Right-hand man carried out Ariyoshi's reforms
Susumu Ono / 1930-2007
Susumu Ono, 76, who implemented many of former Gov. George Ariyoshi's ideas for self-sufficiency and land planning, died May 4 at Nuuanu Hale.
Ono served as Ariyoshi's first chief of staff after Ariyoshi was elected governor in 1974.
Ariyoshi said he had watched Ono when he was an analyst with the state Department of Budget and Finance, on loan to the state House and Senate budget committees.
"I know of no other person who was more familiar or knew state government better,"
In 1979, Ariyoshi, embarking on a series of controversial proposals to limit growth and even population, tasked Ono with the job of working out the details as chairman of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.
Ariyoshi recalls that Ono chaired a public hearing on geothermal projects on the Big Island.
"He said it went until 4 in the morning, and I asked him why he stayed so long.
"He said, 'I didn't want anybody to feel they hadn't had an opportunity to speak.'
"That was the kind of person Sus was. He was very thorough, but he was also very sensitive and fair," Ariyoshi said.
Ariyoshi, who served as governor from 1973 to 1986, initially as acting governor, said Ono was always the one he counted on.
"I can't overemphasize how much I trusted him. He was a man of great integrity and sensitivity," Ariyoshi said.
Ono retired in 1986 as Land Board chairman after 26 years with the state government.
He was a budget officer and analyst in the state Department of Finance for most of his government service.
After retirement from the state, Ono worked as a consultant for Gov. John Waihee and the developers of Aloha Tower Marketplace, according to information from the family.
Ono was born in Kahuku. He graduated from the University of Hawaii with a bachelor's degree in business administration. After service in the Army, he used the GI Bill to attend the University of Illinois, where he earned a master's degree in industrial relations.
He is survived by wife Tsutayo "Sue," son Scott, daughter Debra Schriber, brother Katsuto and sisters Edito, Margaret Matsuoka, Machie Kubota and Patsy Akagi.
A funeral service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Hosoi Garden Mortuary. The family requests casual attire and no flowers. Burial in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl, will be private.
Star-Bulletin reporter Mary Adamski contributed to this report.