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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Local pals have fond memories of writer Hunter S. Thompson

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer

A Kailua travel writer and a Honolulu attorney yesterday recalled Hunter S. Thompson as a longtime friend, journalist and champion of the legal underdog.

Thompson, 67, committed suicide Sunday at his home outside Aspen, Colo.

"I was shocked — but not surprised — to hear of Hunter's death. It was completely consistent with his approach to life," said Robert Bone, author of the "Maverick's Guide" series of travel books and a former Advertiser reporter.

Bone and Thompson met more than 40 years ago while they were reporters for the Middletown (N.Y.) Daily Record, now the Times-Herald Record.

Among Bone's fond memories of Thompson were of times spent in Brazil during the early 1960s.

Bone recalled that Thompson had a coatamundi, a small furry animal, in his hotel room. "The coatimundi distinguished itself by eventually becoming toilet-trained," Bone said. "It also liked playing with soap, thus apparently washing his hands. Hunter named it Ace."

"Here in Hawai'i, if the phone rang in the middle of the night, it was most likely Hunter," said Bone, who last saw Thompson in 2001.

"I was never one of Hunter's fans," added Bone, "but I was proud to be one of his good friends, blessed with shared and very fond memories of some of the best days of our two lives. I will miss him and his 3 a.m. phone calls."

Honolulu attorney Brook Hart said he had known Thompson for more than 20 years and saw him as recently as late last month. Hart said Thompson called him more than a year ago to help with a Colorado woman's appeal of her murder conviction.

"He cared about justice and was a real champion of the underdog," Hart said.

In "Prisoner of Denver," a 2004 Vanity Fair article, Thompson wrote about the case of Lisl Auman, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the Nov. 12, 1997, shooting death of a Denver police officer by a man who then killed himself with the officer's gun.

Auman was in police custody at the time of the shooting, but a jury convicted her of murder because she was involved in a burglary that led to a car chase and the shooting of the officer.

Auman's appeal continues.

Reach Rod Ohira at 535-8181 or rohira@honoluluadvertiser.com.