Passed peacefully at home in a room full of love and surrounded by family on 8/13/2022. He lived with Parkinson’s Disease for a decade and did everything in his power to delay the progression by walking, taking PD boxing classes and strength training, exercising in a pool, biking, keeping his mind alert by reading extensively and haunting many libraries on a weekly basis, socializing with friends and family.
Howard was born in West Los Angeles and attended USC and L.A. State University, with a B. A. degree in Political Science. His 1st job was a paper boy for the L.A. Herald. He was Honorably Discharged from the U. S. Army Reserves in 1962, with a Letter of Acknowledgement by the Brigadier General, USAR, for high performance and exceptional effort. His 1st job out of college was with Security First National Bank of Los Angeles. He moved to Hawaii in the early 60s and started a small mail order business "Hawaiian Things" with an office in the Merchandise Mart Building downtown offering Hawaii made clothes, things of value and originality, records, etc. He saved a note from a mainland buyer asking if he took American money! He kept that little business, mostly as a hobby, going until the 80s.
After excelling at First Hawaiian Bank and Blackfield Hawaii’s Realty Mortgage where as VP he was instrumental in getting the amendment to the National Housing Act before Congress passed which enabled lessees of leasehold properties to obtain long-term FHA financing, he graduated from the School of Mortgage Banking, sponsored by the Mortgage Banking Association of America, was recruited to Hawaii Kai Development Co, and though he didn’t golf, was the manager of the Hawaii Kai Golf Course. He then earned his Broker’s license and incorporated Howard Bilkiss, Ltd. as a commercial real estate company in 1973 located in the Amfac Building. He developed condominiums and houses, providing market-based affordable work force housing in the Honolulu Urban Core, and also expanded to resort ski developments in Sandpoint, Idaho in the 90s.
Although Howard worked hard, he always had time for family, adventure and community. He was President of Hawaii Developers Council, in which he focused on streamlining the approval process.
especially projects for 1st time buyers; had UH football and basketball season tickets for years; founded and captained the Spirits softball team; coached Little League and AYSO; was a president of Temple Emanu-El; and a member of O’ahu Jewish ‘Ohana. He enjoyed traveling, especially to Sonoma, skiing (always trying to be on the first chair of the day) and was a strong supporter of many local and national charities.
Howard loved and was so proud of his kids and grandchildren and loved spending time with them. He was an exceptional listener, but never judgmental. He started conversations with "let’s have a meaningful dialog" which they remember now with humor and love, but may have rolled their eyes at, back in the day! He was an eternal optimist, making lemonade out of lemons and was a happy and content man. We’re grateful he passed being able to spend his last few days with his 3 children here with him.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Catherine and Nathan, and sister Yvette. He’s survived by his wife, Kathy of 45 years, children Michael (Rene’), Abby, Dana Barbata (Coby), grandchildren Jackson, Melia and Molly and nieces Susan and Lisa with their collective 5 sons.
We thank our many friends, neighbors, doctors and their staff, and caregivers who provided so much aloha, assistance and support for him and our family.
Private Services will be held at Diamond Head Mortuary with a celebration of life to follow next summer. Memorial donations can be made in his honor to Hawaii Parkinson Association or Honolulu Jewish Community Services.
Arrangements Provided By: Diamond Head Mortuary
Notice #: 0001384805-01