The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001087506-01
Funeral Notices


January 11, 1918 – March 14, 2018

Helen Shular Choy, 100, passed away peacefully on March 14, 2018, in her Honolulu home, and was surrounded by caregivers and family who loved her. She was born in East Stone Gap, Virginia, to Joseph L. and Loretta Hurd Shular, the second of three children. "Henny" loved her family and growing up in a small town in the mountains of Virginia. Her home environment included lively conversations on all subjects, including politics and generous amounts of wit. From this beginning, grew her interests in creative writing, study of the French language and piano, a flair for fashion and home decorating, as well as an enthusiasm for politics. Education was highly valued; she attended East Stone Gap High School, where she was the valedictorian, and went on to James Madison University (Harrison State Teachers’ College), earning a BA. After graduation, Helen began a career as an English teacher at Waynesboro High School, and was offered a position to train teachers at Florida State University, at 23, but returned to Waynesboro, where she preferred hands-on teaching of students.

She worked at a radio station in Charlottesville, Virginia, during one summer vacation, and returned to Waynesboro to continue teaching. During that summer, she met her husband, Herbert Young Cho Choy, who was there for a six week orientation course in military government. They married June 19, 1945, in Denver, Colorado, and he returned to his California military base, and she back to Waynesboro.

Helen accompanied Herbert to Honolulu, the fall of 1946, via an army transport ship. She made a conscious decision to leave teaching, in order to support her husband’s law career and subsequent judgeship on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, to be available to travel with him, and to create a nurturing home for him to return to daily. Their "Federal Family" consisted of Judge Choy’s law clerks and the other judges and their spouses, with whom reunions were a consistent joy to both Helen and Herbert.

To continue to give to society, Helen volunteered for a program for the blind at the Hawaii State Library, where she was also a board member. She was a committee member on the Lawyers’ Wives and on the board of the Alliance Francais, heading an immersion program and setting-up a daytime conversation group. She worked two to three sessions with the legislature in Senator Hiram Fong’s office, when he was Speaker of the State House of Representatives, as a receptionist and researcher. During Senator Fong’s first campaign, she headed the Women’s Committee. She and her husband were members of the University Avenue Baptist Church.

They had been married for 59 years, when Herbert died on March 10, 2004. The basic foundation for everything in her life was her faith in God and her love for her husband and family. This elegant, kind, brilliant and generous Virginian Belle is already missed and loved by many.

She is preceded in death by her dear husband Herbert Young Cho Choy, parents Joseph L. and Loretta Hurd Shular, sister Ruth Shular Curtis (always considered her best friend), brother Joseph Shular, Jr. Helen is survived by her nieces Merrill Curtis Hemmert, Linda S. Warner, Merrill S. Cox, Diane Choy Fujimura, Peggy Choy, Patrice Choy, Shelley Choy and Mona KimBrown, nephews Joseph Shular III, George Shular, Richard Shular, Glenn Choy, Jerald Kim and Tracy Kim, in addition to several grandnieces and grandnephews. Family members would like to express deepest appreciation to Helen’s loyal and loving personal assistant Shari Toyama, and caregiving staff: Marites, Delia, Arnolfa, Leslie, Amparito, Dwayne-Marie, Miguela, and Evelyn. Services will be held at Diamond Head Memorial Park, Honolulu, Friday, April 20, 2018, with 9:30 a.m. Visitation, 10:30 Chapel Service, and 12:30 p.m. Burial. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the University Avenue Baptist Church, 2305 University Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96822.

Arrangements Provided By: Diamond Head Mortuary Chapel