Kupuna Life: Travel industry veteran retires after 52 years of service

Kupuna Life

HONOLULU (KHON2) — You may have seen Fred Orr on Take 2 last week. He oversaw a ceremony in the lobby of the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel to mark the princess’ 145th birthday.

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Fred is the hotel’s general manager and he has been in that position for 20 years. Overseeing the ceremony was his last official act before he retires at the end of October.

“Very emotional,” Sheraton Princess Kaiulani General Manager Fred Orr admitted. “My emotion was the same as it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago when I did it. It’s always been inspiring for me to be a part of the hotel and the legacy that came with her.”

People say that Fred has a special relationship with the princess he grew to love, and he’s making his successor, incoming general manager Michael Czarcinski, promise to honor her as well.

This Saint Louis graduate is not only retiring from this hotel, but he’s retiring after 52 years in Hawaii’s hospitality industry. He started his career as assistant manager at the Moana Hotel in 1968, when rooms used to be $10 a day. Then he was a manager at hotels on Maui, Molokai and the Sheraton Kauai when hurricane Iwa bulldozed right over the property.

Fred Orr, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani General Manger : “I saw waves going over three story buildings,” Orr recalled. “Cars went over and down the street, TV’s, bathtubs floating past the hotel.”

He said Iwa was as devastating as this pandemic has been. It caused calamity for workers, who he said provided his favorite memories over the years.

“The individuals I’ve had the opportunity to work with for all these years because every single one of them has a story and if you take the time, you listen carefully. You learn the story of the associates and the managers. It brings much more of a personality to your everyday job,” said Orr.

As staff return and hotels reopen, it’s a perfect time to exhale. For Fred, at 76 years old, it’s now time to take a new adventure.

“All these years, I’ve been in the travel industry but never traveled myself,” revealed Orr. “So I’m looking forward to doing some traveling. My wife and daughter are very interested in going to Ireland and Scotland, so that’s number one on our list.”

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