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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 10:20 a.m., Thursday, April 20, 2006

Philanthropist Dwayne Steele dies at home

Advertiser Staff

Philanthropist and businessman R. Dwayne Steele, who founded Grace Pacific Corp., died at his home in Nuuanu Wednesday at the age of 71.

Late in life, Steele retired from his construction company at the age of 56 to study Hawaiian at the University of Hawaii.

Steele had no Hawaiian blood but fell in love with Hawaiian music and the Hawaiian language and gave his money and support to many causes, said his best friend, Oswald Stender, a former trustee of the former Bishop Estate, now called Kamehameha Schools.

"He was a philanthropist who helped Punahou School, the Bishop Museum, Historic Hawaii Foundation — you name it, whatever cause that's out there," Stender said. "They all wanted to honor him for the good work he does. But he didn't want to do that. He did it because it's the right thing to do."

Services are tentatively scheduled for Wednesday with other details pending, Stender said.