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Remembering Mickey Thielen

Friday, April 15, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Paul Michael “Mickey” Thielen

July 30, 1931 – April 12, 2016

On Tuesday night, the construction industry of Hawaii lost one of its great builders when Mickey Thielen passed away. While Mickey was always serious about his work, he also maintained a great sense of humor naming his business, Mouse Builders.

Mickey was a well-known contractor who made a significant mark on Honolulu, particularly in the Downtown - Chinatown area. His restoration of the Stagenwald building led to a national Renaissance Award. Other renovation projects in the area included the Mendonca Block, Lum Yip Kee 1 and 2, Tan Sing, Arcade, River Street, and the Honolulu Star Bulletin buildings. Mickey also built, and then managed, the Maunakea Marketplace.

While he was best known for his work in the Chinatown area, he worked on many other noteworthy projects, including two large-scale restorations of Old Koloa Town on Kauai, Kahuku Sugar Mill, the Rose and Crown Pub at King’s Alley, the Chart House in Honolulu and sister restaurant, The Following Sea, on Pier 39 in San Francisco, Village Maluhia, Ala Wai Terrace, the Kaheka Professional Center, and Chun Hoon Market.

Mickey was an entrepreneur with a wonderful sense of humor. When Territorial Savings Bank Bishop Street branch closed, he rented the space and opened a restaurant called “The Bank,” where you ordered food at the old teller stations. He was sued by the Bishop Street banks, which claimed it was illegal to use the word “bank” for any other business. Mickey went on morning radio with J “Aku Head Pupule” to fight the case and, with popular support, won a change in the law to keep the name. He celebrated the victory with a set of ads for the restaurant saying “Tell your boss you went to the Bank for lunch.”

Mickey will be remembered as a caring and successful businessman, a mentor to people from all walks of life, and a wonderful and beloved family man and friend with a strong mischievous streak.

Mickey is survived by his wife of 63 years, Cynthia Thielen, and four children (two of whom are also contractors), Dave, Peter, Greg, and Laura Thielen; 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held on Sunday May 22. Time and location will be announced at

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Mickey Thielen to the YMCA-Windward Branch Endowment Fund. Please make your check out to the "Windward YMCA" and note that your donation is in memory of Mickey Thielen. Please mail checks to: YMCA of Honolulu, Development Department, 1441 Pali Highway, Honolulu HI 96813.

You may also make donations at Please note in the comments section that your gift is in memory of Mickey Thielen.

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