Laguna loses friend and local historian Francis Cabang Jr., former owner of the Royal Hawaiian 

Based on comments from friends and acquaintances throughout his many years in Laguna, Francis Cabang Jr. was loved by everyone he met. He was widely known as a “great guy” and a “class act,” and someone who was always ready with a smile. Sadly, Laguna lost a long time staple of the community on May 13. Francis Jr. was born on June 1, 1956 and graduated from Laguna Beach High School in 1974. 

His family has a long history in Laguna. Francis Cabang Jr.’s father, Francis Cabang Sr., was one of the first owners of Royal Hawaiian, which opened in 1947, and Francis Jr., along with other members of the Cabang family, ran the restaurant until 2006 when it changed ownership and underwent a major remodel.

Evidently, Francis Jr. was a wealth of information on Laguna and full of fun facts as many of his friends attest. He laughed a lot and he made others laugh as well. 

Laguna loses close up

Photo from Facebook

Francis Cabang Jr.

Bree Burgess Rosen of No Square Theatre says, “Francis’ little brother Rufino has been in many, many of our shows, and writes for both Lagunatics and LagunaTots as well. Rufino was in the first Lagunatics in 1992, and we have been close for the 27 years since. Louisa, the now grown daughter of Julie Cabang, was also in our children’s shows way back. 

“Of course I knew Junior, as well as the rest of the family. He was a great guy. Terrific. A sweet flirt. The family are all very close and spend a lot of time together, with Rufino driving down every week to have family dinners and take momma to visit Francis Sr.’s gravesite. Junior was a devoted brother and son. He was also a bit of a local historian and, best of all, he was quick with a smile, a hug, and a laugh. He will be missed by many, including me and certainly our No Square family. I know the family is heartbroken. It’s a terrible loss.”

Repeatedly in friends’ observations, Francis is remembered for his kindness, decency, and thoughtfulness. It’s apparent that he touched many lives, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.