FRANKLIN HIROSHI MASAGATANI
Franklin (Frank, Blue, Masa, Uncle Frank, Papa) Hiroshi Masagatani (84), passed away on January 10, 2018 at Castle Hospital with his family by his side. He is survived by his wife Ernesta, son Jesse (Jona), daughter Jobie, grandsons Christopher (Tatom), Nicholas, Joshua (Jenna-Lei), and Kalakea Yamaguchi; granddaughter Pomaikai Yamaguchi, great granddaughters Mattea, Nahenahe, and Mila-Lei; sister Sayo Takenaka, and brother Alan (Donna). He was preceded in death by son Jason.
A man for all seasons: Frank was successful and talented in his endeavors throughout his life. Born into a Japanese family of fishermen, the eldest son in a family of 8 children, his early life was spent in Kaka`ako, where he attended Pohukaina Elementary School. Brought up with a high work ethic fostered by his parents, Yosuke and Kuni Masagatani, Franklin went on to graduate from Kaimuki High School and attended Compton College until he was drafted into the army during the Korean War.
In 1956, Frank joined Pan American as a fleet serviceman. He soon became a lead man, and in the mid-sixties was promoted to management as Ramp Supervisor. In the mid-seventies he was promoted to Cargo Manager where he was responsible for all warehouse and customer service functions. In 1986 United purchased the Pacific routes from Pan Am. Frank was selected as part of the management team; and because of his extensive knowledge of the air freight market in the Pacific, he was made Manager of Cargo Sales with United where he retired from in the mid-nineties.
Upon retirement, he was warned by his wife, Ernesta, that she didn`t want him sitting at a coffee shop drinking coffee and talking story all day long, so he decided to find a kumu to teach him lauhala weaving. Aunty Esther Westmoreland graciously accepted him as a haumana (student) and taught him to weave door stops and fans. As he realized that he had an affinity for the weaving of lauhala, he decided it was time to learn to weave lauhala hats. Frank hunted all over for a kumu familiar in making Kona style hats and willing to share this Hawaiian art form with him. Back then, 30 years ago, the number of lauhala weavers was slowly diminishing. After searching for a kumu, he was introduced to Aunty Gladys Grace who graciously was willing to teach him this Hawaiian art form. He was taught the Hawaiian way by Aunty, one-on-one, in the language of her Kupuna: "Nana i kou maka – to look with your eyes (observe); Ho`olohe i kou pepeiao -listen with your ears (process); Pa`a i kou waha – close your mouth (understand); Hana me ka lima – work with your hands (apply)".
Uncle Frank worked with Aunty Gladys for over 10 years bringing back the family designs she remembered from her youth. He learned the Anoni style of weaving, Aunty’s specialty. She would orally describe what the design looked like and Uncle Frank, with his draftsman skill, would work on it at home, returning with a completed Anoni hat depicting the design described to him by Aunty Gladys. This process went on for months until Aunty Gladys shared thirteen of her family’s sixteen designs with him, designs she taught him from memory and Uncle Frank saved as Aunty Gladys’ enduring legacy.
Together they collaborated in establishing, Ulana me ka Lokomaika`i, "Weaving with Goodness and Kindness from Within," a lauhala weaving organization formed in 1997. An annual Aunty Gladys weaving class was initiated, producing over a hundred accomplished weavers. This organization also supports community projects and activities. Uncle Frank and Aunty Gladys’ hats, along with the hats created by several of their accomplished students, have been on exhibit in the Bishop Museum and the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
In closing, like Aunty Gladys, Uncle Frank modeled in his life, "Goodness and Kindness from Within." On January 10th "His Lord said unto him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things: enter thou into joy of thy lord.’" (Matthew 25:21, ASV))
Services for Uncle Frank Masagatani will be held on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at Kawaiaha`o Church. Visitation 9:30 -11:00 a.m.; Service 11:00 a.m -12:30 p.m.; Lunch to follow in the Kawaiaha`o Gym.
Notice #: 0001070953-01