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Tree Planting, New Signage Commemorate Bill Balfour Jr. Waipah District Park
O‘AHU – In honor of former Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director and longtime City worker William D. “Bill” Balfour Jr., the unveiling of park signage and planting of a Shower tree marked the official renaming of Waipahū District Park today.
Now known as Bill Balfour Jr. Waipahū District Park, the nearly 14-acre park’s new signage is displayed near the park’s main exit on Pāiwa Street. Further mauka of this park sign, attendees of today’s ceremony applied the final touches to a freshly planted Shower tree. During his tenure as DPR Director, Bill reveled in the vibrant flowers of these trees, often relating to staff observations on the variety of shades and the timing of blossoms for the many species seen across O‘ahu. The particular type of Shower tree picked to commemorate Bill was the Ni‘i Gold, a variation of the Wilhelmina Tenney which is the official tree of the City and County of Honolulu.
“Director Balfour’s legacy on the City and our entire island is not only well-documented but lives on through the staff, friends, and family that he led diligently,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “It is so fitting, and I am grateful to honor, this exemplary civil servant through the renaming a popular park location in an area steeped in the history of the Hawaiian sugar plantations. An era which served as the foundation for Bill’s illustrious career.”
Born on Kaua‘i in 1932, Bill followed in his father’s footsteps by working on the sugar plantations, eventually becoming the plantation manager for the O‘ahu Sugar Plantation and the Senior Vice President for Amfac Sugar. Bill’s father was a sugar plantation medical doctor.
After 40 years in the sugar industry, Balfour came to work for Mayor Jeremy Harris as the Director for the Department of Parks and Recreation. He also served several years as the Civil Defense Administrator for Mayor Mufi Hannemann, and later returned to DPR as an Executive Assistant for Mayor Peter Carlisle.
When the Honolulu Zoo lost its director in November of 2016, Mayor Kirk Caldwell asked Balfour to step in as Interim Director. He held that position until Linda Santos, the first woman Zoo Director, was officially appointed in September of 2017. Bill continued to work as a Grounds and Facilities Maintenance Specialist until December 2018.
Balfour is survived by his wife Dee, brother Dr. John Balfour, 6 children, and 11 grandchildren. He was 87 years old.
“Bill loved being outdoors amongst his workers and the facilities he oversaw to provide a personal, hands-on style of management,” Dee Balfour said of her husband. “The Balfour-Kalahui ‘Ohana are proud, honored, and humbled by this recognition, especially in an area known for its diverse, hard-working residents that share the sugar plantation heritage and Native Hawaiian historical significance.”
Following his passing in March 2019, the Honolulu City Council recognized Bill’s service through Resolution 19-287.
“Bill was a dedicated public servant for several decades and someone who always had a can-do attitude,” said Councilmember Brandon Elefante, who introduced the above City Council Resolution with former Council Chair Ron Menor, and represents the area including the park. “Renaming this park symbolizes so much about Bill including his connection to the sugar plantation era, and mostly, his connection to people. The renaming of this park in honor of Bill is a testament to his legacy and contributions to the people of the City and County of Honolulu.”
The renaming ceremony was live streamed on the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation’s Facebook Page, and can be accessed by clicking here.
If you need an auxiliary aid/service, other accommodations due to a disability, or an interpreter for a language other than English in reference to this announcement, please call DPR at (808) 768-3003 on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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