Duke Bainum

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Mark Edmund "Duke" Bainum
Member of the Hawaii House of Representatives
from the 30th district
In office
Preceded byJoan Hayes
Succeeded byRomy M. Cachola
Member of the Honolulu City Council
In office
1995-2003, 2008-2009
Personal details
BornJuly 21, 1952
Takoma Park, Maryland
DiedJune 9, 2009(2009-06-09) (aged 56)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Resting placeDiamond Head Memorial Park
NationalityUnited States
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jennifer Ann Harumi Toma (née)
ChildrenZ Bainum
Kona Bainum
Johnny Lesseos (step)
Jennifer Lesseos (step)
Alma materUniversity of Maryland
John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii
OccupationGeneral practitioner

Mark Edmund "Duke" Bainum (July 21, 1952 – June 9, 2009) was an American politician and physician. Bainum served in the Hawaii State House of Representatives as a member of the Hawaii Democratic Party and was elected in a nonpartisan race to the Honolulu City Council and held various committee chairmanships during his tenure. In 2004, Bainum ran for Mayor of Honolulu in the state of Hawaii, but lost to former White House Aide Mufi Hannemann. Bainum was married to Jennifer Toma Bainum.

Education and medical career[edit]

According to a 2012 interview with Katie Sullivan, Bainum was born in Takoma Park, Maryland to Irvin C. Bainum, a banker, and Evea J. Bainum, and raised "dirt poor" with his older brother Timothy. His paternal uncle, Stewart W. Bainum, Sr., was the founder of Choice Hotels, a hotel chain, and HCR Manor Care, a retirement facility chain.[1]

In 1980, he graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to attend the University of Hawaii Surgical Residency Program at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.[2] While there, Bainum's colleagues nicknamed him "Duke" because his Arkansas accent made him sound like John Wayne. He reportedly liked it so much that he officially made part of it his legal name in 1987.[3] Bainum completed his internship two years later. [2] After becoming a physician, Bainum treated patients in Nepal for three months, helped Kauai residents after Hurricane Iniki, and from 1987 to 2004 was an on-call doctor at the Sex Abuse Treatment Center in Honolulu.[4]


Bainum entered politics when he served on the Ala Moana/Kaka'ako Neighborhood Board between 1987 and 1989. He then chaired the McCully-Mo'ili'ili Neighborhood Board from 1989 to 1990. From 1990–94, he served in the State House and was then elected to the City Council from 1995-2003. In 2004, Bainum decided to run for Honolulu mayor against Mufi Hannemann, spending nearly twice as much as Hannemann. Considered the early front-runner, he lost by a narrow margin (1,300 votes). In January 2008, Bainum again returned to the political ring and won Honolulu City Council seat District 5, running unopposed, although not without controversy, as some questioned whether he was a legal resident of Hawaii at the time.[2]


Bainum attended New Hope Christian Fellowship and was an Evangelical Christian.


Around 9:30 pm on June 9, 2009, Bainum reportedly experienced chest pains while on the road. He pulled over and called 911. Paramedics took him to the Queen's Medical Center, where he later died. The medical examiner reported the cause of death as an aortic aneurysm. A senior adviser to Bainum said that there were no other warning signs other than chest pain, that Bainum "was feeling well at work" and "having fun chasing the kids around in the evening".[5] Bainum's unexpected death was the second to hit the City Council in six months (Barbara Marshall died in February).[6]



  1. ^ Wright, Jared (February 14, 2014). "Stewart Bainum, Sr., Adventist Businessman and Philanthropist Dies". Spectrum. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Nakaso, Dan. ""Friends, rivals mourn loss of Duke Bainum Archived June 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine", Honolulu Advertiser, June 11, 2009.
  3. ^ Reyes, B.J. "Tributes, accolades pour in for veteran politician", Honolulu Star-Bulletin, June 11, 2009.
  4. ^ Loe, Stacy. "Friends and Colleagues Remember Duke Bainum"[permanent dead link]", KGMB-TV, June 10, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-06-11.
  5. ^ Urbaszewski, Katie. "Aneurysms can strike almost anyone, at any time" Archived 2009-06-15 at the Wayback Machine, Honolulu Advertiser, June 11, 2009.
  6. ^ Roig, Suzanne. "Special election set for Aug. 7" Archived June 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Honolulu Advertiser, June 11, 2009.