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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, March 29, 2008

Attorney Frank Ward Hustace Jr.

By Treena Shapiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Frank Ward Hustace Jr

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Descended from two prominent kama'aina families, the Wards and the Magoons, Frank Ward Hustace Jr. sometimes performed legal services for plantation workers in exchange for cooking bananas.

He was also known to do estate planning for taro.

"In the old days, it was unseemly to charge people for services like that," said his son, Frank Ward Hustace III.

Hustace continued practicing law until his death on Wednesday. He was 93.

Judge Samuel King, who went to school with Hustace, called him incorruptible, and suggested that was part of the reason Hustace agreed to serve as territorial Commissioner of Public Lands during Gov. William Quinn's administration.

In a biography he prepared for his family, Hustace explained that he took the post to assure the proper management and distribution of public lands. The commissioner, he pointed out, could only be removed by the U.S. Congress "to preclude local politics from directing or at least interfering with the prudent and honest management of the land assets of the Territory."

Hustace resigned the post shortly after statehood in 1959 in a disagreement over Quinn's "Second Mahele" land distribution proposal, and spent the remainder of his career in private law practice.

He also served as a director of Victoria Ward Ltd., a family holding corporation, from 1949 until the company was sold in 2002.

He became a member of the Hawaiian Kennel Club, and his Labrador retriever Koa was the first obedience champion in the state of Hawai'i.

Hustace was a graduate of Punahou School, the University of Hawai'i and Harvard Law School.

During World War II, he served in the Army with the Judge Advocate General's Corps and the staff of the Island Commander for Tinian Island in the Marianas.

For the most part, though, he lived in Hawai'i. "He stood there with a unique perspective and lived through a period of time when the queen was still alive," his son said. "Hawai'i was changing so rapidly ... and he spanned the ages."

"Frank was a marvelous man," King said yesterday, noting that he and Hustace were "hapa" "part-Hawaiian and part "everything else. ... Another part of old Hawai'i has passed away and he will be missed."

Hustace is survived by his wife, Constance; son, Frank Ward Hustace III; daughter, Patricia Kenyon Hustace; brothers, Edward, Walter and Cedric Hustace; and four granddaughters.

A private family memorial at O'ahu Cemetery is pending.

Reach Treena Shapiro at tshapiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.