Oscar Kuwahara, 78, talked tough but had a heart of gold
FAMILY and friends of former Star-Bulletin staffer Oscar Kuwahara
attended a service at Kaimuki Christian Church Saturday to bid him a fond aloha. Oscar died April 17, just short of his 79th birthday. Oscar talked and acted tough, but he had a heart of gold. I spoke at his service and recalled that in January 1956, I was an Army private assigned to Stars and Stripes in Darmstadt, Germany, a newspaper that was put out mostly by civilians and a small number of military personnel for U.S. troops. After I arrived, a small man looked me up and down and said in a harsh, gruff voice: "Eh, you from Hawaii, huh?" I looked at this guy, who stood a little over 5 feet and weighed maybe 112 -- if he was fully clothed and wearing boots -- and wondered, "Who is this man, talking so hard to me?" Anyway, I said I was from Hawaii, and Oscar, continuing in his rough tone, said: "Here are the keys to my car and how much money do you need?" I loved that rough voice.
After my Army service, I became a civilian employee at Stripes. One summer, Oscar and I went to the French Riviera. I had a Mercedes 190SL sports car and we hit Cannes, St. Tropez and other hot spots, well tanned and with the top down. We told people we were pineapple barons. Actually, the closest we ever got to pineapple royalty was working in the pine fields. When we eventually came back home, we opened the Sty restaurant in Niu Valley with some of my Roosevelt classmates. We soon sold it and worked together at the Star-Bulletin. There we called Oscar "The Big O."
Oscar married Janet Tamashiro
, the best thing he ever did. They have three sons: Ken, Scott
. Every mango season, Oscar would bring a bag of mangoes to friends. He kept doing that even after he retired ...
Judge King has good news about reaching 90
JUDGE Sam King
sent me an e-mail of thanks for writing about his 90th birthday party. He wrote that it "elicited beaucoup phone calls wishing me a happy life after 90." He added, "Actually, nowadays 90 is fairly common, as my surviving classmates have informed me." I replied that for a guy who will hit 75 in October, it's good news to learn that 90 is fairly common nowadays ... Kit Samson
and his Sound Advice,
with vocalists Candes Gentry, Joey Caldarone, Leslie Goldman
and Shawna Masuda,
will perform at Carnivale, the Hawaii Theatre gala at the Kahala May 5 ...
, who sold the Star-Bulletin in the streets of downtown Honolulu during World War II, writes of people, places and things every Wednesday and Saturday. E-mail him at email@example.com