Friday, January 5, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, January 5, 2001

Ex-Hawai'i Associate Justice Kidwell dead at 89

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

H. Baird Kidwell, a former associate justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court and prominent Honolulu attorney, died Dec. 26 in Medford, Ore. He was 89.

Kidwell was born in Maricopa, Calif., Oct. 20, 1911, and he attended Stanford University for undergraduate studies and law school. He earned his law degree in 1935 and worked for the Los Angeles firm of O’Melveny and Myers.

In 1938, Kidwell joined the law firm now known as Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel. He practiced a variety of business, real estate, trust and banking law for most of the next 37 years.

Kidwell married the former Margaret Greenwell in 1940 and the couple had two children. Although his career took much of his time, he devoted a good portion of his life to his family. In 1966, the Chamber of Commerce of Honolulu named Kidwell as its Father of the Year in the field of law.

During World War II, Kidwell served as a deputy attorney general at the request of Attorney General J. Garner Anthony. In his 17 months with the department, Kidwell drafted legal documents that were required for the return of Hawaii from military to civilian government.

Kidwell returned to his law firm and in 1975 was picked by then-Gov. George Ariyoshi to serve on the state Supreme Court. Kidwell served as an associate justice until 1979, when he retired.

He remained active in community activities and taught at the University of Hawaii’s William Richardson School of Law.

Kidwell served as president of the Hawaii Bar Association, was on the board of governors of the American Bar Association, and worked with the Honolulu Symphony and the Oahu Development Conference.

Former law partner Marshall Goodsill described Kidwell as a "practical intellectual."

"He had a brilliant, searching mind," Goodsill said. No client ever got into trouble by listening to his advice. He was the most ethical lawyer I ever knew."

Kidwell is survived by his wife, Margaret; son, Alan; daughter, Frances; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

No services are planned.

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