Mom of women's volleyball coach energetically backed UH teams


POSTED: Thursday, July 23, 2009

It would have been easy for the diminutive Chiz Shoji to have become lost in the crowd.

Indeed, many saw her as “;just another face”; in the Stan Sheriff Center and at Aloha Stadium, where she religiously attended University of Hawaii athletic events. But those who knew where to look easily spotted her, enthusiastically waving ti leaves or pompoms, yelling “;Let's Go 'Bows,”; wearing green and a sweet smile.

“;Sweet is exactly the word to describe her,”; Rainbow Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji said. “;She was just a sweet, sweet lady, a wonderful mom and friend.”;

Chizuko “;Chiz”; Fujiwara Shoji died Monday at home. She was 87.

“;She never missed a (volleyball) game while she was healthy,”; said Dave Shoji, her eldest son. “;She went to football and basketball, too, and rarely missed a game. And golf? She was never that good at it but she loved being out there. It didn't matter what score she had.”;

Chiz Shoji was born in California and met her future husband, Kobe, when their families were interned at the Poston, Ariz., relocation camp for Americans of Japanese ancestry. The two were married in the camp in 1943, with Kobe soon leaving to fight in World War II as a member of the famed “;Go For Broke”; 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Kobe Shoji, who was awarded two Purple Hearts and went on to become a respected international agriculturist, died in 2004.

The Shojis, who moved to Hawaii in 1950, had a love of travel. It was fueled by Kobe's job with Alexander & Baldwin, where the former UH professor helped Iran and Puerto Rico develop sugar-cane industries.

The two frequently traveled to the mainland during their 60-year marriage to attend Rainbow Wahine matches and also support the various teams coached by Tom, their second son. Tom is currently the women's volleyball coach at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., while youngest son Kelvin is the director of development for UH's 'Ahahui Koa Anuenue, the athletic department's fundraising organization.

Chiz Shoji was an avid golfer, with a regular group at Oahu Country Club.

Services are private. She will be buried next to her husband at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

She is also survived by daughters-in-law Mary, Chris and Lynn, and grandchildren Cobey, Kawika, Erik, Malia, Casey and Kelly Shoji.