Friday, May 11, 2001


Motivated tennis
teacher dies at 85


By Gary T. Kubota

LAHAINA >> A number of his students won state tennis titles and became tennis coaches.

Shigeto "Shigesh" Wakida, who worked as a welder and then a supervisor at Pioneer Mill, taught tennis for 40 years, mainly as a volunteer instructor at the tennis courts in Lahaina.

He died on May 6 at Maui Memorial Medical Center. He was 85.

Wakida did not start coaching tennis until he was 30. But his efforts led to the founding of the Lahaina Junior Tennis Club, and he eventually became the tennis coach for Lahainaluna High School.

Many West Maui residents remember his dedication to the game, teaching tennis to youths at the courts in Lahaina almost like clockwork in the afternoons Monday through Friday and in the mornings on Saturdays.

Anyone who wanted to learn the game was invited to participate in the program.

Parents remember Wakida stringing rackets for youths and providing them with equipment.

He lobbied the county to improve the condition of the tennis courts in Lahaina.

More than 10 years ago, the county named the courts the Shigeto Shigesh Wakida Tennis Courts to honor him.

"He was very motivated. I don't know anyone who loved the game more than he did," said Ryan Ideta, the women's tennis coach at the University of Hawaii-Hilo.

Ideta, who won two state high school singles titles in the early 1990s, said he started learning tennis at age 9 from Wakida, and the lessons helped him earn a sports scholarship to Louisiana State University.

Ideta said he tries in his coaching to exemplify the same dedication as Wakida.

Visitation will start at 4 p.m. Friday at Lahaina Methodist Church, with memorial services at 5 p.m.

A dinner reception will follow at the church. The family requests casual attire.

He is survived by wife Sumie, son Clyde, daughters Terry Young and Avis Kim, brother Noboru, sisters Yukimi Apo and Matsue Nishimoto, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

E-mail to City Desk

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