ROBERT CHING WORobert Wo, 95, of Honolulu passed away peacefully at home on September 13, 2019. Bob was born on March 31, 1924, to Ching Sing Wo (C. S. Wo) and Bernice Yee. He graduated from Punahou School and attended Stanford University where he earned his Bachelor's degree in Economics. During his college years, Bob developed a passion for furniture, and he made it a point to visit every major store in the Bay Area on weekends. Upon returning to Hawaii in 1946, Bob, together with brothers Jim and Bill, transformed the family's C. S. Wo general store into a full-line furniture store. C. S. Wo & Sons grew to become the state's largest furniture retailer and one of the top 100 in the country. Bob's love of the business was all encompassing. He started importing full containers of furniture from Asia in the 1950s, well before other retailers ventured there. In 1972, he co-founded Universal Furniture Industries, which grew to become the World's largest manufacturer of dining room furniture, and eventually traded on NASDAQ. For his accomplishments in Hawaii's furniture market and Universal Furniture's global success, Bob was inducted into the American Furniture Association "Hall of Fame" in 2016. Within the Hawaii community, Bob was among the first Asian Americans to sit on the Boards of Hawaiian Trust, Amfac, and First Hawaiian Bank. With a strong commitment to giving back, Bob made significant contributions to the REHAB Hospital of the Pacific, Hawaii Museum of Art, UH Foundation, Community Church of Honolulu, and the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, as well as Stanford University and Mills College. In 1992, Bob and his brother Jim envisioned the importance of an international education in an evolving global world and created The Wo International Center at Punahou School, one of the first global programs for a K-12 school in the nation. But with all of his business endeavors and community service, Bob's first love was always his wife of 71 years, Betty (who predeceased him in 2017), and his children and grandchildren. He thrived on his days at the office working alongside his five sons in building the company. In his free time, he enjoyed fishing at Kaneohe Bay, traveling to the Bay Area, Disneyland, and his hometown village in China with grandchildren, watching the 3rd generation's tennis matches, music concerts, and graduations, and numerous gatherings at the family home in Kaimuki and the C. S. Wo store. Bob is survived by his brother James (Juanita), his sons Robert (Paulette), Wendell, Michael (Cynthia), Bennett (Susan), and C. Scott (Nancy), and twelve grandchildren Kristen (Andrew Beck), Jamie, Kimberly (Damian Pherigo), John (Sue), Kelsey, Kellie, Mark, Bradley, Scotty, Betsy, Ally, and Ashley. Celebration of Life Sunday, October 13, 2019 Waialae Country Club Reception 4:00-8:00pm Brief Remembrance 6:00pm In lieu of gifts, please consider a contribution to the Wo International Center at Punahou School, Culinary Institute of the Pacific at UH, or Community Church of Honolulu.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased