It is with a heavy heart that the city announces the death of longtime city worker and former Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Bill Balfour.

Born on Kauai in 1932, Bill followed in his father’s footsteps by working on the sugar plantations, eventually becoming the plantation manager for the Oahu Sugar Plantation and the Senior Vice President for Amfac Sugar. Bill’s father was a sugar plantation medical doctor.

After 40 years in the sugar industry, Balfour came to work for Mayor Jeremy Harris as the Director for the Department of Parks and Recreation. 

He also served several years as the Civil Defense Administrator for Mayor Mufi Hannemann, and later returned to DPR as an Executive Assistant for Mayor Peter Carlisle. 

When the Honolulu Zoo lost its director in November of 2016, Mayor Kirk Caldwell asked Balfour to step in as Interim Director. 

He held that position until Linda Santos, the first woman Zoo Director, was officially appointed in September of 2017. 

Bill continued to work as a Grounds and Facilities Maintenance Specialist until December 2018.

“Bill had a no-nonsense, ‘get-it-done’ attitude that positively influenced all of those that worked with him,” said Mayor Caldwell. “Despite consistently pushing his staff to put in a hard day’s work, something he did every day right along-side them, everyone admired Bill because he was honest, fair, and warm-hearted. He was one of a kind, and he will truly be missed.”

A memorial service is planned on Monday, May 13 at the Oahu Cemetery Chapel, with visitation at 9 a.m. followed by the service at 10:30 a.m.

Balfour is survived by his wife, Dee Balfour, 6 children, 11 grandchildren, and his brother. He was 87 years old.