WARREN MITSURU TOYAMA
It is with deep sadness that we announce that on the evening of Sunday, November 6, 2022, Warren Mitsuru Toyama passed away at the age of 86. After an almost two-week stay in the hospital, he returned home in hospice care where his journey with us ended peacefully with his family by his side. This amazing man was born in Kohala on the Big Island of Hawaii on April 2, 1936. He was the second-youngest child of Saburo and Toshiko Toyama. Because of his blindness, he was required to attend the Territorial School for the Deaf and Blind on Oahu at the age of 8. He also attended Kawananakoa Intermediate School, one semester of McKinley High School, and eventually graduated from Kohala High School in 1954. He went on to graduate from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in 1959.
He began working for the publishers of the World Book Encyclopedia, Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, where he rose to become their District Sales Manager. In 1962 he became part of the State Vendors, Inc., a corporation of 10 blind stockholders who won the bid to operate the newsstand concessions at the Honolulu International Airport. During their 8 years in business, Warren served as the President and General Manager.
In 1971, this entrepreneur purchased and operated a cocktail lounge, Little Tokyo, which was located in the area that is now Keeaumoku Walmart. His career path changed again when he entered the Blind Vending Facility program in 1982. He started working at his first vending facility on October 5, 1982, the 5th floor cafeteria at the Department of Health. On October 17, 1985 he moved to the old Honolulu Police Department in the old Sears building location on Beretania Street where he operated a small snack area in the lobby. The last facility he operated was at Tripler Army Medical Center. He started there on October 3, 1992, running a snack shop at the Mountainside entrance, and retired in December 2017 after 25 years of service.
My father was a very active community member all his life. In school he was President of Future Farmers, Class Valedictorian, and even won a Merit Shield Award. In his 20’s he taught Sunday School classes, and lead youth activities for Makiki Christian Church. He later organized bowling leagues and helped form a bowling club for the blind.
But his biggest accomplishment was helping to improve the lives of blind people in Hawaii. In 1967 he selected a small group of people to begin this process and created the Hawaii Federation of the Blind. They worked with legislators and educators to provide equal access and opportunity for blind individuals, and fought tirelessly whenever barriers arose that would hinder their quest for happiness and independence. Not only did he teach blind people to understand their own value, but he also taught the general public to understand blind people too. In 1983 the organization changed its name to the Hawaii Association of the Blind, and still continues to advocate for the visually impaired people of Hawaii. Because of his tireless efforts, Warren was given many awards from the blind community both in Hawaii and on the mainland. He was praised as a great leader for all blind individuals and commended for all his years of advocacy.
Warren is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Julia Toyama, and they had one daughter, Joy Nami Murota. He was also the proud Grandpa to granddaughter Jayme Reyes and grandson Maverick Murota. He was preceded in death by his 4 sisters and 2 brothers, but is survived by brothers Toshiro Toyama and Dennis (Jean) Toyama. He also has many relatives and friends from around the globe who will miss his witty humor and wealth of knowledge.
A celebration of his life will be held on Friday January 6, 2023 at 10:00am at Hosoi Garden Mortuary. Facemask is required.
Arrangements Provided By: Hosoi Garden Mortuary
Notice #: 0001397267-01