Bill Follmer Biography

Bill Follmer - President




William H. Follmer

As the youngest son of a naval officer, I spent some of my early childhood in Kahala and left Hawaii at age 4 in 1941 just prior to the Pearl Harbor attack. I returned when it was safe in 1948 and entered 6th grade at Punahou and graduated in 1955. In 1961, I graduated from Yale with a BE in Electrical Engineering and, with my lovely wife Marion, immediately drove to Lackland AFB Texas where I entered Officers Training School and after 90 days was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force.

From OTS, it was a short trip to Waco Texas where I earned my wings by completing air navigation training. Marion travel with me to my first assignment at Yokota AB Japan where she enjoyed flower arranging and adding a second daughter to our family. I had the pleasure of flying weather reconnaissance missions and experiencing the splendor and the fury of over 50 typhoon penetrations. When not engaged in romancing weather phenomena, our aircrew was spying (from afar) on the nuclear activity of the Chinese and the Russians.

The rest of my Air Force career was also exciting and included a year of flying combat rescue missions over Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as well as two Hickam AFB tours totaling 23 years. While at Hickam, I found the time to volunteer and serve for 4 years as President of the Friends of Foster Gardens during the last years of Paul Weissich’s reign as Director of Honolulu Botanical Gardens. It was wonderful how Paul could make work fun. After retiring from the Air Force in 1986, I attended UH Manoa and received a Professional Diploma in Secondary Math and was hired by Kamehameha Schools where I have been for the last 22 years fulfilling my life-long dream of being a teacher.

As president, I have no agenda other than to help the Friends help the gardens in ways that bring joy to our members and the community. I want us to have fun, be proud, stay solvent and contribute to our community. I am looking forward to working with you in some fun activities, like our plant sales and other fund raisers. Non-Profits like ours are facing difficult times and we need to encourage people who love plants to support our wonderful gardens. Our gardens are perishable treasures that not only are a joy to behold, but also preserve many endangered tropical plants. Come join us.

Aloha, Bill Follmer



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