Chuck Frankel – 30 –

I was sorry to get the news yesterday of Chuck Frankel’s death.

He was a class act.

His son, David “Kimo” Frankel, sent out an email to those on Chuck’s correspondence lists. It says a lot about the man.

On Saturday evening, my father experienced intense pain and called an ambulance. After some testing, the doctors determined that his aneurysm had ruptured and recommended surgery. My father refused. The doctors called me at 3 a.m. to let me know what was up and I raced to the hospital, running two red lights. When I got to the hospital, my dad was very alert and lucid. He said that he had lived a good life; that he was ready to die; that I should cancel the subscription to the newspaper; that he did not want any services; that he didn’t think that he would live to see the rail system built. Although the doctors expected him to die right away, he did not. On Sunday, we read the newspaper, watched CNN, and discussed the issues of the day. My father was, of course, quite pleased with the election (except for the mayor’s race). He started feeling worse Monday afternoon and he received more pain medicine. He died this morning without complaint.

I remember Chuck very clearly at the side door of the old newspaper building as I left the Star-Bulletin for the last time after the papers last edition was finished on March 14, 2001. Here’s the photo I managed to get as he greeted me.

Chuck Frankel

Chuck was always generous in sharing his thoughts via email. I think my last missive from him was early last month. Here are just a few examples.

October 9, 2012 – biased headline

As an old headline writer (and supporter of Hanabasa}. I too felt Monday’s headline was unfair to Djou. I thought the story dealt with their outlook on the election and I was surprised that it dealt with the economy. That being said, I doubt that bias was involved — sloppiness was.

August 25, 2012 – the joys of your website


Of couse, I enjoy your current political reporting, but it is a real pleasure to encounter treasure of the past, as in your memories of the wonderful Woody Schwartz.

–Aloha, Chuck

August 14, 2012 – how about this

The perfect solution: Make Mufi Hannemann the UH athletic director.

December 29, 2011 – obits

I liked and admired John Heckathorn, but as too often the case with journalists the Star-Advertiser went overboard on its Heckathorn obit but really kissed off with a few words the obit on Marion Kelly. She was an outstanding Hawaiian activist, very learned on Hawaiian land issues, a teacher at UH Manoa, the widow of Save Our Surf co-founder of John Kelly and onetime model for her father-in-law artist John Kelly Sr. She really made a difference in Hawaii.

November 4, 2011 – mcateer

Your item today on McAteer reminds me that Pasty Mink became extremely hostile to him when he questioned the quality of Hawaii’s drinking water, a subject close to the heart and mind of her husband, John. McAteer was correct in his diagnosis, I recall

September 11, 2011 – Print or digital


As an important and intelligent critic of the press, you should subscribe to the print edition of the Star-hyphen.

–Aloha, Chuck

March 20, 2011 – Libya

I am puzzled why the U.S. is going to war in Libya in order to save civillian lives while it persists
in using drones that take the lives of Afghans and Pakistanis.

==Aloha, Chuck

October 27, 2010 – dancing with the politicians

KITV is so devoted to bringing election news to its reviewers that it says it will interept the political coverage on Nov. 2 to bring us “Dancing With the Stars” (I forget whether it is for 30 or 60 minutes).

October 14, 2010 – right to die


Thank you for sharing your sober thoughts on the right to die.

–Aloha, Chuck

April 24, 2010 – kitv “news”

Shame on KiTV news for airing segments posing as news but in reality are commercials promoting “Lost” and “Dancing with the Stars” on its station.

There are a lot more in my email archive, but perhaps you get the flavor of his advice and counsel.

5 responses to “Chuck Frankel – 30 –

  1. Mahalo for posting, Ian. Chuck was one of the great journalists, as are you. We just don’t seem to have many (any?) reporters that actually want to delve into the backstories of issues anymore. He will be greatly missed. I’m glad that he and Helga left their legacy in their terrific son, David Kimo Frankel. Our love and support go out to Kimo and his family.

  2. Heck of a guy, and a newspaperman of the old school. Opinionated and cheerful.

  3. Chuck drove me nuts. With a cheerful grin, he’d toss a barb about Frank Fasi my way and somehow I could never think of an adequate response. Why was that, d’ya suppose?

  4. Sorry for the late comment….but both Haunani and I have very fond memories of Chuck. In the late 70s, fresh from graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, she showed up outside his office with an op ed piece she had written on PKO, stop the bombing, Section 5-F, etc. She was absolutely convinced that the Establishment Press would never print it, but after he had gone through what she later recalled as his central-casting, Humphrey Bogart, gruff newsman, don’t-bother-me routine as an intro, they sat down to talk, he gave her the space (and much more in years to come), and they remained two people who truly delighted in the company of one another as the subsequent years unfolded. As for me, I recall him giving me any number of half-page op-eds on everything from Hawaiian rights to the horrors of mass tourism to UHPA’s legitimate contract grievances to Affirmative Action and more–and in those days of larger format newspapers a half-page was huge. He always peered at me skeptically over his glasses, unsmiling, promised nothing, and then published almost everything I gave him word-for-word. The only time I recall him cracking a smile about those pieces was when the S-B editors were so unhappy with what I had written in criticism of them that they ran an editorial against my op-ed piece in the same edition. He loved that, and so did I. Years later, after he retired, both Chuck and Helga took classes from me at UH and charmed the younger students with their sharp minds, committed politics, historical anecdotes, and wisdom. We will miss him. But their son David, now winning court cases before the Supremes, keeps hope alive.

  5. I think all of us have Chuck Frankel stories that we will treasure.

    Newspapermen like him (and George Chaplin) are few and far between today.

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