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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

PEARL'S ASHES: The Story of Pearl

Pearl Yukie Nakamichi (above with her brother, James) was born in Hilo, Hawaii.  She graduated from Hilo High School, then went on to St. Francis Nursing School in Honolulu.  She was working as a Registered Nurse at the Kau Hospital in Pahala on the Big Island when I met her.  We got married a little more than three months later.  

While nursing at various hospitals in Hawaii and Louisiana, she specialized in gerontology, and later went on to work for U.S. Senators Spark Matsunaga and Daniel Akaka.  She managed Sparky's campaign headquarters in his 1982 re-election.  Her final assignment was as a patient's representative for St. Francis Hospital.

In 1982 she found out she had breast cancer.  While she was recuperating, I gave her a sunburst flower.  No leaves, just one flower.  She brought it home and one plant multiplied, maybe, to a hundred over time.  She gave them away to friends.  Here is one next to the Hawaii State Flower.

We had the right match of personalities and interests, and, as guilty as I feel now saying this, she dedicated her life to making me successful.  She succeeded.  She was supposed to live much longer than me.  After 47 years of marriage, and all she did for me, the least I could do was to undertake my final mission for her ashes.

She also loved that yellow tree, Tabebuia Donnelli-Smithii.   “In Gratitude, Not Grief,” these trees are being planted at sites throughout Hawaii in her memory.  

The Pearl Foundation has been formed to plant these trees on the Mauka side of the Ala Wai Canal, beginning with a portion of the Ala Wai Golf Course.


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