Services scheduled for William S. Richardson

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Jun 21, 2010

Former Hawai‘i Chief Justice William S. Richardson
Former Hawai‘i Chief Justice William S. Richardson
Former Hawai‘i Chief Justice William S. Richardson—the founder, namesake and staunch advocate for the UH Mānoa law school—died early this morning at the age of 90.   Said Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw, "CJ was a very special person who transformed lives throughout Hawaii and beyond--his own life was a model for all of us to follow.  We will sorely miss his presence, but he will always be in our hearts and minds."
Respects may be paid at the William S. Richardson School of Law Moot Courtroom from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 8, on the UH Mānoa campus.
A memorial service is planned for 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, July 9, at St. Andrew’s Cathedral near downtown Honolulu.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to “William S. Richardson – Realizing the Dream” fund through the UH Foundation.
William S. Richardson is a former Chief Justice of the Hawai‘i State Supreme Court, having served in that capacity from 1966 to 1982. He later served as a trustee of what is now Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate. Prior to his service as the top jurist in Hawai‘i, Chief Justice Richardson was Lieutenant Governor under John A. Burns. Before that, he was in the private practice of law, was an advocate for statehood and served as chairman of the Hawai‘i Democratic Party from 1956 to 1962.
Of native Hawaiian, Chinese and Caucasian ancestry, Chief Justice Richardson has termed himself as "just a local boy from Hawai‘i." He graduated from Roosevelt High School and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati. At the outset of World War II he volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army and saw combat as a platoon leader with the 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment. He was later inducted into the Infantry Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.
The Richardson Court helped expand native Hawaiian rights to use private property. It gave the public more access to private lands to beaches. It awarded new land created by lava flows to the state, instead of to nearby property owners. It broadened the rights of citizens to challenge land court decisions. In the Court's own words, "The western concept of exclusivity is not universally applicable in Hawai‘i." This new yet old way of thinking sometimes drew criticism from the government and legal profession but has become recognized as an enlightened approach for this unique place in the world.
Before his retirement from the bar, Chief Justice Richardson was memorialized with the naming of the law school in his honor. The William S. Richardson School of Law is the state's only law school and is considered by many to be his crowning achievement, having fought for its establishment for decades.