Memories of Herman
By Byron Feldman
Byron Feldman was a good friend of Herman Wedemeyer's. A retired advertising executive, Mr. Feldman first met Wedey in the 1950s, when he was handling several of the accounts for which Wedey was doing advertising. In later years, they played golf together and worked together as tee announcers for the Senior PGA tournaments on Maui. Mr. Feldman remembers Wedey as a great golfer and a shy, unassuming man with an endearing sense of humor. Here is a copy of the eulogy that Mr. Feldman gave at Herman Wedemeyer's funeral in 1999.
Words to describe Herman:
Humble...modest...gracious...polite...helpful...unassuming...gentlemanly...sense of humor.
His passion was golf...
Joe Dacey recalls one time when he headed up Hansen Sales and Meat Co., he received a promotional putter from a sausage company he represented.
The putter shaft was in the form of a fork...stuck into a sausage which was the putter head.
Herman fell in love with it and asked Joe to get him one. Herm used that putter for a long time, enjoying the looks he got when he pulled it out of his bag.
One time at Waialae, Herman lent a new putter to John Wells to try. Two weeks later, Harry Endo saw it and wanted to know where John got it. John said Herman gave it to him. "That's funny," Harry said. "I lent it to Herman."
Two weeks later, Fred Ida was playing with John and saw the putter. "Where did you get that?" he asked. John replied, "I got it from Herman Wedemeyer." "That's strange," Fred said, "I loaned it to Harry Endo."
Once when playing with Roger Cleveland, manufacturer of the well-known Cleveland Classic Putter, Roger gave the new putter to Herman.
Later on Kenji Nomura, a non-resident Waialae member, admired the putter and wanted to use it. Well, Herm never did see that putter again but he did receive a box of cookies from Kenji in Tokyo.
One year when Herman and George Hendrickson were tee announcing for the Hawaiian Open, George pointed out to Herman that Hank Stram, coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, was coming their way.
Herm says, "Boy, he looks older than both of us."
Stram approaches Herman and says, "You know, Herman, I've always wanted to meet you -- I remember you from when I was a kid."
Norm Guenther, publisher of Hawaii Golf, tells the story of when he, Herman, and Kimo Kahoano were teamed together in the 1991 Pro Bowl Charity Golf Tournament. Somehow they lost their Pro-Bowl lineman partner. But with Herm reaching the par 5's in two and nearly driving the par 4's, the team ended up winning the tournament with only three players.
A few years ago when we were tee announcers for the Senior PGA Kaanapali Classic, Herman was on a pro-am team with a prominent Japanese businessman. He had a brand new, very expensive set of Honma Golf Clubs and wanted Herm to try them.
Wede shot so well with the clubs -- and his partner was so elated -- he gave the whole set to Herman.
Long time friend Harry Robello remembers that Herman once told him he had a hard time trying to decide on pro golf or football after high school.
In a way, he did both -- he received acclaim as a football star and played the rest of his life like a pro.
Bill Kwon, Star-Bulletin sports writer, told me this story from Herman's high school days. On December 6, 1941, the St. Louis football team was on Kauai for a game that night. The next morning, following the Pearl Harbor attack, the entire squad was recruited to stand guard on the beaches. No supplies, no communication with anyone, no weapons, no nothing.
At night the kids thought some of the bright stars were attacking planes. They were even looking for pocket knives to defend themselves.
It was two weeks before they could return home. That was Herm's introduction to World War II.
In the late 50s Wedemeyer lived up to his nickname, Hula Hips, when he did promotional travel for Hawaiian Airlines. He was part of HAL's sales and promotion group consisting of Andy Cummings, Moki Kaaihue, B.J. Feldman and Margaret Brumaghim. Andy and Moki played while Herman hula'd with B.J. and Margaret. Their signature song was Milolii, specially choreographed for them by Mahi Beamer. I was there for some of the rehearsals and it was a fun time.
For nearly 14 years Herman worked in promotions at Servco Pacific. This also included scholarship and outreach programs funded by Servco Foundation.
One of these projects was a play called "Why?" written and produced by Servco's Harry Chen. It dealt with sex abuse and drug addiction among teenagers.
Herman agreed to play the part of Coach, along with seven novice adult and teenage performers.
Herm was very serious about his part of redirecting the lives of troubled teenagers. He was an inspiration to the amateur actors and appeared in 20 performances.
Lloyd Kurashige, an accountant at Servco, had an occasion to meet some Hawaii visitors from St. Mary's College. One of them happened to be attending intermediate school during the time Herman was starring at the college. Now an adult, he told Lloyd that he had always admired Herman and would love to meet him. Lloyd set up an appointment and when the visitor arrived, Herm presented him with an enlarged autographed print from his football picture collection...probably the highlight of the man's Hawaii vacation.
Herman loved to play tricks on his friends. Harry Endo relates an instance during the filming of a Hawaii Five-O scene that involved a chase sequence where James MacArthur and Kam Fong were to rush to their car and take off on a wild chase.
But Herman had other ideas. The first take was of Jimmy jumping into the car on the passenger side. Then the camera was repositioned for a close-up of Kam Fong rushing up on the driver's side.
Herman had arranged for MacArthur to lock the driver's door, so when Kam Fong's action took place, he ran smack into a locked automobile.
Harry says the look on Kam Fong's face was priceless. The director and crew were in on the gag and recorded the scene for Jack Lord's outtake reel.
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