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ISLAND HISTORY: Ed Sheehan, the author of “Days of ‘41”

Perhaps, my father, Henry Soboleski, and Honolulu radio personality, author and actor Ed Sheehan (1918-1992) knew each other, since they both worked at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard during World War II, Henry as a warehouseman and Ed as a shipfitter.

But, by the time I sought to make the connection, they were gone.

Unlike my father, who returned home to Brooklyn, Ed Sheehan made his home in Honolulu.

Most notably, Ed Sheehan was the author of “Days of ‘41,” “a nostalgic, reflective and warmly personal recollection of one American’s life in Hawai‘i during the year preceding the Japanese air and submarine attack on Dec. 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor,” as is noted in the book’s cover summary.

Born in Malden, Massachusetts, Sheehan dropped out of high school during the Great Depression to become an actor in the WPA (Works Progress Administration), where he met fellow actor Orson Welles in the Mercury Theater Group.

Later, while working in his father’s sheet-metal shop, he spotted an advertisement for sheet-metal workers at Pearl Harbor, signed up, and arrived in Honolulu in November 1940.

The next four years were spent living in Waikiki and working at Pearl Harbor, first with sheet metal and later as a shipfitter.

In 1944, he quit the shipyard to embark upon a career at KGU, KGMB and other Honolulu radio stations, as a radio personality well known for his “Pau Hana Concert” radio show, which aired from 1951 to 1965.

Sheehan also acted in the “Magnum P. I.” and “Hawaii Five-O” television series, and in Hollywood movies, and wrote numerous travel articles and essays for Honolulu and mainland newspapers.

His popular “Sheehan’s World” column appeared in the Star-Bulletin and Advertiser for several years.

The book “The Hawaiians” was co-written by Sheehan and historian Gavin Daws.

Longtime Advertiser columnist Bob Krauss said he was “one of Hawai‘i’s poets. His voice on the radio was part of our music; the words he wrote were much like the flowers we smell.”

Ed Sheehan was married to publicist Sally Lieberman Sheehan, a World War II WAVE lieutenant commander.
Source: The Garden Island

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