Born in Sacramento, California, in 1919, John Batchelder served as an Army Air Force bomber pilot in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II.
Delighted by what he saw of Kauai during a brief stay at Barking Sands Airfield during his military service, he returned to Kauai after the war to make his home on the Garden Isle.
In 1946, Batchelder founded his first Kauai business called Pacific Skyways, Ltd., a charter plane, aerial mapping and surveying company located at Burns Field, Hanapepe — which had been crossed with ditches during the war to prevent enemy planes from landing and had been restored to service just prior to Pacific Skyways’ opening for business.
When Lihue Airport began regularly scheduled flights in January, 1950, Batchelder became its first manager.
Not long afterwards, during the Korean War, he served as a flight instructor at Hickam Air Force Base, Oahu.
Batchelder started his second business on Kauai, Janitorial Services, Inc., in 1958. Besides providing office cleaning services, the company did weekly trash collections at several McBryde Sugar Co. camps, of which only Numila Camp presently exists, albeit greatly diminished.
Janitorial Services, Inc., was also the first Kauai company to provide refuse collection with containers at hotels and other businesses.
The company did cesspool pumping with a tanker truck as well, which like most of his company’s vehicles was purchased by him at military surplus auctions.
Then in 1968, Batchelder opened Island Rentals, the first business of its kind on Kauai. Its office and shop was located on Ahukini Road by the old Lihue Dispensary site, about where the Ahukini Road entrance to Walmart is now. Vehicles, tools, equipment, machinery and other items were rented there.
John and Greta Batchelder had two daughters. He passed away in Lihue in 1978.
By the way, I worked for “Batch” for a few months during 1971, while my wife, Ginger, and I and our two kids, Michelle and Brett, were living at the old Kapaa Stable Camp on Kaapuni Road. He was a good man.