the money. This money was sent to Mr. Hemenway and he was entrusted with the responsibility of keeping it for us until we came back. This was not a business deal, the money was not sent to Hawaiian Trust but to Mr. Hemenway himself. However, with more and more money sent him, he realized the need for a regular depository in the name of the club members. An organizational agreement was drawn up by him setting forth the purposes and objectives of Club 100 and naming Hawaiian Trust as Trustee. He sent this to the battalion in Italy and it was adopted under date of August 12, 1944, when approximately 600 members placed their signatures on the agreement. However, until a majority of the boys came back, and the club was legally incorporated, the Hawaiian Trust, with Mr. Hemenway’s recommendations, acted as trustee without charge. Upon incorporation, Club 100 officially designated Hawaiian Trust as its Agent.

This is only one of the many things Mr. Hemenway did for us while we were away. A volume could be written on his kindness and consideration if time and space were available.

When I asked him for permission to write this article, and asked him for a statement, his response was to this effect:

“I don’t deserve all this. I’m just another easy going old man who likes boys. I treasure their friendship very much, and I hope I can continue their friendship for a long time.”

At 71 Mr. Hemenway is still pitching for us. We hope that he will not leave us for a long long time. Those who know him, I’m sure, will join me in saying, he is a great guy, and we’re proud to have him as one of our KAMAAINA HONORARY MEMBERS.