Henry J. Kaiser

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Henryjkaiseroverhawaiikai.jpg
Henry J. Kaiser perches above Hawai'i Kai in April 1963, his suburban development in Honolulu. Kaiser spent much of his later years developing the urban landscape of O'ahu.

Henry J. Kaiser (May 9, 1882 - August 24, 1967) was an American industrialist who became known as the father of modern American shipbuilding. He headed the Liberty ship project during World War II; the concepts he developed for the mass production of commercial and military ships are still used today. As a real estate magnate, Kaiser was the founder of the Honolulu suburban community of Hawai'i Kai in Hawai'i and Panorama City near Los Angeles.

In 1945, Kaiser partnered with automobile executive Joseph Frazer to establish an automobile manufacturing company in the former Ford Motor Company plant at Willow Run, Michigan. The facility also produced aircraft for the United states military but in 1953, lost its contracts and was forced out of business. Kaiser Motors produced cars and jeeps between 1946 and 1954 until declining sales forced the closing of domestic operations. Production was moved to plants in Toledo, Ohio and then Brazil and Argentina. In the late 1960s, the company was sold to a combine of Ford and Renault owners.

Henry Kaiser spent much of his later years in Honolulu and developed an obsession with perfecting its urban landscape. He founded the Kaiser Hawaiian Village Hotel, now one of the most famous Hilton resorts in the world. Elsewhere, Kaiser built civic centers, roads, schools. He is best known for constructing the Hoover Dam and Grand Coulee Dam. Kaiser is also noted for advancing medicine with the development and construction of several hospitals, medical centers and medical schools.

His grandson, Edgar F. Kaiser, Jr. lives in British Columbia, Canada and was the President of the former Bank of British Columbia and Kaiser Steel.

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