Mabel Oi Tom Chee, beloved mother, auntie, grandmother and great grandmother passed away peacefully on March 23rd, 2012. The fifth of seven children, she was born December 16th, 1911 in Kahaluu, Hawaii. She had recently enjoyed her 100th birthday with family and friends in a celebration of her long and productive life. Mabel will always be remembered for her kind and gentle spirit and the joy she found in life.
Mabel grew up in Kahaluu where her family grew rice and would ride horses over the Pali to bring crops to market. Later, her family moved to town and purchased a small grocery store near Like-Like School. Mabel met her future husband, Chee Wing Cho, a Chinese herbal Doctor, when he came to cure her of a serious illness after she fell in an irrigation canal. She recovered with his excellent care and five years later they married. Mabel worked at many jobs and at one time opened “Mable’s Crack Seed” store in Aiea. She enjoyed working for Marriot in a program for seniors where she made sandwiches for the University of Hawaii.
Gardening stayed Mabel’s favorite pastime. Well into her nineties, Mabel gardened in the Dole community garden on the slopes of Punchbowl crater. She always said it made her feel good to be “outside seeing the plants”. In addition, she was a dedicated volunteer at Foster Botanical Gardens. Many will also remember her skill with the crochet needle and her loving handmade gifts.
Mabel is survived by her four children: sons, Fred Chee, Calvin Chee and Alvin Chee and daughter, Dawn Chee Slowi. She is also survived by grandsons: Baron and Tyson Chee and Mark and Logan van der Pyl, three great grandchildren and many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.
The family wishes everyone who knew Mabel to honor her by enjoying the beauty of Hawaii’s flowers.