KIYOKO "KAY" YAFUSO KAGAWAKIYOKO KAY YAFUSO KAGAWA Kiyoko "Kay" Yafuso Kagawa, 90, passed peacefully on April 6, 2014 at St. Francis Hospice in Nuuanu. During her years serving others, she was a nurse, nurse educator and elementary school teacher and principal. Kay Kagawa was a grand lady whose life was filled with numerous accomplishments. She met the goals she set for herself through her keen intelligence and sheer determination despite her poverty stricken upbringing. Born in Hakalau, Hawaii as the oldest of seven children of Okinawan immigrants, Torasaburo and Nabe Yafuso, she grew up working on leased plantation land cutting sugar cane. She pursued her college aspirations despite being shunned by extended family and friends due to strong cultural expectations at the time that girls should not pursue a higher education. Although her parents could ill afford it, they gave her their blessing to strive for a better life for herself. Shortly after entering Queen's Hospital Nursing School her father died, leaving her with the added responsibility of helping to support her family. She graduated from Queen's in 1940 and later received Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Nursing Education at Columbia University in New York City. She taught nursing at St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing in New York City before returning home. Upon arriving in Hawaii, she taught at Queen's Hospital School of Nursing before going on to work in the field of public education. She started her career with the State of Hawaii Department of Education as a Health Coordinator and School Nurse, and then taught at Wailupe and Koko Head Elementary School. Subsequently, she became Vice Principal at Ala Wai and then at Liliuokalani Elementary School. A promotion followed as Principal of Linapuni Elementary School and finally at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School where she retired in 1992. She is predeceased by husband, Shoso Kagawa. She is survived by children, Dr. Joan Kagawa (Dr. Robert Ruggieri), Charles Kagawa (Donna Lum Kagawa), three grandchildren, Julia Ruggieri, Krista Ruggieri, and Chad Kagawa, and two step grandchildren Ryan and Jessica Kam. She is also survived by brothers, Dr. Masao Yafuso of California, Harold Yafuso of Virginia, and sister Mitsuko Nagaishi of Oahu. Funeral services will be held on June 7, 2014 at Diamond Head Memorial Chapel. Visitation from 10:30 to 11:30, services at 11:30. A private inurnment ceremony will be held at Punchbowl Cemetery on June 9, 2014 at 9:30 am. Kay Kagawa was selfless, kind hearted and full of grace. She embodied the belief and spirit that persistence and diligence can overcome any adversity. The dignity and compassion with which she lived her life serves as an inspiration to us all. We have been blessed with the gift of her presence in our lives and miss her dearly.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased