Lee Donohue Obituary, Death – Chief Lee Donohue’s passing is a significant loss for the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) and the community he served for over 40 years. Donohue’s career with HPD began in 1964, and he steadily rose through the ranks to become the eighth Chief of Police, a position he held from 1998 to 2004. However, even after his retirement, Donohue remained actively involved in various initiatives, demonstrating his unwavering dedication to public service.
One of the notable contributions Donohue made after retiring as chief was his involvement with CrimeStoppers. He played a pivotal role in this program, which aims to engage the community in fighting crime by providing anonymous tips. Donohue’s commitment to CrimeStoppers was evident when he attended award ceremonies and supported his colleagues, such as Sgt. Chris Kim, who won a national award. Donohue’s presence at these events showcased his continued dedication and support for the department and its members.
Moreover, Donohue’s contributions extended beyond CrimeStoppers. He founded the Honolulu Police Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting HPD and strengthening the relationship between the police and the community. Through this foundation, Donohue aimed to foster collaboration and create a safer environment for all residents of Honolulu. Additionally, Donohue’s passion for working with youth led him to establish the Kick Start Karate program, demonstrating his commitment to empowering young individuals through mentorship and discipline.
In recognition of his exceptional leadership and contributions, Donohue was chosen to fill a vacant seat on the Honolulu City Council in 2010. This appointment allowed him to continue serving the community in a different capacity, utilizing his wealth of knowledge and experience to contribute to the city’s governance and decision-making processes.
Those who knew Donohue personally remember him as a remarkable individual, both professionally and personally. Tina Yamaki, the current President of Retail Merchants of Hawaii and a close friend of Donohue, described him as an icon and a person who was greatly loved and respected. She recounted Donohue’s persuasive nature, sharing an amusing story of how he “voluntold” her to join the Honolulu Police Community Foundation board. Yamaki emphasized that Donohue’s guidance and mentoring were invaluable, and she always found it challenging to say no to him due to his genuine care and support.
Sgt. Chris Kim, who considered Donohue a mentor and a family friend, expressed his admiration for the former chief. Donohue played a significant role in Sgt. Kim’s journey, swearing him in during his recruit class and offering guidance throughout his career. Sgt. Kim looked up to Donohue as a superhero and acknowledged his immense impact on the community.
It is known that Chief Donohue had been unwell before his passing. When Sgt. Kim received a call about Donohue’s hospitalization, he regretfully couldn’t visit him due to work commitments. Tragically, the news of Donohue’s passing came the following morning. Despite the profound sadness felt by Donohue’s family and friends, they find solace in the knowledge that he lived a fulfilling life and left an enduring legacy. Donohue’s numerous accomplishments and his profound impact on the community and the state of Hawaii will continue to be remembered.
Chief Joe Logan, the current Honolulu Police Chief, expressed his condolences and released a statement acknowledging Donohue’s remarkable contributions. Logan recognized Donohue’s dedication, stating that his legacy would endure through the significant contributions he made to the community and the state.
Chief Lee Donohue’s passing marks the end of an era for the Honolulu Police Department. His four decades of service, exemplary leadership, and tireless commitment to community engagement have left an indelible mark on the department and the community. His legacy as a respected and beloved figure will continue to inspire current and future generations of law enforcement officers.