Hawaiian Electric's powerhouse C. Dudley Pratt Jr. dies at 82
C. Dudley Pratt Jr., who joined Hawaiian Electric Co. in its engineering department and rose to the top of the company, died Wednesday at his Kailua home after a long illness. He was 82.
"Dudley was a visionary who believed that as a local company, we have a strong responsibility to our community and our environment, and he put us on the path to harnessing renewable energy," said Constance Lau, president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Electric Industries.
Pratt was born at the old Children's Hospital on Kuakini Street and was a descendant of missionaries Gerrit P. Judd and Laura Fish Judd. After graduating from Punahou School in 1945, Pratt received a bachelor's degree in engineering from Yale University in 1950 and a master's in engineering from Yale in 1951.
Pratt served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army and was a major in the Army Reserve Corps of Engineers. He would later earn a master's in business administration from the University of Hawai'i in 1971.
He arrived at Hawaiian Electric in 1953. In his early years he was responsible for supervising the 1958 installation of the first 138-kilowatt transmission line over the Ko'olau mountains. By 1981 he had risen to president and chief executive officer of what is now the state's largest utility.
Pratt is credited with helping lead the formation of HECO's parent company, Hawaiian Electric Industries. It was through HEI that the company diversified, acquiring such local companies as American Savings Bank, Hawaiian Tug & Barge and Young Brothers, Malama Pacific Corp., Hawaiian Electric Renewable systems, and HEI Investment Corp.
He also was active in the acquisition of two Neighbor Island utilities, Maui Electric Co. and Hawaii Electric Light Co., and established the HEI Charitable Foundation.
"Under his leadership, HEI diversified to invest in the original North Shore wind farm, which was the vanguard of wind energy development in the early- to mid-1980s and contributed to where the technology is today," Lau said. "We will greatly miss him, but he leaves a legacy in our community that will not be forgotten."
Edwin Carter Jr., a former HEI board member and executive with Bishop Trust Co., served with Pratt on several boards, including the Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America and the Academy of the Pacific. Carter said his longtime friend was a champion for the youth of Hawai'i.
"Dudley was not only a fine businessman and a community leader, but he had a large commitment to the young people in Hawai'i and the Pacific," Carter said. "He had this sense of obligation to make people become all they could be."
Carter said Pratt continued to work and attend meetings despite being diagnosed with cancer three years ago.
"He refused to quit. He just kept going," Carter said.
In addition to his work at HECO, Pratt had a long list of accomplishments, including serving as a trustee of the Estate of James Campbell and being active in community organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, the Hawaiian Historical Society, Central Union Church and Friends of 'Iolani Palace.
For recreation, Pratt enjoyed boating and fishing on his "haole sampan" Waipouli, which he designed and built in 1977.
Pratt is survived by sons, C. Dudley III and Timothy, both of Oregon; daughters, Sarah Pratt Quinn of California and Melinda Pratt Walker of the Big Island; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; brother, David of Kaua'i; and sister, Joan of Honolulu.
A memorial service is scheduled at 5 p.m. June 7 at Central Union Church. Private burial will be at O'ahu Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America, 42 Pū'iwa Road, Honolulu, HI 96817, or to Central Union Church.