Maui rancher Eby dies

Lifelong cattleman remembered as trustworthy and fair

Maui cattlemen last week remembered local rancher William “Bill” Eby as a quiet, gentle man who loved animals and mentored a younger generation of paniolo.

Eby, 89, died Oct. 18 at his home in Haiku under hospice care. Services were held Friday.

A lifelong cattleman, Eby ran Honolua Ranch for 31 years and Nahiku Ranch for a decade before leasing Erehwon Ranch in Kula, which he operated in his later years. He was also known as the founder of Pacific Airlift, a business that introduced air transport for horses, cattle and other livestock to and from Hawaii. He was honored by the Paniolo Hall of Fame in 2001.

“If everybody could be as humble and be a quarter of the gentleman that that man is, the world would be all right,” said Jimmy Gomes, operations manager of Ulupalakua Ranch. “He had one of the biggest hearts.”

In addition to raising his own cattle, Eby often bought livestock from other ranchers, and had a reputation as a trustworthy and fair businessman.

“You never had to put it in writing,” Gomes said. “He’d look at you and say, ‘I’ll take these cows, and this is what I’ll pay.’ His word was gold.”