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Community loses Tom Rosenquist

By Staff | Oct 1, 2009


Tom Rosenquist was a man who lived on Maui for a relatively short period of time, but his philanthropic contributions to the future welfare of the people here — particularly in the area of the education of children — will long be admired and appreciated.

Rosenquist, 58, passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 17, leaving behind sons Trent and Hunter, parents Robert and Helen Rosenquist, sister Diane Long and his companion, Leigh Anne Leggatt.

A nationally renowned financial entrepreneur from Illinois, Rosenquist quickly established himself on Maui as a generous supporter of the community with the unique ability to extend a helping hand to those in need. He was a mentor to local business owners and paid forward his success in several business projects in the Midwest to coordinate efforts in Hawaii that would benefit all.

Here on the West Side, he will perhaps be most revered as a founder, former board president and continuing advisor and financier of Maui Preparatory Academy in Napili. His vision was to create an independent college preparatory Pre-K-12 school to serve the educational needs of all the children of West Maui. His business expertise formed support groups through the MPA Founders LLC and the Maui Prep Angels funds, providing the financial base for the current $6 million campus and stabilizing the future of the school.

Rosenquist’s personal contributions to Maui Prep amounted to $1 million.

"In 2005, Tom acted as the general contractor overseeing the builders and vendors constructing our entire campus," said current Maui Prep Headmaster Dr. George C. Baker. "His dedication and passion made Maui Prep a reality. His expertise, charisma, vision and leadership inspired the larger community to support Maui Prep."

"Tom was an incredible father for his two sons, and informally supported and encouraged so many of their classmates," Dr. Baker continued.

"He seemed to give a helping hand to everyone, from funding wind farms to donating air miles for school trips, paying for students’ books or shoes, mentoring local businessmen and helping struggling businesses. Over the years, Tom worked hard to convince entrepreneurs nationwide to invest and start businesses in Maui. West Maui has lost a tremendous friend, mentor, promoter and supporter during an economic downturn, when we certainly need his vision and guidance. Our entire Maui Prep ‘ohana will be eternally grateful for the incredible gift of his leadership as our founder. He passed each of us a torch, and our challenge will be to continue the work of building Maui Prep to be all it can be using the guiding principal of, ‘What would Tom do?’ "

A celebration of Tom Rosenquist’s life was held on Sept. 24 at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Memorials may be sent to Maui Preparatory Academy, PMB 186, 5095 Napilihau St., #109B, Lahaina, HI 96761, or visit www.mauiprep.org.