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Public servant directed passion toward improving Kauai

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Family members and friends remember Peter Naka­mura as a Renaissance man: an intellectual, extraordinary musician who spoke fluent Hawaiian and a public servant in positions ranging from planner to Kauai County clerk.

Nakamura, senior planner of Kauai County Planning Department’s Long Range Planning Division, died Nov. 25 of congestive heart failure. He was 60.

Born on the Big Island, Naka­mura and his family moved to Kauai in the early 1960s. He earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Nakamura worked for state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim when she served on the Hono­lulu City Council before he returned to Kauai.

With Kauai County he served as the planning director for two years and moved to the Council Services Division to work as an analyst.

He then served as county clerk and chief election officer from 1999 to 2011 before he returned to the planning department to manage the Long Range Planning Division.

Nakamura was passionate about trying to find solutions that were community-based and in the public interest, said his younger brother, Galen Naka­mura. "He was progressive. He was liberal. … He was a formidable intellect."

His strong work ethic paralleled that of their late uncle, state Supreme Court Justice Edward Naka­mura. "He had a ferocious work ethic," he said of his older brother. "They were very much alike."

Colleagues said he was dedicated to improving Kauai.

Kauai County Council Chairman Jay Furfaro said he was there for everyone, never short of time for people. Sister-in-law and county Managing Director Nadine Naka­mura said, "He meant a lot to a lot of people both in and outside of public government."

Nakamura mentored many young county employees in the Council Services Division and Planning Department. Long-range planner Marie Williams described Naka­mura as a gem: humble and quiet, yet when he spoke, everyone intently listened.

He was always the most intelligent person in the room, Williams said. "He would be the one to say the least and listen the most."

While working to better Kauai was his passion, Naka­mura, of Wai­lua Homesteads, also enjoyed playing slack-key guitar and was a voracious reader.

Family members and colleagues said he will be best remembered for his kindness and generosity.

"To me he was the epitome of what a public servant should be and definitely will be the example that I will live up to in my career," Williams said.

Nakamura is survived by his mother, Doris Naka­mura; brothers Kent and Galen; and four nieces and nephews. His service will be held Dec. 14 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Kapaa. Visitation is at 9 a.m. Service starts at 11 a.m. No flowers.


***Dec. 05, 2013***

>> Peter Nakamura, senior planner of the Kauai County Planning Department’s Long Range Planning Division who died Nov. 25, was born in Hilo, not on Oahu as was reported in an obituary on Page B8 Wednesday.

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