Introduction

Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem. ~ Abraham Lincoln

The Honorable Martin Pence was “Penny” to me, as he was to his family and friends.? He was my godfather and that’s because he was a hunting companion (i.e., close friend) of both my father and grandfather.? Because my grandfather died before I was born, Penny was a link to my family history.? More than that, he was also enormously influential to me as a role model – I always admired his enthusiasm for life, his story-telling and his personal warmth.? And so it was worthwhile for me, even as a teenager, to wake up at 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday to join Penny and my father and several brittany spaniels for birdhunting on Parker Ranch.?

On return visits to Honolulu during college and later, I would visit Penny in his chambers at the federal courthouse and he would take me to lunch at the cafeteria.? He would greet me at the door and usher me into his office.? There he would inquire as to what classes I was taking, what books I was reading or what kind of work I was doing.? I recall, on one occasion telling him that I was reading (and quite enjoying) Michener’s Hawaii.? He looked at me as if I was pouring vintage bourdeaux into a sippy cup and hastened to inform me that, while Michener got the gist of it, the book hardly qualified as history.? I understood that, but took his words as an admonition to consult actual histories of Hawaii, which I did.?

It is in the spirit of his concern for getting the true history correct — and out of appreciation for what he taught me by example that I have embarked on this project to collect a history of his life from the people that knew him.? A simple Google search leads to little information about the life of Judge Pence.? Yet I believe that his place in Hawaii’s history and his influence on those that knew him warrant an effort to record, as completely as memories will allow, a history of the events of his life.?

Very simply, I am asking that those who knew him – whether as a law clerk, an attorney appearing before him, a friend, a hunter, a colleague, as family – to send me written accounts of their memories of him and I will post them on this site with attribution to the authors.? Except for correcting typos and the like, I do not intend, nor likely will have the time, to edit these accounts.? But I do intent to to cross-reference these anecdotes and memories by author and by reference to aspects of Penny’s life.? I am a newcomer to the inner workings of websites and so I apologize in advance for any glitches.?

This website is not intended to be a hagiography.? I acknowledge that no life of a public figure, let alone a judge, can be without controversy.? To be sure, Judge Pence was a man I and many others greatly admired.? But by no means do I intend to discourage or omit criticism or discussion of controversies about, say, decisions he rendered as a?judge.? Of course, it is fair to insist that such criticism or discussion be given respectfully and in good faith.?

I would like to thank Eleanor Pence for her blessing and encouragement in this endeavor.? She has always seemed to me to be his equal in stature, charm and humor.? Her daughter, Suzy Hemmings, provided materials and pictures that got this website off the ground – critical momentum when it was needed most — for which I thank her.? Thanks also to?Prof. Gordon for his encouragement. ?And, of course,?thank you in advance to everyone who contributes!

–????????? Tim Giacometti, October 18, 2010

Comments are closed.