Born and raised on Oahu to Mitsuo and Elsie Suzuki, Dale graduated from Kaimuki high school in 1969. She grew up dancing ballet, then in the 70s was one of just a few female surfers out in the water. While attending the University of Hawaii she met her future husband, Arick Yanagihara. No one is more baffled than their daughter at how a guy like Arick was able to win a woman like Dale, but after almost 50 years together it's difficult to question that they were destined to be each other's partners through this life.
"No" was not a word that found much relevance for Dale, unless she was the one saying it. This quality was indicative of the great successes she attained, and the achievements she garnered throughout her professional career. At the age of 28 she was the first woman to become a district director of Pitney Bowes (a Fortune 500 Company) and shortly after was honored as their "Employee of the Year." As a salesperson she had an impeccable ability to see potential and uncover opportunities, and as a manager, Dale took incredible pride in inspiring others to be and do better. This was the unspoken mantra of her incredible work ethic: if you're going to do something, be the best you can be. In her 45 year career in sales, she was always one of, if not the top salesperson in every position she held. Dale often described her most recent position at SeaWide Express as her favorite because of the team she worked with and the business they built together. Work gave her both fulfillment and joy; an overall sense of accomplishment and dedication that motivated her to attempt sending emails to customers just a week before her passing.
She applied the same dedication to her passion for golf and ballroom dancing. Once she took up golf, she was named the HSGA most improved female golfer of the year. Shortly after, she won the OCC Annual Women's Invitational Tournament low net individual honors, had a hole-in-one, and was the club's Ace of the month multiple times. She had a knack for sinking impossibly long putts, each punctuated with a little kick and victorious fist pump.
Every Sunday, Dale and Arick could be found at Oahu Country Club, on the course, then at the clubhouse with their Sunday golf crew. On Tuesday nights and at monthly dance functions, they were on the dance floor with their ballroom dance group. Dale's journey through sports started and ended with dance. Side-by-side and step-by-step, Dale and Arick danced the foxtrot, salsa, cha cha,
tango and swing, but their favorite was the smooth waltz. For 15 years they found a rhythm and choreography that could only be rivaled by their 46 years of marriage.
Ikebana was not just one of Dale's favorite pastimes, its principles of expressing emotion through subtle gestures and thoughtful intention embody how she cared for those around her. If you ever found yourself receiving: an unexpected gift, a plate of home-baked good (most often lemon bars), an extra serving of that dish she noticed you loved the last time, an invite to a get together with all the details taken care of, or just some honest yet pragmatic advice you're not sure you asked for...know that she loved you and you meant so much to her.
When Dale learned of the prognosis of her cancer, she was characteristically calm and unafraid—the cancer was aggressive and the timeline was short. For Dale timeliness was unquestionable and could not be left to chance, which meant her daughter arrived and left childhood birthday parties 15 minutes before the designated times; the family would get to the airport 2.5 hours before every flight; and dinner reservations were always made weeks or months in advance. Many would call this "too early," and perhaps they're right, but for Dale, it simply ensured she would be on time. Similarly for us, her passing feels "too early," but perhaps for her, it simply ensured she would be on time. Her family wishes to express immense gratitude for the continued support of family and friends, and to the wonderful team at Navian Hawaii who provided such incredible comfort and care for Dale on her journey.
Typical of Dale, she did not want anyone making a fuss over her passing, and in these difficult times requested there be no funeral or celebration of life.
The family kindly requests that in lieu of monetary gifts or flowers, they would appreciate donations be made to Navian Hawaii on Dale's behalf.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased