VIDEO: Maui Hospital Renames Building in Honor of Late Rep. Nakasone

December 7, 2010, 4:16 PM HST · Updated December 22, 10:50 AM
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By Wendy Osher

On the second anniversary since his passing, the late Representative Bob Nakasone of Maui was recognized today with a building renamed in his honor. 

The Maui Memorial Medical Center held a special re-dedication ceremony for its Kahului Tower, renaming the facility The Representative Bob Nakasone Kahului Tower.

Ruth Nakasone leaves a kiss for her late husband during the re-dedication of the MMMC Kahului Tower. A plaque was unveiled today in the lobby of the building. Photo by Wendy Osher.

“There was no way anyone could forget how important Maui was to him and how much he held it in his heart,” said Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa who introduced the  resolution that became the driving force behind the re-dedication.  The Twenty-fifth Legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution No.77, SD1, which called for a tribute to be paid to Robert H. “Bob” Nakasone and his legacy by naming one of the Maui medical facilities in his honor.

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“For all of us we knew Bob as a very humble person, and I’m sure Bob Nakasone does not like all of this attention we are giving him today.  However, he is deserving of this recognition due to his diligence and dedication to assure that Maui Memorial Medical Center received the necessary attention and funding to best serve its community and its people,” said Speaker of the House, Calvin Say, who attended the Maui ceremony.

“Bob was also very instrumental in assuring that other hospitals along with our schools and community facilities around the state did receive the necessary attention by focusing on capital improvement projects during his term as a state representative,” said Say. 

“He was a driving force for so many things on Maui, not only the hospital, but things that make Maui what it is today,” said Wesley Lo, CEO of the Maui Memorial Medical Center. 

Robert “Bob” Nakasone was first elected to the Maui County Council in 1976.  He served as a councilman for 10 years before winning election to the State House of Representatives in 1992.  Rep. Nakasone died two years ago today on December 7, 2008, following a battle with lung cancer.

“Two years ago on this day, my Dad passed away,” said Nakasone’s daughter Joni McGinnis.  “Since then, I’ve had many people share their gratitude for his service and hard work throughout his years in politics.  And ironically, if not for my Dad’s untimely death, I might have not known how much of an impact he was to our community,” said McGinnis.

Rep. Gil Keith-Agaran (middle), who filled the vacancy created by Nakasone, sits among colleagues from the Maui legislature (Sen. Roz Baker, lt, and Sen. President Shan Tsutsui, rt). Photo by Wendy Osher.

Family, friends and colleagues of the late Rep. Nakasone gathered in the lobby of MMMC Kahului Tower to witness the renaming and re-dedication of the building.

U.S. Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa spoke of Nakasone's humbleness during the Maui event. Photo by Wendy Osher.

“He didn’t celebrate his achievements at home.  He didn’t share the details too much with us at all.  Sometimes we’d hear a story or two.  But I believe that he enjoyed the process more than the final product sometimes,” she said.  “My father loved and cared for his family.  He enjoyed playing golf, loved watching football… he valued his friends… he lived a pretty simple life.  And I know he didn’t care too much for the limelight.  But more than anything, I know he loved politics and being a public servant.  That truly was his passion,” said McGinnis. 

Robert “Bob” Nakasone was born and raised on Maui to Jiro and Doris Nakasone.  The plaque that now hangs in the hospital lobby speaks of Nakasone growing up during Hawaii’s emerging labor union movement.  It notes his parent’s involvement in this struggle and its influence on his work ethic, ideals and eventually his political passion.

The plaque further states, “…Representative Nakasone exemplifies the meaning of “public service” in its truest sense and his vision, hard work, and integrity have resulted in health care and other improvements that have made an extraordinary difference to the people and communities of Maui, leaving a sound legacy upon which future generations can thrive and build…”

Bob Nakasone:  March8, 1940 – December 7, 2008

*** If you enjoyed this story, you might also like our post on: New emergency generator to provide peace of mind during disasters for Maui Dialysis patients.

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