Matriarch guided Maui general store


POSTED: Thursday, August 20, 2009

She came to Hana as a picture bride and married into a family that owned the Hasegawa General Store, where she became the head of floor sales.

Shizuko Hasegawa, mother to four sons and the matriarch of a family enterprise that will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year, died on June 18 at Hale Makua nursing home.

She was 95.

A private celebration of her life was held Saturday in Kahului.

Hasegawa was born in Moiliili but her family returned to Japan after her father, who worked as an independent farmer, became ill.

As a picture bride she married Toshimasa Hasegawa, the son of Shoichi Hasegawa, who founded the family store with his brother Saburo.

; “;She was a task master, a disciplinarian to us,”; recalled her son Harry, 75, once the store's general manager. “;At the same time, she had to be a mother.”;

Harry, who ran the store after earning a college degree, said his mother instilled in her children the importance of hard work and education.

Harry said his family was eventually able to buy some land for the store, ensuring longevity as a business in Hana.

The store, which sells food and clothing as well as hardware items in the remote rural town, has outlasted the sugar plantation that closed in 1946 and a succession of major ranch and hotel landowners in Hana.

She is survived by sons Harry, Lester and Nolan; brothers Jiro and Makato Hirose; and sister Mitsuko Tamura.