HHF Honors Founder, Larry Helber

August 15, 2016

By: Tom Fee, and Richard Quinn

Larry Edward Helber, a founding partner and former Chairman of Helber Hastert & Fee, Planners (now HHF Planners), passed peacefully on Tuesday, August 9th 2016. He was born October 12, 1937 in Portland, Oregon to Fred and Frances Helber. Larry graduated from Oregon State University and University of Washington with degrees in Landscape Architecture, Business Administration, and Urban Planning.

Larry was a remarkable planner and an essential part of the creation of our firm. He was a global expert in Resort and Tourism Planning and completed planning projects in Hawai‘i, Australia, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, India, Fiji, Malaysia, Philippines, The People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Okinawa, Saipan, Brazil, Egypt, and the Republic of Bophuhatswana, South Africa. He led national tourism studies in China, the Maldives, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Fiji, Vanuatu, Guam and the Philippines and was involved in the master planning of some of the most successful and prestigious resorts in Hawai‘i, including Mauna Kea Beach Resort, Kapalua Bay Resort and Kā‘anapali Beach Resort. He was a member of the Pacific Asia Tourism Association (PATA) and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). He also served as a member of the architectural review committees of Mauna Kea Resort, Keahou-Kona Resort and Kā‘anapali Beach Resort.

Larry thrived in his overseas assignments, often collaborating with WATG Architects (then HHF’s parent firm). He attacked his projects with a passion and often combined site inspections, plan development and client interaction into an intensive one-week, on-site event; an exhausting exercise for his clients and staff but extremely successful nonetheless. He was a broad thinker and could conceive a 2,000-acre mixed use resort and then proceed to detail the various elements, guiding his multidisciplinary support team. He was a renaissance planner with excellent skill in design, analysis, and communications. He mentored a number of successful planners and helped guide HHF to become one of Hawai‘i’s most successful planning firms. His planning legacy remains as part of the fabric of HHF Planners in those that worked with Larry and learned so much from him.

For over 30 years, Larry Helber was on faculty of the University Of Hawai‘i, School Of Travel Industry Management and its Executive Development Institute for Tourism, teaching courses on tourism and resort development. He was co-author of a book entitled Tourism Planning and Development and has spoken on the subject of tourism and resort planning and development at numerous tourism conferences in the Pacific Basin.

Larry served as a Captain in the United States Coast Guard and Reserves from 1961 to 1984. He also served his community holding leadership positions at Lyon Arboretum and Central Union Church Preschool.

Larry is survived by his wife, Dee Helber, his two sons, Doug and Ben Helber, and four grandchildren: Kai, Emma, Chloe, and Cole and his sister, Janet Cook. He was a dutiful husband, a loving father, and a principled creative man. His contributions endure time and are manifested in his family, work, and community.

HHF would not be where it is today, without Larry Helber.

Larry, as we fondly recall him, in action on a site visit in Australia.

A celebration of Larry’s life will be held on Friday, August 26, 2016 at Central Union Church courtyard and donations may be made to the Lyon Arboretum or Maunalani Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in his name.

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