Former Sen. Buddy Soares (photo by Daniel Soo)
Former Sen. Buddy Soares (photo by Daniel Soo)

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, former Governor Ben Cayetano, former Lt. Governor Duke Aiona, State Senator Sam Slom and former Senator Richard Henderson were among the people who spoke at a memorial service for Wilfred Clinton “Buddy” Soares on Saturday at Holy Trinity Church in Hawaii Kai.

Soares, who was known to everyone as “Buddy”, was a former state legislator who served in the House from 1966 to 1976, including 6 years as the Republican Leader, and in the Senate from 1976 to 1986.

Abercrombie ordered the state flag to be flown at half-staff on Saturday in his honor.

Born September 4, 1929, Soares died November 25, 2012 at his home in California at the age of 83 with family by his side.

Soares played football at Saint Louis High School, graduating in the class of 1948, and then went on to attend the University of Hawaii. He used his football skills to coach at rival Punahou School in years that followed.

Besides being a legislator and a football coach, Soares was a successful businessman. He worked with Pan American, Amfac, Hawaiian Electric, Aloha Airlines and University of Hawaii at Hilo.

He is survived by sons Kevin, Kirk, Kyle (Noni) and daughter Kelly (Alfred) Valenzuela, 12 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.

A number of people from the political and business communities attended the funeral.

Cayetano, who served in the state Senate with Soares, said even though they were from different parties, they formed a coalition that worked closely together on legislation to create laws that were beneficial to the people of Hawaii.

Abercrombie said “Buddy’s genius was that he figured out a way to put legislation together so everybody had a chance” and Abercrombie touted Soares’ “sense of Aloha.”

“From the bottom of my heart, it was a privilege and honor to know Buddy,” Abercrombie said.

Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona said Soares “touched his life” and noted they had a great deal in common, both being Saint Louis School graduates, both being Catholic and both being Republicans who served in office. Aiona said Soares helped him when he campaigned for office.

Two former co-workers from Aloha Airlines and three of Soares’ family members spoke about his contribution to the community. His grandson called Soares his “superhero” and his daughter talked about Soares’ final happy and sometimes difficult days with her in California.

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