GARRET SUSUMU HOKADA / 1922-2007
Accountant’s priorities were family and community
Garret Susumu Hokada, a former partner in KPMG LLP who was known for his warm spirit and devotion to community service, died Saturday at age 85.
A certified public accountant, Hokada served as chairman of the Kuakini Medical Center board and as president of the University of Hawaii Foundation. He was also a longtime director of the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce and a president of the state Board of Accountancy.
"He was a very people person," said Gordon Ciano, who was hired by Hokada in 1971 and is now audit partner at KPMG. "The basic thing about him -- of course, he was technically great -- was relationship building. He taught me what relationships meant in business.
"He retired over 20 years ago, but even today I go to partners' meetings on the mainland, and they all ask me how he's doing. They miss his hospitality, his warm spirit."
Hokada was partner-in-charge of the Honolulu office of KMG Main Hurdman, a forerunner of KPMG, until his retirement in 1985. He suffered a stroke a year ago and died at home in Manoa.
"The reason he did well is that he hired the best people, because he knew he couldn't be the best at doing everything himself," said his son, Fred. "There were a lot of people that helped him to become successful."
Born on a plantation in Waimea, Kauai, Hokada was one of 11 children and joined another big family when he married the former Grace Takahashi. He and his late wife were known for entertaining out-of-town business colleagues at home and opening their house for family gatherings, including annual mochi pounding and New Year's parties.
"During his working days, his public service was very important to him," said his daughter, Elizabeth Hokada. "In his later years, family was very important to him."
Hokada served with the Military Intelligence Service during World War II and in Hokkaido during the postwar occupation. While there he tracked down Grace's sister. He later helped her visit Hawaii.
Along with daughter Elizabeth and son Fred, Hokada is survived by son Gilbert; sisters Florence Katahara, Sueko Kimura, Setsuko Oyama and Miwako Yorita; and granddaughter Elizabeth "Ella" Ito.
Services will be at 6 p.m. Monday at Hosoi Garden Mortuary. Call after 5 p.m. The family requests aloha attire and no flowers.