MARIE MURPHY HARA
Marie Murphy Hara passed away peacefully at home on Friday, August 23, 2019 at the age of 75, surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Honolulu, Hawai’i to Mattie Wakayama Murphy, a nurse who worked at Tripler Army Medical Center.
Marie’s childhood was spent in Honolulu and Kohala. She attended Kuhio Elementary, Washington Intermediate, and was a graduate of the class of 1961 at Punahou School, where she was the editor of Ka Wai Ola and interviewed Elvis Presley. She received Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at the University of Hawai’i in English, writing her Bachelor’s Honor’s thesis on Issac Dinesen, and graduating Phi Beta Kappa.
She embarked on her professional career as a teacher, working at many secondary schools on O’ahu, including Highlands Intermediate, Sacred Hearts Academy, ‘Iolani School, Farrington High School and Pohukaina School for developmentally challenged students. She worked at The Hawai’i Herald as a journalist and at the Honolulu Academy of Arts as a grants writer. She developed as a writer, an editor and a teacher as she continued to teach at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa from 1972 until her retirement in 2010 as an Assistant Professor in the English Department, where she taught the first university-level Asian-American literature courses in the state of Hawai’i. As a writer, Marie was a co-founder for the Talk Story Conference in 1978, Hawai’i’s first large ethnic literary conference which was a watershed event celebrating previously overlooked creative writing by local authors. She was also involved with a slide show tape called Japanese, Okinawan and Korean Picture Brides, created by Alice Chai and Barbara Kawakami where Marie interviewed elderly picture brides in plantation towns. Subsequently, she wrote a short feature film with Agnes Ogata for the movie, Kenji, a film by independent film director George Tahara. In 1994, Marie wrote a book of short stories, Bananaheart and Other Stories, for which she received the Elliot Cades Award for Literature as an emerging artist. She explored the mixed race voice from a female viewpoint as co-editor of an anthology of hapa women writers with Nora Okja Keller called, Intersecting Circles: The Voices of Hapa Women in Poetry and Prose, published in 1999. For decades, she was part of her writers study group, getting together each month to share writing. She served as a mentor for Bamboo Ridge Press since its inception in 1978, a director beginning in 1999, and as president in 2006. Over the years, she gave numerous public readings, performances and helped to edit several books on a range of topics that she believed in.
Marie will be remembered for her positive outlook and her genuine care for all who came into her life. She encouraged many to write about their stories and shepherded them along the way. With her husband John, she lived in the same house for most of her life and raised two daughters to feel that they always had the biggest and best supporter in their corner. She loved travelling throughout the world with John, visiting the ocean, and picking ginger at the side of the road on Tantalus.
Marie is survived by her husband of 51 years, John, her daughters Mayumi Dao (Franklin) and Kasumi Hara (Evan Mau), and five grandchildren, Jadelyn, Elina, Leonard, Cora and Mari.
A Celebration of Life for Marie will be held on Sunday, September 15th at Punahou School’s Twigg-Smith Pavilion at the Case Middle School, 1601 Punahou Street. Visitation at 3pm, Service at 4pm, followed by a reception. Aloha attire. No flowers, please.
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Notice #: 0001229843-01