We honor the quiet and remarkable life of Jane Mitsue Fujiwara, born on December 1, 1931 in Waiau on the island of O’ahu, as the first child of Ichiro and Tsuruko Tottori. She was raised in Waipahu and Kalihi by her grandfather Kakuichi, who would go on to found Honolulu Poi Company, producer of Hawai’i’s iconic local staple: Taro Brand Poi.
As the eldest sibling to three brothers and a sister—Akira, Ernest, Wally, and Wanda—Jane was always first to help, quick to laugh, and had a steadfast, independent spirit. After graduating from Hawaiian Mission Academy, that independence led Jane to attend Pacific Union College in Angwin, California, where she received a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. Upon returning to Hawai’i, Jane began a decades-long career at Kaewai Elementary School in Kalihi. There, she was a beloved kindergarten teacher whose charm, humor, and inherent goodness helped to shepherd hundreds of Kalihi’s children at the beginning of their young lives, affecting them in such a profound way that many of her former students recognized and remembered Jane—and her infectious laugh—more than fifty years later.
Jane was married to George Michio Fujiwara in 1956, and together they had two children, Kristie and Owen. After the loss of her husband in 2001, Jane spent her early retirement years tending to her orchids and looking forward to reunions with her fellow teachers. She loved family gatherings and parties, especially their New Year’s Day celebration at the church founded by her parents, Konko Mission of Waipahu.
Her final years were spent living with her daughter and son-in-law, regularly attending senior care activities at Live Well Iwilei, and dealing valiantly with the progression of Lewy-Body Parkinson’s. She passed quietly and peacefully on the morning of July 5, 2022 at the age of ninety. On behalf of the family, we’d like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the many friends, family, and healthcare professionals who’ve been a part of Jane’s life. In particular, we’d like to thank Queen’s Geriatric Care Services (Dr. Monica Cheung Katz, Carol Hepner, Jessica Ackerman), her devoted team at Bayada Home Health Care (Alex, Jodi, Gabi, Tammy), and the professionals from Bristol Hospice (Chaplain Stephen, Maye, Melanie, Clarie, Manding) for helping us provide Jane with the finest health care possible, and for always treating her as if she were a member of your own families.
Jane is survived by her daughter Kristie (Matthew) Nagato, son Owen (Candice) Fujiwara, sister Wanda (John) Tamashiro, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In consideration of the current level of COVID in our community, a private family interment will be held in August.
Notice #: 0001380454-01