A native of Rhode Island, Lamoureux received his bachelor's degree in botany from the University of Rhode Island. He came to Hawai'i and completed a master's degree at UHM and later earned his PhD in botany from the University of California at Davis in 1961. He joined the UH faculty in 1959.
Through his 41-year span at the University, Lamoureux held many administrative roles, from Chair of the Botany Department to associate dean for academic affairs in the UHM Colleges of Arts and Sciences. From 1992 until his death (2000), he served as Director of the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum, the University of Hawai'i at Manoa's botanical garden. Nestled in Manoa Valley, the arboretum is a research unit of the University and aims to develop new plants for Hawaiian gardens as well as rescue some of Hawai'i's rarest varieties from extinction. It also has an education program that offers noncredit classes to students ranging in age from 5 to 90.
As a researcher, he did field work in American Samoa, Bali, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. A world authority on plants, Lamoureux was consultant to such agencies as the Hawai'i State Department of Business and Economic Development, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He wrote more than 50 scientific papers on botanical subjects and was a member of several professional and scientific societies. "He was a fabulous botanist and just so knowledgeable of all kinds of plants - I'll miss his personality and tremendous in-depth knowledge in Hawaiian plants and systems," UHM Botany Department Chair Sterling Keeley said. "It's an especially great loss to us."
"He was like an encyclopedia to you, you could always go there to get the answers," she added.
Among the thousands of students Lamoureux taught through the years, several have become botanists. His more famous students, each of whom learned something about Hawaiian plants in his courses, include former Hawai'i Superintendent of Education Herman Aizawa, Lieutenant Governor Mazie Hirono and Hawaiian musician Sistah Robi Kahakalau.
"Through his work on various conservation and environmental committees, and through the thousands of students who learned their botany and natural history from him, his influence has been felt worldwide," said Lyon Arboretum colleague Ray Baker.
Professor Charles H. Lamoureux died in 2000. He was 67. Charles H. Lamoureux Fellowship in Plant Conservation was established in his honor.
Dr. Charles H. Lamoureux
Professor of Botany (1959-2000)
PhD Botany 1961, University of California at Davis