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Lahaina resident Josefina Sadama celebrates 100th birthday

By Staff | Sep 10, 2015


LAHAINA – Smoking tobacco from her native Philippines and playing the slot machines in Las Vegas are among the things in life that keep Josefina “Ama” Mingming Sadama going. It’s working, because the Lahaina resident turned 100 years old on Aug. 31.

A celebration was held at her home on Aug. 30. Granddaughter Judy Abalos said the family is planning a big celebration at the Hawaii Okinawa Center in Waipio on Oct. 11 with 150-200 family and friends.

“Sometime after the party,” Abalos added, “we are hoping to take her to her favorite place in the world, Las Vegas!”

When asked how she lived to the age of 100, Sadama said in Ilocano, “Thanks to the Lord; he has given me the strength to live this long.”

She spends her days cooking, sewing, crocheting, gardening, babysitting her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and flying to and from the Philippines to deliver Balikbayan boxes.

Her routine usually includes three or more trips a day to the garage to have a smoke.

On a recent hospital visit, she was interviewed by a respiratory therapist, who asked, “Do you plan to quit smoking?”

Sadama paused, looked the therapist in the eye and said, “If I quit smoking, I will die. This is my life!”

She was born on Aug. 31, 1915 in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan, Philippines. She married Aurelio Neri Sadama and raised five children: Benny, Mabel, Linda, Tony and Rose.

In the Philippines, her main occupation was harvesting rice and sewing clothes for the children.

In 1946, her husband and Benny came back to Hawaii, leaving Josefina to raise four children. In 1961, Aurelio was able to bring Linda and Tony to Hawaii.

After WWII in 1963, Josefina and her youngest daughter, Rose, joined her husband and three children in Hawaii. Shortly after, the eldest daughter, Mabel, and her husband joined the family in Hawaii in 1966, bringing the family back together again.

Josefina started working at the Del Monte Cannery in Honolulu, where she retired at the age of 62. She then began her new career babysitting her grandchildren.

After her husband died in 1985, she moved to Maui, where she has resided for the last 30 years. Within those years, she planted vegetables, cooked and took trips back and forth to the Philippines delivering Balikbayan boxes for her family and friends.

She has 18 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Even though she has the wisdom of a 100-year life, Josefina said others won’t necessarily listen to her.

“No matter what kind of advice I give, they are still going to do what they want,” she concluded.