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Famed waterman’s love of the ocean came at an early age

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / 2017
                                Tim Guard, a dedicated waterman, died Feb. 23 at age 79. Guard was inducted into the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame at the Outrigger Canoe Club in Waikiki.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / 2017

    Tim Guard, a dedicated waterman, died Feb. 23 at age 79. Guard was inducted into the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame at the Outrigger Canoe Club in Waikiki.

Hawaii waterman, decorated Navy veteran and maritime businessman Robert “Tim” Guard has died.

Born June 1, 1940, in Hono­lulu, Guard was 79 years old. He died Feb. 23 at The Queen’s Medical Center, said his son, Matt Guard.

A dedicated surfer and paddler, Guard took his first wave-riding lesson at age 12 from Duke Kahanamoku in front of the Outrigger Canoe Club’s original location on Waikiki Beach.

“We met under the hau tree between the Outrigger and the Moana Hotel,” Guard recalled in a 2017 interview with the Outrigger Historical Committee. “(Kaha­namoku) took this huge plank that looked like an aircraft carrier and without any effort at all carried it down to the water. … We probably surfed for an hour or two, and it galvanized my feelings about surfing.”

He went on to win the Makaha Junior Amateur Surfing Contest in 1957 and four Moloka‘i Hoe Canoe Racing World Championships; in all, he crossed the Molokai Channel 19 times by canoe and four times by surf ski.

Guard was an emeritus member of the board of the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation and former OCC president who also paddled and coached for the club.

He was inducted into the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame in 2017.

Mark Buck, another former OCC president, said Guard will be missed.

“He was my best friend, teammate and in some ways a mentor, although he was only five years older,” Buck said. “We started getting close in 1965, when we paddled together in the Molokai-­Oahu race where OCC won for the first time in nine years, and multiple races after that.”

Guard’s career as well as his recreational life revolved around the ocean. He was a former chairman, president and CEO of Honolulu stevedoring company McCabe, Hamilton & Renny Co., where his father had worked before him; Matt Guard, the current president, bought the company from his father in 2018.

A graduate of Punahou School and the University of Southern California, where he majored in international relations, Guard served in the Vietnam War and received a Bronze Star, Navy Commendation, Navy Achievement medals and an RVN Legion of Merit.

He joined the USS Missouri Memorial Association board of directors in 1995, and in 2014 was appointed chairman.

“Tim was so looking forward to being able to share in the 75th commemoration of the end of World War II in September,” said Guard’s wife, Devon Guard, regarding ceremonies scheduled at the USS Missouri Memorial on Sept. 2, the anniversary of the 1945 signing of the Japanese instrument of surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. “He was very excited about the signing.”

She said her husband had planned to retire from the board in October, after which the couple were going to return to Kenya and Tanzania, where they celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary last year.

Guard was also a former director of the Marimed Foundation, the Honolulu Aquarium and the Manoa Valley Theatre, and a longtime supporter of Hawaii National Guard Youth Challenge Academy.

In addition to his wife and son of Honolulu, Guard is survived by daughter Abbie Buck (Ken) of Menlo Park, Calif.; stepsons Greg Sarish (Ana) of Portland, Ore., and David Sarish of Honolulu; and six grandchildren.

Services are pending.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported the incorrect date for Robert “Tim” Guard’s death.

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