Fred B. Smales – Leading Hawaii Businessman and Sailing Enthusiast – Passes

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Longtime businessman Fred B. Smales passed away at his home on Saturday, December 3 at the age of 98.  Mr. Smales, a Kaneohe resident, was born in Keokuk, Iowa.

He took his first job with United States Plywood Corporation (later Champion International) where he remained for 32 years, retiring as its West Coast and Pacific Area Vice President.

In 1965, he spearheaded the purchase of Hawaii’s Lewers and Cooke (est. 1852) and served as its president until 1969.  Mr. Smales became President of Hawaiian Cement, which was acquired by Lone Star Industries, a national cement company, and was later appointed president.  Following retirement from Lone Star, he established Plywood Hawaii in 1995 and served as its Chairman until his passing.


As an investor and President of Hawaii Thermal Power, he drilled the first geothermal well on the Island of Hawaii in 1960.

An avid sailor, Mr. Smales raced five Trans Pac races from Los Angeles to Honolulu, as well as holding several local Hawaii records while engaging in his lifelong passion for yacht racing.  He was commodore of five yacht clubs and two yachting associations during his lifetime.  He was also a Life Member of the Honolulu Navy Leageue.

In 1987 he chaired the Governors’ Blue Ribbon America’s Cup Committee in an effort to bring the America’s Cup to Hawaii.  He received the National Governor’s Association Distinguished Citizens Award in 1986.  He was also Hawaii Commissioner to World Expo (Brisbane, Australia) in 1988 and Chairman of Gov. George Ariyoshi’s reelection campaign in 1988.

He is survived by wife Connie (married 47 years), daughters Nancy Alice Clark of Upland, California, Catherina Malia Christensen (Trina) of San Ramon, California, and son Fred B. Smales III (Trace) of Honolulu.

A celebration of life will be held at Kaneohe Yacht Club on Saturday, January 26, 2013 following the scattering of ashes in Kaneohe Bay.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Hawaii Sailing Foundation or Hawaii Pacific University.





  1. Fred's dream to develop Sand Island and Keehi Lagoon into a host for world class sailing will be realized one of these days. Local boat owners, fishermen, sail boat enthusiasts, water skiers also need space to moor their boats too. Fred was a fine gentleman who will be missed. My sympathies to his lovely wife Connie and family and to his myriad of friends and admirers.

  2. He will be missed by the Hawaii yachting community. He was a person of such good sailing and you will never know that he is rich until you know his properties. Acts like a regular guy.

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