Daniel H. Case, a widely admired civic leader in Hawaii and the former senior partner of the Case, Lombardi & Pettit law firm, died peacefully at his home in Honolulu, HI, on July 1, surrounded by family. He was 91.
Dan was born in Lihue on February 25, 1925, and spent his early years on the Grove Farm sugar plantation on Kauai. At the age of 12, he sailed from Lihue’s Nawiliwili Harbor to Honolulu to attend boarding school at Punahou School. As a senior, he witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor as Japanese planes flew low over the campus toward their targets. He graduated from Punahou in 1942, and then went east to attend Williams College in Massachusetts. While there, Dan was named co-captain of the swim team, and went on to break numerous records, leading Williams to the championship in New England. Dan later applied his swimming skills as a young naval officer in World War II, serving in the elite underwater demolition team that later became the Navy SEALs.
After the war, Dan moved to Colorado for several years, earning his law degree from the University of Denver before returning to his home state of Hawaii to practice law. He joined the law firm that became Case, Lombardi & Pettit, where he practiced law for 60 years, leading the firm for nearly two decades, before retiring in 2012. Dan was consistently selected as one of the Best Lawyers in Hawaii, and was widely respected for his intellect, humility and sense of fairness and decency.
Throughout his career, Dan served as a board member to many leading businesses in Hawaii, including the Honolulu Publishing Company and Maui Land & Pineapple, but it was his work at Grove Farm that served as the capstone of his business and community interests. Dan became Chairman in 2000 and served in that role for 15 years, spearheading its transition from a 38,000 acre sugar plantation to a sustainable community and economic development firm with a keen focus and commitment to the Kauai community he had always loved.
Dan was known throughout Hawaii as a dedicated civic leader, having served on numerous nonprofit boards throughout the years. His service on the Punahou School Board of Trustees spanned 30 years, including 10 as Chairman of the Board. Dan chaired Punahou’s 150th Anniversary in 1991. He was given the “O” in Life award, the highest honor given by Punahou for his “outstanding continuing service to Punahou and the Hawaii community.” The Case Middle School was named in his and his wife Carol’s honor. In 2012, Dan was honored by the National Association of Independent Schools with the Seymour Preston Award, given each year to the school trustee throughout the country who provides exceptional leadership. Punahou President Jim Scott said at the time:
Dan has been an inspiration to his colleagues and friends for generations. We are pleased and honored that he is being recognized as an exemplary and inspiring volunteer leader.
Dan served as President of the Rotary Club of Honolulu, and the Hawaii State Bar Association. He was instrumental in the development of the Hawaii Executive Conference, established to provide executives from across Hawaii and the Pacific with a forum for the exchange of knowledge and ideas.
Despite Dan’s many legal, civic and business accomplishments, his primary focus and abiding passion was his family. The love of his life was his wife Carol, was born in Hilo. Dan and Carol met after both had completed their schooling and returned home to Hawaii. They were married for 61 years, setting an example of love and loyalty for their admiring family and friends.
Dan was a beloved and devoted husband, father, brother, grandfather, community leader, counselor, colleague and friend. He was predeceased by his oldest son Dan, who died of brain cancer in 2002. He is survived by his devoted wife Carol, of Honolulu; his daughter Carin and her husband, Matt, of Healdsburg, CA; his son Steve and his wife Jean, of Washington D.C.; his son Jeff and his wife Kimberly, of Honolulu; his daughter-in-law Stacey, the widow of Dan, of San Francisco, CA; his brother Jim, of Honolulu, and by 12 grandchildren.
A celebration of Dan Case’s life will be held at 4:00 pm on Saturday, September 3, at Punahou School’s Thurston Memorial Chapel, and will be followed by a reception at the President’s Pavilion.