Painting livens up chapel in memory of Kaua‘i doctor

A Waimea artist recently helped volunteers at Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital remember a well-loved doctor and liven up the chapel in a single act of generosity.

Known only as Marionette, of Painting Paradise Studio, the artist donated a painting called “Salt Pond Sunset” that was dedicated at a small ceremony last month at the hospital. The piece captures a favorite spot of Dr. Yonemichi Miyashiro and his wife, Mildred, who enjoyed bento and sunsets at the Westside park.

Dr. Miyashiro, who moved to Hanapepe from the Mainland in 1963, died in 1999 at age 73. The Hawai‘i Medical Library Web site says he “committed his entire professional life and much of his life in general to the community.”

“He was a long-time doctor and mentor to others here,” KVMH auxiliary secretary Sarah Date said. “He kept working until he no longer could. It was his life.”

The artwork, which was framed with money donated by the KVMH staff and auxiliary, hangs in the doorway to the chapel, she said.

“I was born and raised here on Kaua‘i and can remember picnicking and playing at Salt Pond Beach at many family gatherings,” said Doris Nekomoto, KVMH Auxiliary president. “Watching the sun dip below the horizon and listening to the waves breaking on the shore was always such a peaceful, relaxing time. I think Marionette captured this essence in her art. I am sure many who visit the chapel will experience a sense of serenity and solace while viewing the painting.”

KVMH, a 40-year-old hospital built to honor Korean War veterans, has unofficially adopted a new name. It will soon be known as West Kauai Medical Center, Date said.

The chapel there is a “small room” that seemed “a little not too cheerful,” she said.

Community members had said for years that the chapel needed to have a better look — something more comforting, Date said.

With the painting proudly installed, she said it now feels “more optimistic.”

Marionette, who has been an artist on Kaua‘i for four years, said it took her 2 1/2 months to complete the painting.

“It was a real honor to do the painting and to meet Mrs. Miyashiro,” she said.


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