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Yaeno Okada a role model for her kindness

By Staff | Jan 14, 2016

They are, indeed, America’s greatest generation; and those that lived the 20th Century on Maui were enriched with a warmth of spirit – a true beauty of humanity to pass on to future generations.

Yaeno Okada was born on July 15, 1919 in Lahaina; and, aside from visits to the Big Island to visit family or Las Vegas for senior fun times, she spent her entire life as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother here on the West Side of Maui.

At 96, she passed quietly and peacefully away on Dec. 2, 2015 under the care of Hospice Maui and loving caregivers.

Mrs. Okada is predeceased by her husband, Yoshito “Toto” Okada, and daughter, Jane Otsu. She is survived by her children, Roy Okada, Suzanne (Glenn) Hara, Penny (Edwin) Okubo, and son-in-law Walter Otsu; grandchildren Keith Otsu, Kathy (Scott) Hirano, Jodi (Daryl) Suehiro, Deborah Okada, Kristi (Mike) Komeya, Mathew (Joan) Okubo, Kelly (Craig) Tadaki and Suzanne Okubo; and nine great-grandchildren.

They were all there to say their final aloha to Mrs. Okada in this life at a service held at Honolua Methodist Church in Napili on Dec. 19. And it was clearly evident at this celebration of her life that the kindness, respect for humanity, and Christian family values manifested in her life will be paid forward by her children and extended ‘ohana.

My family and I were blessed to grow with the influence of Mrs. Okada, as we were fortunate enough to obtain a home next door to her in the Kuhua Camp neighborhood behind the old Pioneer Millyard.

She and her husband welcomed us with a sincerity that only increased throughout the years. “Omiage” (welcome gifts) for our kids came year after year.

But, most of all, the Okadas always treated us with a kindness that will influence us, and our children, for the rest of our lives. The warmth of Lahaina shone brightly in our relationship with the Okadas.

This kindness and respect for our family was further manifested in the sale of their home two years ago. We learned that during the family discussions regarding the sale, someone said, “We should sell the house to the Chiharas.” And so it came to be that the Okadas sold their home to our son – for a price below market value – so that our family can live the happiness of Maui life in close proximity.

In so many ways, Mrs. Okada and her entire family represent the harmony of life that God seeks to tune us into; it is a melody that speaks the joy of His love. We send our heartfelt gratitude to you for the example set for all of us to follow. May the Lord’s peace be with you always.