Monday, June 27, 2022 |
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LIHUE — Queenie Pezario remembers picking up all the nails and screws at the site of the G.N. Wilcox Memorial Hospital when she was a child many years ago.
“I was at the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School and every day after school I would have to pick up the nails and screws,” Pezario said. “I got paid 10 cents for each one, and I guess it was cheaper to pay me than to fix the tires if they ran over one. Plus, they didn’t have those big magnetic pickers. I did it all by hand.”
Pezario’s dad, Bob Taira, was among the construction workers making the transition from what he described as the old buildings to the new hospital.
Wednesday, Taira celebrated his 95th birthday at a small reception at the Lihue Gardens, where he lives.
Born in Honolulu, Taira worked for Mark Construction and came to Kauai because of the jobs Mark Construction was involved in.
Taira could be considered one of the builders of Kauai as we know it. Wilcox Memorial Hospital was one of the bigger jobs he worked on when he arrived, but Taira was involved in building the Kauai High School pool as well as the Lihue Airport runway expansion.
When business “faded” for Mark Construction, Taira formed his own company with some of his workers. He was here to stay.
“There was Henry Efhan, the machinist, and Harvey Ramson who helped form Garden Island Construction in 1972,” Pezario said. “A lot of the people are no longer here.”
With a federal job in Saipan beckoning, Taira sold his construction company, Louie Rego purchasing a lot of his equipment, Pezario said.
“He spent 15 years in Saipan building runways for the federal government,” Pezario said. “I would call him on his birthday, but I was always one day late.”
Following his return from Saipan, Taira was hired by Goodfellow Brothers and was the foreman in building the original helipads at the Lihue Airport.
“I wish everyone could live as long as I have,” the soft-spoken Taira said.
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