The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001051276-01
Funeral Notices

WILLIAM K. RICHARDSON William Kahelelani "Billy" Richardson, son of the late Chief Justice William S. Richardson, and an accomplished entrepreneur, lawyer, and teacher in his own right, peacefully passed away in his sleep at home on the morning of November 10, 2017. He suffered kidney disease over many years, complicated by a heart condition. He was 62 and was born in Honolulu. The son of the founder and namesake of the William S. Richardson School of Law, Billy Richardson became a consummate supporter of the Law School, participating regularly in all kinds of activities and events. He was often called upon to speak to incoming classes and he would offer witty, loving, and insightful stories about his father’s vision and the early days of Hawai’i’s only law school. Law School Commencement ceremonies also consistently featured Billy Richardson’s words of congratulation to the new graduates. Billy Richardson earned a BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where for all four years of his college career, he was a proud member of its Division I volleyball team. He earned a JD from the Duke University School of Law, and while attending law school, he coached UNC’s women’s volleyball team to the regionals. He was a well-known entrepreneur who founded and built a series of venture funds that invested in 17 Hawai’i companies, two of which went public on the NASDAQ exchange. In 2014, Richardson took over as interim director of the UH Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development, the department charged with commercializing innovations by faculty and staff. By the time he left the department 21 months later, revenue more than tripled to about $450,000 in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016. At the University of Hawai’i, Mr. Richardson was a Shidler College of Business School Adjunct Professor and a Law School Lecturer in Law who specialized in teaching Entrepreneurship. Before he began working with venture funds, he spent a decade in sales, marketing, and management with Wang Laboratories and five years as an attorney specializing in securities documentation. Most recently he was serving as CEO of one of the new licensed marijuana dispensaries. He was also deeply involved in nonprofit work, focusing on mentoring young leaders as a co-founder of HiBEAM, an incubator for fast growing start-up companies. He was the initial co-chair, with former UH President David McClain, of UH Connections. He was a member of the Hawaiian Homes Commission, and also a trustee of the UH Foundation, the Trust for Public Land, and the Entrepreneurs Foundation. Mr. Richardson is survived by his wife, Lea Hong; two children, Erin Richardson Severin (Steven) and Shaw Richardson (Brittany Maldonado, fiancé); and two sisters, Corinne Wolfe and Barbara Richardson Phillips (Gary). To express condolences and/or make a donation in his honor: UH Foundation – "Realizing the Dream Fund," Attn: Development Office, William S. Richardson School of Law, 2515 Dole Street, Honolulu, HI 96822-2350. A celebration of Billy’s life and birthday will be held at the family’s beach house near La’ie on Saturday, April 7, 2018. For more information, email