Mom’s Obituary as published at mortuary site

Cynthia A. Timberlake of Aiea, HI passed away peacefully at home on November 27, 2021. She was born on September 1, 1926 in Denver, CO. to Julius and Lillian Alford. After her father’s passing, her mother packed up the family and moved to Phoenix, AZ by way of Wickenburg, AZ where her Aunt Hazel lived.

Always a bright student, Cynthia in her high school years was also part of the war effort in WWII in Phoenix at Williams AFB. She assisted in a civilian capacity doing paperwork for the pilots that were to go off to war. She attended Phoenix Junior College and then earned a B.A. degree in English from UC-Berkeley in 1947. In December of that year she married the love of her life, Navy Officer Lewis G. Timberlake. “Cy,” as Lewis called her, embraced married life. Their first duty station was Naval Ammunition Depot Hawthorne, NV. As a young married couple they started a family in 1950 while stationed at Naval Air Station Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, Ca. She loved hosting parties for the many people she and Lewis met throughout both their careers. She created lifelong friendships with people from across the globe, as they had many transfers to new and exciting locales while her husband was on active duty. Some of her best memories were of Puerto Rico and Charleston, SC.

In 1962 she earned a Masters in Library Science from UCLA while Lewis was stationed in Antarctica. She started her career in 1963 first as a Librarian at the American University in Washington, D.C. then at Fairfax County Library in Virginia and the University of Guam. In 1970, Lewis was transferred to Hawaii and Cy was hired at Bishop Museum as their rare books librarian and retired as Head Librarian in 1987.

She and Lewis loved traveling the world after her retirement, which they did until his passing in 1993. She created a business called “Book Specialties,” a rare book & art appraisal business specializing in Hawaiian and Pacific island culture and history.

She never lost her love of books, music, politics and the arts, and in typical Cy fashion she would read every inch of the newspaper daily to keep up with current events. In addition, her passion for civil rights never faded as she recalled attending “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” on August 28th 1963. She was always a proud and fierce defender of human rights and civil liberties.

In her later years she became less mobile and was lovingly cared for by Stephen for her daily needs. She was immensely loved by her family as she was the glue that held the family together.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Capt. Lewis G Timberlake CEC USN, and brother, James Alford. She is survived by her son Stephen Timberlake, daughter Phyllis Lynn (Eugene) Villafana, granddaughters Melissa (Bryan) Namba and Melanie Villafana and great-grandchildren Bradley and Brianna Namba.

Services will be held at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in early 2022. In lieu of flowers donations can be made in her name to the Hawaiian Humane Society.


  1. Cy was an amazing woman and my mentor and guide at Bishop Museum. I hope her survivors know that she was a mentor to many, many others. and She lives on in our hearts and minds. Blessings to all those whose lives she touched.

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