Jeff Watanabe retired from the Punahou Board of Trustees in June, after 20 years of service. He and his wife, Lynn, have been active Punahou parents (Mike ’91, Molly ’92, Katie ’97 and Robert ’00) and grandparents. While a Board member, Watanabe served on many committees throughout his tenure, including the Education, Admission and Financial Aid committees and the 175th Anniversary Steering Committee. He and Lynn have also been instrumental in galvanizing grandparent giving and involvement in the School.
A Roosevelt High School graduate and founder and principal of the law firm Watanabe, Ing & Kawashima, giving back to the community has been a guiding principle throughout Watanabe’s life and he has served in leadership roles for numerous Hawai‘i organizations, in addition to Punahou. Watanabe’s grandparents came to Maui from Japan to work in sugar plantations and tradition, family and community have been important values in the Watanabe household.
“On behalf of the entire Punahou Board of Trustees, I thank Jeff for his tremendous contributions to the Board over his 20-year tenure," said Punahou Board of Trustees Chair Ethan Abbott ’72. "Jeff was always the go-to Board member whenever there was an issue to be discussed and resolved. His strong and thoughtful leadership and gems of wisdom were a major part of any discussion. Jeff was always very supportive of the School while consistently being aware and sensitive to the entire Hawai‘i community. Jeff’s impact on Punahou is immeasurable; he leaves a lasting legacy and will be truly missed.”
Punahou President Jim Scott ’70 commented, “During his 20 years as a Punahou Trustee, Jeff was a valuable source of wise and insightful counsel for me. Specifically, he helped me to reframe a problem before jumping immediately into finding solutions. At Board discussions, Jeff consistently asked the right questions, and he could be counted on to bring the conversation back to mission-centered guiding principles. And as a proud graduate of public schools, he would encourage us to guard against arrogance and remind us of Punahou’s responsibility to the larger community.”