Obituaries for Sunday, June 21, 2020

Masao ‘Murphy’ Yamamoto

Growing up, my Dad was always the teacher, while my Mom was more the disciplinarian. If my Dad ever yelled, boy that meant were we in deep trouble! Dad taught me things like working hard, never quitting, having integrity, being committed, understanding business and money, fishing, and even gambling.

As young as I could walk, I remember my Dad’s parents, who came on a boat from Japan, running their gas station and family store to live the American dream. I remember watching my Dad collect food scraps from neighborhood homes to feed their pigs. Chasing those piglets was so fun as they squealed running around. By the time I was 12, I was already delivering the local newspaper rain or shine on a bike, then being a cashier (before the days where it told you how much change to give back), stocking shelves, pumping gas (before there was self-service), all by the time I graduated high school. As I left for college, I continued to pump gas while getting my degree, and even after I graduated college. Work hard and appreciate the value of money, my Dad would say.

As my Dad got older and his eye disease progressed, my sister and I became my Mom’s backup drivers when we turned 15. He never once complained that one day he would be completely blind and totally reliant on my Mom. He was a banker, an accountant, even a water-meter reader, and did I mention he loved his gambling? I remember his poker games held in my sister’s bedroom when we were really young. I remember driving him around in the canefields looking for the chicken fights. I remember organized chicken fights and the cops would raid the place. If you were holding the chicken or holding the dice on the dice table, you got arrested. Even when he had to use a magnifying glass to read the newspaper, he would study his baseball and football stats for his bets. Besides his eye disease, I saw my Dad go through a heart triple bypass, a cornea transplant and other health issues, and still he never quit.

When I graduated from Engineering school, I remember applying for two companies. The one I really wanted was for the electric company on my home island of Kaua‘i. The other was to support our war fighters with the military. As I waited anxiously for a call back, it was the military company that called. I accepted, then a couple days later, my hometown called, and while I could have taken back my acceptance from the first company, I heard my Dad’s voice speaking of integrity and commitment. I gave my word, and that became a commitment lasting over 32 years with the Navy and Joint Services. I could tell you what I did, but then I’d have to kill you.

I became an entrepreneur because it seemed to run in the family blood. While an Engineer, part-time, I would sell cell phones and became one of the largest company’s #1 seller. I even sold long-distance service when you had to actually pay per minute. I became a landlord in Hawai‘i trying to rehab and manage up to seven properties (that was rough!). We even had a chapter in a Robert Kiyosaki book because of it. I became a promoter of health, wellness, and opportunity with an amazing company that we’ll never leave because, like my Dad, the owners also teach hard work, integrity and commitment.

The running joke was that my family saw each other more in Las Vegas than in Hawai‘i. Like I said, my Dad loved to gamble! He was even interviewed and videoed for an article in the LA Times at one of the Golden Arm events at The Cal. As a blind person, he could still navigate all parts of the dice table, where his bets were, how much he had riding on his bets, where to throw the dice, etc. It was quite something to watch, and no one could believe he was blind. Part of the reason of moving to Utah to finish my career was that we would build a home in Vegas where the family could meet up. What an ambitious plan. But sometimes plans don’t play out how you had hoped. While starting work in Utah, my Dad fell and broke his hip in a restaurant on Kaua‘i. He tried to rehab on Kaua‘i, then my cousins helped him to rehab by bringing him to O‘ahu. But 24/7 care is hard on anyone, and you must know when to bring in the professionals. For one whole year, professionals took good care of him at a care home on Kaua‘i. So here I am, retired in Vegas, now looking forward to seeing my Dad more on Kaua‘i since he could no longer travel. Then came the coronavirus shutdown, and we couldn’t even go home only to be quarantined for 14 days. So, we’d make use of Facetime, but unfortunately time was running out.

Dad, as you took your last breath on Boy’s Day, May 5, 2020, I hope you can finally see again with full vision. I hope you can see how your daughter’s girls have grown up to be beautiful women. I hope you can see that I became the man I am because of your teachings. We’ll miss all your stories that you loved to share, and we’ll miss rolling the dice next to you on the dice table, but mostly we’ll miss you. We love you Dad … Rest in Peace.

Eli Pablo

Eli Pablo passed away on June 10, 2020, in Kaumakani, at the age of 70. He was born on Nov. 9, 1949, in Waimea. He was a U.S. Navy veteran and owner of ESP Family, LLC.

He was preceded in death by parents Jose and Naeko Pablo and son Kalen Pablo.

He is survived by wife Sylvia Valdez Pablo, son Chad Pablo of Seattle, daughter Daphne Pablo (Leighton) Otoman of ‘Ele‘ele, grandchildren Kailen, Deiton and Deilen, brothers Ted (Janice) Pablo of Waipahu, Arnold (Virginia) Pablo of Wailua and Royden (Carmela) Pablo of Lihu‘e, sisters Valerie (Dayne) Shigematsu of Simi Valley, California, Celia (Art) P. Etes of Hanover Park, Illinois, Julene (Jonathan) Kaneakua of Kaumakani and Christine (Conrad) Ramos of Lihu‘e, and numerous uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins.

A talk-story session is Saturday, June 27, from 9 to 10 a.m. at Garden Island Mortuary, with a celebration of life at 10 a.m.

Garden Island Mortuary is assisting the family with arrangements.

James (Jim) Licke

James (Jim) Licke passed away on May 26, 2020, in New Brighton, Minnesota. He was born on July 5, 1943, in Washougal, Washington to George and Lois Sanford Licke.

He received his primary and secondary education in Minnesota, graduating with honors and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1968. He established a law firm in Lihu‘e in 1978, where he engaged in the general practice of law until 2017, when he retired and moved to New Brighton, Minnesota.

He was preceded in death by parents George and Lois Licke and brother George, all of Deer River, Minnesota.

He is survived by sons Michael and David (Michelle) Licke of Lihu‘e, brother John (Marty) Licke, sister Linda (Rusty) Uscola, and grandchildren, Joshua, Caleb (Kaela) and Michaela Licke, all of Kalaheo.

A memorial service in Minnesota will be held at a later date.

Alfred Henry Kalani Ehiku‘Onalani ‘Yoshi’ Harada

Alfred Henry Kalani Ehiku‘Onalani “Yoshi” Harada, 77, of Wainiha, passed away at home on June 15, 2020. He was born in Lihu‘e on May 31, 1943, and retired from Princeville Golf Course as the superintendent and also a taro farmer.

He was preceded in death by wife Elizabeth “Nani” Harada and son Alfred Henry Harada.

He is survived by granddaughters Shana-Lee Boro-Harada and Sierra-Lynn (Pohaku) Stone, great-grandson Kalani Orozco-Harada, hanai daughter Duchess Boro, sister Lily “Mieko” (Afuk) Tai-Hook, brother Ray “Bull” Harada, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.

Kaua‘i Memorial Gardens &Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

  1. Dt June 23, 2020 8:26 pm Reply

    Murphy’s story was touching. Thanks for sharing.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.