Our Islands, Our Future

Michael A. Lilly (Captain, U.S. Navy, ret.), lawyer and writer, is an honor graduate of the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law. He served as Hawaii’s Attorney General and First Deputy Attorney General (1981-85), and was a partner in the Honolulu law firm Ning Lilly & Jones until his retirement on Maui in 2019. A decorated Vietnam War Veteran, Lilly is also a founding director emeritus of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, which operates the Missouri as a memorial and tourist attraction. He retired from the Navy after 30 year of service, active and reserve. 

Not many people realize that Lilly is also a fifth-generation Hawaii resident and a direct descendant of Hawaiian Kingdom Nationals. Several of his ancestors were advisors and confidants to Kamehameha V, Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. In 2019 Lilly wrote his second book Nimitz at Ease, chronicling the unpublished story of a grand relationship between Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who commanded the armed forces in the Pacific during WWII, and his grandparents, Una and Sandy Walker, whose friendship helped relieve the Admiral of some of the tremendous pressures of war. Lilly brings this narrative to life in amazing detail.

Lilly noted, “Drawing on my grandmother’s diary, extensive collection of letters, photos, documents, oral history, memorabilia, and memoirs never before published, I was able to chronicle Nimitz’s daily activities in war and peace. I grew up mesmerized by the fascinating tales of the lifelong friendship between the Admiral and my grandparents, which became family legend.”

Currently, Lilly is an active member of the County of Maui Council on Aging. The council advises the County Executive Office on the needs of older persons in the community. “We meet every other month to discuss plans for helping the aging through programs, legislation, and other resources,” Lilly explained. “I am one of 15 members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the County Council. We are dedicated to promoting and protecting the well-being of older adults in Maui County. Together, we all work to assist our kupuna and caregivers to lead dignified and meaningful lives.”

Lilly’s Nimitz at Ease is an important contribution to the history of the U.S. Navy in WWII and Hawaii during the 1940s. William J. Cassidy, Jr., Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy