Kudos for Mrs. G.

o the Forum: On behalf of our Association of World War II Marine Corps

veterans, I write to convey to the people of Kauai and to all members of her

family, our condolences on the passing of Mrs. Grace B. Guslander on April 5th

last. News of her death reached us later.

I also express my own very

personal sense of loss, as I was privileged to have been numbered among Grace’s

close friends since 1963, when I revisited Kauai for the first time since World

War II, following the adjournment of a professional convention in Honolulu, and

found myself so for five days. I would return to Kauai nei on four subsequent

occasions (1968, 1972, 1977 and 1979).

In the year last cited, our

Battalion held its 1979 Annual Reunion at Coco Palms. As was so typical of her,

Grace and her staff went all out to assure the success of our reunion, and to

do honor to these veterans of a United States Marine Corps Battalion which had

been formed in American Samoa on 1 April 1942, defended Wallis Island in

1942-43, participated in the Gilbert Islands Campaign in 1943, been reorganized

on Kauai as the 8th AAA Battalion, FMF-PAC in April of 1944, and gone on to

participate in the invasion of Okinawa, the greatest air, sea and land battle

in history. Grace and her husband Gus were the soul of generosity and concern,

and we loved them for it.

From the beginning, Grace and I quickly found

common interests in the history, anthropology, and archaeology of the Pacific,

and ocean of mysteries, and of Kauai in particular. And, by virtue of both of

our professional backgrounds, we shared the challenges posed by issues relating

to striking a balance between development and jobs, on the one hand, and the

historic and environmental assets of the land on the other.

Grace was

truly a “Renaissance lady” who combined superb business instincts

with an appreciation of the many intangibles and tangibles which we call

“the quality of life” and “the fragile fabric of

civilization” of a community and a people. She understood that the people

of Kauai needed economic hope and opportunity. but that they also needed to

guard the spiritual, cultural and environmental aspects of their heritage which

fed the souls of the people and gave Kauai its special magic and genuineness.

In my observation, she was at one and the same time a demanding employer

who expected her employees to live up to the best standards of their vocation

or profession, and a teacher who helped them to achieve that objective. She

genuinely cared about her staff, the “Coco Palms family.” She was

captain of a happy and efficient ship.

Those who came to her hostelry she

truly treated as “guests”, not numbers or accounts. She was

interested in them as human beings. She was the ultimate Innkeeper, as well as

the perfect trustee of the legacy of Queen Deborah Kapule, whose seat and site

of power Coco Palms occupied. She was the genius who conceived the idea of Coco

Palms, now Kauai’s Brigadoon, and the mistress, the kahuna, of its magic.

Now, after a long and extraordinary life, fulfilled in the time measured out to

her by Heaven, she has departed in the natural order of things, to come. The

Hauka’i Po have escorted her to the gates of Heaven guarded by United States

Marines.

Farewell, Dear Lady, Farewell!

Sincerely yours, and SEMPER

FIDELIS

James Hugh Powers, Secretary

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