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Law and humor define Judge Sam King's legacy

By Ben Wood

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:38 a.m. HST, Dec 17, 2010


A chapter has been reserved for Judge Sam King in Hawaii's history book for a long time. The federal judge died Dec. 7 at age 94. His role in "Broken Trust" was monumental, and his judicial work over the years was much respected. He also had a keen sense of humor. The judge was portrayed by Mavor Moore in "And the Sea Will Tell," a two-part TV miniseries about the killing of a yachting couple on Palmyra Atoll. After the miniseries came out in 1991, I contacted the judge and asked him what he thought about the production. He quickly said he was much better looking than the guy who played him. The magistrate also made light of turning 90 when I called to wish him happy birthday on his big day. The last time I had the pleasure of speaking with this legal legend was when he and his wife, Anne, walked into Mariposa at Neiman Marcus for lunch about a year ago. Mihana Souza was in the group at our table and quickly walked over to the couple and sang "Aloha Ku'u o na Pali Hauliuli," one of Sam's favorite songs. The judge smiled broadly. He was a swell guy. ...

...JANINA Stankiewicz Chung, 72, who was Mai Tai Sing's assistant manager at Trappers from 1979 to 1995, has written "Far East of the Sun," describing her family's escapes from imprisonment in Russia and Germany and finally winding up in the United States. Janina's grandfather was an officer in the czar's army, and both her parents' families were landowners. That did not sit well with Bolsheviks, who became the Communists. This resulted in her father and other relatives being imprisoned in Siberia. Her father escaped and made it back to his family. When the Germans were retreating from Russia, they took her father and other able-bodied men to work in German labor camps. Janina and the rest of her family spent a year in one of the camps with her father before he was taken to another camp. A brother was also separated from them. Janina and her family were in 11 displaced-persons camps over seven years. They arrived in the U.S. in 1971 and settled in Holyoke, Mass. Their father died in 1976. A brother still lives in Siberia but managed to visit them in 1988. Janina's book can be ordered through amazon.com or reededwards.com. While Janina was working at Trappers, she married Mel Chung. Jimmy Borges, who starred in the room, backed by the Betty Loo Taylor Trio, was the best man. ...

...ARMY CAPT. Francis Brown Wai, who received the Medal of Honor posthumously in 2000, was honored by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii Dec. 4. Francis was a multisport athlete at Punahou (class of '35), Sacramento J.C. and UCLA (class of '39). Also recognized Dec. 4 at the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Building were Francis' athletic brothers, Robert, Lambert and the late Conkling. The Chinese-Hawaiian athletes as youngsters surfed with Duke Kahanamoku and Buster Crabbe, a Punahou grad who later became an actor and, like Duke, an Olympic swimming champion. The older beach boys, such as Duke, looked after the younger Wai brothers. Francis was killed during his heroic action in the landing of Leyte in 1944. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. Among Francis' teammates at UCLA were Jackie Robinson, who broke through the color line and became the first black player in Major League Baseball, and wrestler-actor Woody Strode. ...

...Kawaiaha'o Church is offering a musical gift to the community tomorrow at 7 p.m. "The Joy of Christmas" features the Ministry of Music & Performing Arts choral, dance and bell ensembles and soprano Malia Ka'ai-Barrett. Guests are jazz singer Starr Kalahiki and pianist Kit Ebersbach. ...

...FOOD AND WINE enthusiasts have the chance to win a complimentary, post-holiday cocktail reception for 10 people in Morton's bar. The contest winner and friends will enjoy cocktails, wine and bar bites. Between now and Dec. 31, people can enter the contest by going to Morton's or by visiting www.mortons.com/cheers. ...

...------ Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin on Honolulu streets in World War II, writes of people, places and things Fridays. E-mail him at bwood@staradvertiser.com.






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