Pioneer in chocolate-covered macadamias dies
Sarah Aiko Uno Takitani / 1913-2006
A woman who helped to develop chocolate-covered macadamia nuts for Hawaii's candy industry has died.
Sarah Aiko Uno Takitani, who founded Hawaiian Host Inc. with her late husband, Mamoru Takitani, died June 28 on Oahu. She was 92.
Born in Honolulu, she was a Japanese-language school teacher for a time and later worked on Maui with Mamoru at the family's business, Star Ice and Soda Works.
In the 1950s after finishing their job for the day at the soda works, she and Mamoru would head to the attic to experiment with their special blends of different kinds of chocolate mixed with macadamia nuts.
They founded Hawaiian Host in Honolulu on Jan. 1, 1960. In the early days of the company, she would drive her station wagon to stores to make deliveries.
"Chocolate covered macadamia nuts are quite common today, but it was Mr. and Mrs. Takitani who developed the entire product category," said Dennis Teranishi, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Host. "The Takitanis were true pioneers in the candy manufacturing industry."
The Takitanis later established the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation to award scholarships to outstanding students, contributing more than $1.1 million.
"My aunt was an amazing person and her legacy will live on through the opportunities she provides for Hawaii high school students through the Takitani Scholarship," said Karen Uno, Takitani Foundation director.
Takitani is survived by nieces and nephews. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Honpa Hongwanji Betsuin, 1727 Pali Highway, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-1612 or to the Takitani Foundation, P.O. Box 10687, Honolulu 96816-0687.