HIROSHI OSHIRO / 1921-2003

Lanai mechanic
believed in children

Hiroshi "Molokai" Oshiro, who owned one of the only two service stations on Lanai for many years, died Wednesday. He was 82.

Hiroshi "Molokai" Oshiro

In 1952, Oshiro left his diesel mechanic position on the isle's pineapple plantation to open Oshiro Service Station.

Born on the Big Island's Hamakua Coast in or around Laupahoehoe on March 1, 1921, Oshiro moved to Molokai at the age of 8. He moved to Lanai when he was in his late teens to work for the pineapple plantation.

In the 1950s and '60s, he also drove the school bus between Kaumalapau and Lanai High School in Lanai City.

Over the years, Oshiro expanded the service station business with vehicle rentals and a tour bus operation. After semiretiring in the 1980s, he added an auto parts store.

The service station was also where many of Lanai's young people got their first job, including son Glenn, who took over the business in the 1980s. "He was known as a very crusty individual, but he had this outstanding sense of humor that allowed him to get away with it," said Glenn Oshiro.

Charles Yara, who began working at the service station when he was 12 or 13, recalls Hiroshi Oshiro as a strict but fair boss.

"He got after us for goofing off as kids would do, but in a fatherly way, not a mean way," Yara said.

Yara started out pulling weeds, then pumped gas, greased cars and changed tires, and said it taught him to work efficiently and well.

Glenn Oshiro said his father believed in the kids in the community and supported them academically.

"Dad was very proud of the fact that so many of his employees did so well money-wise, academic-wise, just being good people," he said. "I think in many respects he was proudest of those guys who were supposed to end up in Oahu prison."

Oshiro is also survived by wife Genevieve, son Clyde, daughter Patricia, brothers Tejiro and Shichiro, eight grandchildren and a great-grandson.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Lanai Hongwanji Mission. Additional services will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at Moiliili Hongwanji Mission on Oahu. Casual attire. No flowers. Donations suggested to Hospice of North Hawaii.


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