Russell Mamoru Mezurashi was the eldest son born to William Takumi Mezurashi and Doris Kiku (Nishigaya) Mezurashi on July 31, 1932. He was peacefully called to the heaven above on August 12, 2020, from his home in Honolulu just after his 88th birthday.
Russell was known as ‘Mamo’ to his family, cousins, friends and classmates at McKinley High School. After high school graduation in 1950, he was drafted into the Korean War of 1950. While in the army he served as a corporal and became a gunner on the front line.
Upon returning to Honolulu, he continued employment at Bishop National Bank of Hawaii as a mail clerk. Within a year Russell advanced to savings teller where he met a young woman named Mildred Nakamura who worked in the exchange and collection teller cage next to his. Russell and Mildred were married in May 1956.
Russell returned home from the army disciplined with maturity beyond his years. The bank offered him training in the management training program in areas of branch banking, credit department, consumer and commercial lending. He was destined to succeed in his chosen career in the financial industry and realized the choices he made and hard work would determine his future. Russell’s personality facilitated in developing a trusting rapport with customers and his desire to learn branch banking operations, consumer and commercial lending, together with the responsibilities was a perfect fit for Russell.
Over the years Russell earned promotions to officer and titled positions and movement within the branch system at First Hawaiian Bank. He made a career move to City Bank as Vice President and Branch Manager in the main branch and also held positions in Branch Administration and the Corporate Loan Department. After 11 years at City Bank he accepted a Vice President position in the Corporate Banking Division at the First Interstate Bank of Hawaii.
While at City Bank, Russell attended the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. For two years he worked on timely submitting his monthly project assignments. His real challenge was his final exit review and preparation for an oral presentation on his thesis to a panel of professors and corporate bankers. He graduated from The Stonier Graduate School of Banking in June 1981.
Russell was active in civic organizations. He was a member of the East Manoa Lions Club; Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii (member then director) and the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce (HJCC nka Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i). In addition to his member participation in fund raising and community service functions at the HJCC, he accepted the honor and became President of the HJCC for a one-year term.
Throughout Russell’s successes and career achievements, his loving wife Millie, stood by his side and provided unconditional support for all his endeavors.
Russell was a weekend warrior whose passion was golfing with the ‘boys’ on Saturdays. He became a member of Honolulu Country Club (HCC) in Salt Lake. In Millie’s mid-life she threw Russell a curve ball and decided she wanted to learn how to golf. He afforded her his time and patience golfing together on Sunday’s at HCC and within a couple years she became very good at the game. For years to follow they travelled the islands and states, joined couples golf clubs, golfed with friends or vacationed at resort courses.
For many years Russell had season tickets to the UH Rainbow Warriors football games. They each golfed with their friends Saturday morning and rushed home for their football date night with spam musubi and bento packed in a bag. Russell was also a fan of the UH women and men’s volleyball team and watched all the televised games…and watched it again on the re-runs.
Unbeknown to Russell that his humble beginning in the mail room of Bishop National Bank would go full circle and bring him back to where he started. With the merger of First Interstate Bank into First Hawaiian Bank, he was once again a First Hawaiian employee. The bank that says ‘Yes’ where his illustrious career in banking began was also where his 44-year banking career ended with retirement on January 01, 1998.
Russell evolved into the man we all knew and grew to love and respect. We are so blessed that he was our father and also blessed were those whose lives he crossed paths with.
Russell is survived by son, Robin Mezurashi and daughter, Lisa Mezurashi of Honolulu; three granddaughters, Jaye Mezurashi (twin), Jeannie Mezurashi (twin) of Honolulu and Jodi Anne (Victor) Cranfill of Colorado; four great grandchildren, Katin and Kielan Cayan (Jeannie) and Trevor and Colton Cranfill (Jodi Anne); numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Predeceased by his wife of 62 years, Millie (Nakamura) Mezurashi and two younger brothers, David S. Mezurashi and Paul K. Mezurashi of Honolulu.
We love him and miss him dearly and are at peace knowing he has gracefully begun his journey to his forever home as we bring closure to a life well lived.
Arrangements Provided By: Hosoi Garden Mortuary
Notice #: 0001296408-01