Marilyn Bornhorst, former Honolulu city councilwoman, dies at age 93

Marilyn Bornhorst, former Honolulu city councilwoman, dies at age 93
Marilyn Bornhorst took lead of the Honolulu City Council as she was selected as Chair twice during her tenure. (Source: KGMB 9 News Archive)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Political leaders are mourning the loss of former Honolulu City Councilwoman Marilyn Bornhorst.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, family members said she died on May 13 of a brain aneurysm. She was living in a Makiki retirement home.

Bornhorst is being remembered as a compassionate leader who championed the way for community organizations to gain a political voice, while making strides for women in leadership.

In 1977, she became the first woman to become Chair of the Honolulu City Council. She served on the council from 1974 to 1988.

“Anyone who knew her is going to miss her. No question about that,” former Governor Neil Abercrombie said. “She was a living breathing embodiment of the community and the aloha spirit.”

Abercrombie remembers Bornhorst for the connections she made with her constituents and fellow leaders.

“She had a pleasant word for everybody. You know what she did more than anyone else? She listened. She was a great listener,” Abercrombie recalled. “When you had something to say or made an appointment with Marilyn Bornhorst, she concentrated on you. She was listening.”

“She might not agree with everything you were saying, but you knew that she was paying attention and she was going to think about it,” he continued.

Through her time in office, she focused a good deal on environmental protection from saving trees and parks around Oahu, to preventing development near cherished beaches in East Oahu.

She led with the same principles she lived by.

“Not many of us, me included, can say we really live what we believe, that our values are manifested in the life that we lead — especially in a political life. But Marilyn Borhorst did,” Abercrombie said.

Bornhorst was 93 years old.

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