Notable at Valley of the Temples: Walter Dillingham

As one of the most beautiful parks in the world, it’s fitting that so many notable people choose to be interred at Valley of the Temples.  

Among the most notable is Walter Dillingham, a baron of Hawaiian industry. 

Dillingham was born in 1875 in Honolulu, in what was then the Kingdom of Hawaii. His father, Benjamin Dillingham, was a self-made businessman and founder of the Oahu Railroad and Land Company (OR&L), which connected Honolulu to the sugar cane plantations of the ‘Ewa Plain.  

Dillingham’s mother was Emma Smith, the daughter of missionary Lowell Smith. The family was prominent, and Walter’s sister eventually married Walter Frances Frear, who would serve as governor of Hawaii from 1907 to 1913. 

Like many other children of wealthy families during that period, Dillingham was educated in the United States. At the age of 14, he moved to Auburndale, Massachusetts, to attend school and attended Harvard University from 1898 to 1900. He came back to Hawaii and founded the Hawaiian Dredging and Construction Company in 1902. When his father became ill in 1904, Dillingham took over management of the OR&L. 

The Hawaiian Dredging Company, which is still Hawaii’s largest general contractor, was very important to the development of the state. It built the dry dock at Pearl Harbor that eventually became part of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base. It also created the Ala Wai Canal, and on its banks, the Hawai’i Convention Center was built. 

Dillingham died in 1963, at the age of 88. He was well-respected in his community, and at his funeral, Hawaiian senator Hiram Fong gave his eulogy, saying, ”He lived a life that spanned the full spectrum of Hawaiian history. He was born and raised under a monarchy; he saw the transition of his beloved islands to a republic, to an incorporated territory under the American flag and finally to the full stature of a state in the Union. He left his imprint on every period.” 

It’s fitting that someone whose life had been spent living in and contributing to the development of Hawaii should be laid to rest at Valley of the Temples. However, Valley of the Temples is not a place of exclusivity. Rather, we serve a broad spectrum of people in our community, celebrating Hawaii’s cultural diversity and providing services that meet a wide range of needs and budgets.  

Call 725.2798 today for more information about how you, too, can choose Valley of the Temples as your final resting place.  

  • Share:
  • share-icon-linkedin
  • share-icon-twitter
  • social_facebook
  • share-icon-pinterest
  • share-icon-google
  • share-icon-reddit
  • share-icon-email
WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin