Tuesday, July 29, 2014         

DONALD GOMES / 1935-2010

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Transportation was family business for bus firm owner

By Rob Shikina


Donald Fred Gomes, the former owner of Don's Bus Co. and Gray Line Hawaii who carried on his family's tradition in the transportation business, died Oct. 2 at his Pahoa home on the Big Island. He was 75.

Gomes died of cancer, said his son, Louis Gomes, who started his own school bus business, Ground Transport, after working with his father.

"I just kind of followed through because my parents were in the business," Louis Gomes said. "My dad was a happy person."

Donald Gomes was born in Honolulu on March 20, 1935. After graduating from Castle High School he enlisted in the Coast Guard. His service included some time overseas, his son said.

In the 1960s, Donald Gomes worked for his father's business, Gomes School Bus Service, which is still run by Gomes' brother David.

After his father died, Gomes started his own school bus business, Don's Bus Co., in 1973, Louis Gomes said.

While running that business in the 1980s, Gomes bought part of Gray Line Hawaii, at the time one of the state's largest tour bus companies.

He helped run Gray Line Hawaii for about five years. He retired from the transportation business after selling Don's Bus Co. and his share of Gray Line Hawaii in the late 1980s, his son said. Both companies have since closed, he said.

Gomes is survived by his wife, Inez; daughters Katherine Frias, Donna "Sissy" Gomes and Marilyn Vidot; son Louis Gomes; brothers David and Cheyenne Gomes and Jerry Apana; sister Dolores "Dee" Pau; four grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren.

Visitation is Wednesday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary. Service will follow at 10:30 a.m. Casual attire.

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