For 17 years, Ronald Moon served as Hawaii’s Chief Justice, and for his more than 30 years of work serving the state and its people, the Kapolei judiciary complex has been named “Ronald T. Y. Moon Judiciary Complex” and its courthouse, “Ronald T.Y.
Moon Courthouse.” In fact, Moon has the distinction of being the first Korean-American to be chief justice of any Supreme Court in the United States.
Moon, who was featured on MidWeek‘s cover Dec. 30, 1998, said hello to retirement three years ago and decided he would take six months off and do virtually nothing.
“I told myself I would study the lay of the land and determine what I would like to do,” he explains.
However, six months after retirement, Moon fell off a ladder going up to his roof and broke his back.
“I had what they call a compression fracture,” he says. “The vertebrae were crushed together. I was not able to walk for a long time, and I didn’t know if I was going to walk again.”
But thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and the staff at The Queen’s Medical Center and REHAB hospital, as well as his daughter Julie Moon-Franklin (owner of Moon’s Physical Therapy) and sons Scott Moon (director of radiation oncology operations at Queen’s) and Ron Moon Jr. (a physician in Alabama), he is up and running.
Now that he’s back on his feet, Moon has been involved in many board activities. He sits on the board for his alma mater Mid-Pacific Institute, as well as Saint Louis High School, Wahiawa United Church of Christ (on the Board of Deacons) and Kick Start Karate with Lee Donohue (as the vice president of the board).
Most recently, he agreed to sit on the board of Ohana Pacific Bank, which opened a new branch last month in Kalihi.
“It gives me the opportunity to … serve the public,” Moon says. “I believe that being with a bank, especially a small bank like this, that initially started focusing on the Korean population and is looking to spread its wings to other ethnic groups … helps to serve the public to help them with their finances.
“I’m very happy to be here.”
There’s no doubt that Moon is enjoying retirement, and he seems to be just as busy as ever.
He is eager to add that his wife Stella has been instrumental in assisting him with his career.
“She has been my sounding board throughout the years – my best critic, motivator, guide and counsel,” he adds. “And when I was incapacitated after breaking my back three years ago, she trained and acquired skills to be the ultimate caregiver – truly an unbelievable wife and best friend.”