Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 28, 2007

Former ranch owner's son dies

 •  Obituaries

By Christie Wilson
Advertiser Neighbor Island Editor

Antony "Tony" Parker Smart, a seventh-generation member of the family that owned Parker Ranch on the Big Island for 145 years, died yesterday at his home in Hono-lulu. He was 69.

Smart was the son of Richard Smart, last owner of the ranch, who died in 1992, leaving the bulk of $450 million in assets to a charitable trust that supports Hawai'i Preparatory Academy, North Hawai'i Community Hospital and other beneficiaries in the Waimea community.

Although Parker Ranch holdings have been reduced over the years to 150,000 acres, it remains one of the largest cattle ranches in the United States.

Tony Smart was born on Aug. 8, 1937, in Los Angeles and moved with his mother and younger brother Gil to Long Island, N.Y., where he graduated from high school while spending summers roping and branding cattle at the Big Island ranch.

He joined Parker Ranch management in 1961, resigning five years later to work as a stockbroker for EF Hutton in Honolulu, where he retired after 11 years.

Family friend Keawe Vredenburg said Smart attributed his love of dance, music, travel, caviar and race horses to his mother, San Francisco socialite and actress Patricia Havens Monteagle.

Waimea horse trainer Alex Penovaroff said Smart had an abiding love for thoroughbred horses and introduced a breeding program at Parker Ranch, which was sometimes at odds with other ranch managers. He also raced quarterhorses at ranch rodeos.

In 2005, Smart was honored by Parker Ranch at its annual Fourth of July Rodeo. On that occasion, chief executive officer Chris Kanazawa said: "Tony tells us that he has fond memories of many summers spent at Parker Ranch when he rode with the paniolo, helped out during brandings and rode along during cattle drives to Kawaihae. He even recalls falling asleep on his horse one time on the way to Kawaihae, but, thankfully, he was gently awakened by an old-timer before he fell off his horse."

Smart also had an interest in jazz and Brazilian music, and studied piano under Donald Yap at Punahou, who had been Richard Smart's accompanist and teacher. The younger Smart was a sponsor of the Hamakua Jazz Festival, which ran until 2006, and took up painting in his later years.

He was director emeritus at Parker School in Waimea, and never visited the town without stopping by to spend an hour playing the piano, sometimes performing an impromptu jazz concert for students, Vredenburg said.

Waimea veterinarian Billy Bergin, who authored a history of Parker Ranch, said in a statement that Smart remained close to the Big Island community despite his longtime residence in Honolulu. "Tony matched his father's love for the employees of the ranch, never losing touch with the families of Old Waimea," he said.

Smart is survived by his daughter, Stefanie Lee Havens Smart, and his son, Parker Damon Smart.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Reach Christie Wilson at cwilson@honoluluadvertiser.com.