Two Legends: Frank Fasi and Bob Dye

The city lost two influential figures in February with the passing of former Mayor Frank Fasi and his city managing director—and also author and historian—Bob Dye.


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World traveler and writer, Bob Dye.

Photo: Courtesy of Roger Jellinek

The Raconteur

Grand. It was a word the late Bob Dye used all the time. Because he was Irish, and because he was a grand gentleman of a type I hope never becomes extinct.

Dye was a man both practical (aide to Mayor Frank Fasi and Congressman Cec Heftel) and intellectual. He wrote countless political and historical articles and edited the three-volume set, Hawaii Chronicles: Island History from the pages of HONOLULU Magazine. That’s not to mention his own books, including a novel, Humble Honest Men, and Merchant Prince of the Sandalwood Mountains, the fascinating story of his wife, Tessa’s, great-great-grandfather, Chun Afong, Hawaii’s first Chinese millionaire.

Dye was a gentleman, but not a stiff and formal one. Well into his 70s, his children called him “Party Bob.” He threw wonderful dinner parties in his hillside Lanikai home. There, or in the office, or at the bar at Murphy’s, he was a great talker. 

As well as he could write, he could tell a story even better. My favorite? He once told me about storming into Advertiser editor George Chaplin’s office and demanding a retraction to a story suggesting he was dishonest, something Bob never was.  “I got it, too,” said Dye.  I wish you could hear the story from his own lips. It was grand.

—John Heckathorn



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Honolulu Magazine September 2018
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