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Waltah Clarke, who alien Hawaiian accoutrement to the acreage in the aboriginal 1950s and was already the nation’s better banker of aloha wear, has died. He was 89.

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Clarke, architect and admiral of Waltah Clarke’s Hawaiian Shops, died of affection abortion Tuesday at a hospital in Rancho Mirage, area he and his wife, Gretchen, lived the aftermost 28 years.

Clarke, a Los Angeles built-in who confused to Hawaii in 1938, opened his aboriginal abundance in Palm Springs in 1952. By 1980, there were 31 Waltah Clarke Hawaiian Shops, including those in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Palm Bank and Chicago, as able-bodied as 17 locations in Hawaii.

In the 1950s, Waltah Clarke’s was the abode to go for Hawaiian shirts, swimwear and the ever-popular muumuu.

“They took off like gangbusters,” said Gretchen Clarke, who advised best of the absolute prints and accoutrement for the company. In the 1960s, she said, “we adult the muumuu and fabricated it into added of a appearance garment–cocktail dresses and resort wear–and not aloof a billowing dress.”

For The RecordLos Angeles Times Sunday May 12, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 A2 Desk 2 inches; 41 words Type of Material: CorrectionClarke obituary-Waltah Clarke’s obituary in Saturday’s California area afield declared the time of his canonizing service. It is appointed at 2 p.m. Monday at Ramon Chapel of Palm Springs Mortuary in Cathedral City. The banker of Hawaiian accoutrement died Tuesday in Rancho Mirage at age 89.

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Their ad at the time said: “We’ve appear a connected way from the muumuu, baby.”

And, she said, “When the miniskirts came in, we beneath it to aloft the knee. We alleged it ‘the mini muu.’ All the adolescent girls bought it. We were avant-garde and kept up with the trends, but consistently with the Hawaiian flair.”

“They were actual able business people, Waltah and Gretchen,” said Tim McCullough, admiral and arch controlling of Reyn’s, a longtime accoutrement banker and architect in Hawaii.

“They charge to be accustomed with bringing what we would alarm today luau kitsch to the beginning of the boilerplate marketplace,” McCullough said. “At the time, they were absolutely progressive. Their designs and administration were done actual alluringly for the aeon and their artefact was actual d.”

In 1975, Hawaii’s Gov. John A. Burns awarded the Clarkes a appropriate commendation of arete for their “substantial accession to the bread-and-er development of Hawaii.”

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Born in Los Angeles in 1912, Clarke accelerating from USC with a advanced arts degree. He confused to Hawaii in 1938.

“He addled a coin–Paris or Hawaii–and Hawaii came up,” his added said.

Soon afterwards accession in Hawaii, Clarke met restaurateur Vic Bergeron and abstruse the restaurant business managing the Trader Vic’s restaurant in Honolulu. Then Clarke met accession allegorical restaurateur, Donn Beach, for whom he served as accepted administrator and publicity administrator for his Don the Beachcomber restaurants.

An eye botheration kept Clarke out of aggressive account during World War II.

After the war, Clarke became an official agent of aloha, forth with Duke Kahanamoku, for the Hawaiian Visitors Bureau.

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Clarke additionally began autograph a account account column, “Hawaiian Holidays,” which appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle and added newspapers.

Clarke’s abject of operations was the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, a allurement for socialites and Hollywood celebrities whose activities he chronicled. His business agenda read, “Royal Hawaiian Beach, 3rd awning from the left.”

Heavily boosterish for the islands, which were a decade abroad from acceptable a state, Clarke concluded anniversary cavalcade with a acclimate report: “Gosh!” he wrote in one, “The weather’s been admirable afresh … about winter, with ablaze dejected skies, hot sun and spun-sugar clouds. Aloof absolute for biking to the islands.”

“He abstruse the business of all things Hawaiian mostly from Don the Beachcomber,” said Gretchen Clarke. “He became so absorbed with Polynesian life–the customs, the music, the flowers and the accomplished attitude of Hawaii, the aloha spirit–he absitively to accompany that to the acreage through stores.”

Clarke, who consistently admired the desert, opened his aboriginal Hawaiian accouterment abundance in the battleground El Mirador Hotel in Palm Springs in 1952.

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On a affairs cruise to Hawaii in 1953, he met Gretchen, a contempo Northwestern University alum who had advised t design, in the antechamber of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, area she and her parents were staying. They were affiliated the aing year.

Clarke’s move into the El Mirador Hotel was “an burning success,” said Gretchen Clarke. “We fabricated abundant money to accumulate aperture food every year.”

When Disneyland opened in 1955, she said, “We were there.” In 1956, they confused out of the El Mirador and opened a boutique on Palm Canyon Boulevard in Palm Springs, area it was a accoutrement for 36 years.

After about 10 years of abacus acreage food to their chain, Gretchen Clarke said, they opened their aboriginal abundance in Hawaii–at the Ala Moana Shopping Center–and advance to the above hotels on the alien islands.

Waltah Clarke consistently handled the advance and publicity for their company.

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Clarke had afflicted the spelling of his name from Walter to Waltah because that’s how the Waikiki bank boys arresting it back he accustomed in the islands. Clarke retired a decade ago, appointing his wife admiral of the aggregation while he connected to serve as administrator of the board. They awash their aftermost store, in Palm Desert, aftermost year.

In accession to his widow, Clarke is survived by children, sons Walter Jr. of Honolulu, Rolf of Irvine, and Cameron of Washington, D.C.; daughters Heather Salsbury of Los Angeles, Gretchen Clarke of Eureka, Mont., and Cissy Milauskas of Los Angeles; and six grandchildren.

Services will be captivated at apex Monday at Ramon Chapel at Palm Springs Mortuary in Cathedral City.

The ancestors suggests that any donations be fabricated to Tiempo de Los Ninos at Arid Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs or the American Cancer Society.

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