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Robin Messenheimer


Dawn Pung

Dawn Satsuki Pung was born in Kohala, Hawai’i on May 31, 1938 and passed away on June 12, 2023.  She was wife of 64 years to Ernest Pung; mother to Lowell A. Pung & Patrick Estabrook and Penelope L. Pung & Arthur Sampaga, Jr.; grandmother to Erica L. Sampaga and Seth L. Sampaga; and sister to Hale Hamada and Jewel Carnett.

Dawn was a long-time member of Zonta and served as president of Zonta Club of Hilo, a director on the Zonta Club of Hilo Foundation board, and an area director of District 9.  In 2020, Dawn was named Hawai’i County’s Outstanding Older American (female awardee).

Zonta Club of Hilo nominated Dawn for the honor.  Here is an excerpt from the application:

“Dawn Pung is a caregiver.  Yet she somehow makes all the work that goes into that care seem part of a festival.  Like the Pied Piper, she plays a tune that has hordes of friends and acquaintances following her off to one volunteer effort or another, ‘Come on.  It’ll be fun.’  And it usually is.  Whether it’s a pre-dawn rendevous with triathletes, or Moonlight Madness for the Cancer Society, a vigil against domestic violence, a prayer for peace, or a fundraiser where you need to lay your money down, Dawn is the energizing force that keeps it focused and fun.”

A dear friend to many, she will be sorely missed.

Rosemarie Muller

Rosemarie Muller, age 74 of Kea’au, Hawai’i, passed away February 24, 2023 at Hilo Medical Center.

She was born to the late Ursula and James Mentesane on October 4, 1948, in Manhattan, NY. Rosemarie graduated from Clearwater High School in 1966 and received a BS in Biology from the University of South Florida and a Master’s degree in Transfusion Techniques from Long Island University (CW Post). She married the late Robert Muller in 1970, and they lived in Center Moriches, NY where they raised their three daughters. Rosemarie lived on Long Island for over 30 years before she relocated to Hilo, Hawai’i to enjoy her retirement after a dedicated career as a Laboratory Technician Supervisor. Rosemarie was a loving mother and devoted grandma full of strength and wisdom.

Rosemarie was active in her community and held numerous roles within a variety of organizations. She was a past President, Membership Vice President, and Scholarship Committee Chair for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Hilo Chapter and a past board member and current member of the AAUW State Policy Committee for the American Association of Women Voters Hawai’i State Chapter. For the League of Women Voters, Rosemarie was the past President and current board member for the Hawai’i County Chapter, and the current Vice President for the Hawai’i State Chapter. She was a Member of the Advocacy and Scholarship Committees at the Zonta Club of Hilo and a member of local Great Decisions subgroup for the National Foreign Policy Association. Rosemarie also held the positions of past Treasurer and current member with the United Nations Association, USA, Hawai’i Island Branch.

She was an avid puzzler and enjoyed walks and going on lunch dates with her friends. Rosemarie loved to read, watch tennis, crochet blankets, travel, and cook delicious meals for her family. She was a member of several different book clubs in New York and Hawai’i. Her life was filled with adventures and loving friendships. She was extremely proud of her three daughters and their beautiful families and leaves behind nothing but wonderful, cherished memories.

Rosemarie was predeceased by her loving husband in 1992. She is survived by three daughters, Kelly Muller Fray and her husband, V. Kenneth Fray, of Tega Cay, South Carolina; Jennifer Muller and her husband, James Salai, of Kea’au, Hawai’i; and Megan Muller and her husband, Raymond McClain, of Fountain Inn, South Carolina. Rosemarie leaves behind five grandchildren whom she loved to spoil, Elina Rose Salai, Averrie Sage Fray, Aaron Robert Salai, Adelyn Rose Fray, and Christian James Salai. She is also survived by two sisters, Patricia Smith and Janet Mentesane, and several nieces and nephews; and three grand kitties Polly, Colby, and MacKenzie. Rosemarie also leaves many other family members and friends who will sadly miss her.

Patricia O’Toole

Patricia Katherine O’Toole, age 67, of Hilo, Hawai’i, died March 11, 2017 at the Hilo Medical Center. She was born in Honolulu, Hawai’i on August 13, 1949 and was an Attorney formerly employed by the Public Defender’s office on O’ahu. She was also employed by the County of Hawai’i as Deputy Corporation Counsel and retired as Assistant Corporation Counsel.

Pat was a member of the Hawaii State Bar Association, Hawaii County Bar Association, Big Island Women Lawyers Association, Democratic Party, Zonta Club of Hilo, Ulala Red Hat Society, Naval Air Station (NAS) Pool “Mermaids,” Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Pool Group, and Kamana Senior Center. She is survived by cousins, other relatives, friends, and Zonta sisters.

Mahalo to Pat’s estate for generous gifts to support Zonta’s mission of empowering women through service and advocacy.

Lily Inouye

Lily Yuriko Inouye, age 93, of Hilo, Hawai’i, died September 7, 2016 at Legacy Hilo Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. She was born in Honolulu, Hawai’i on June 5, 1923 and was a member of Church of the Holy Cross, Zonta Club of Hilo, Y’s Men and Women’s Club, Hawaii Shima Kumamoto Doshi Kai, “Club Wednesday” Golf Club ,and numerous civic and non-profit organizations.

She is survived by sons, Gordon (Mieke) Inouye of Papaikou, Vernon (Lorraine) Inouye of Hilo and Grayson Inouye of Hilo; daughter, Adrianne “Ami” Lamson of Hilo; sister-in-law, Louise Hongo of Gardena, California; eight grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.

Nappie Ebesugawa

Tsuyako “Nappie” Ebesugawa, age 98, of Hilo, Hawai’i, died December 19, 2013 at her residence in Hilo. She was born in Hilo on August 5, 1915 and was the proprietress of Ebesu’s Limited. She was a member of the Zonta Club of Hilo, Hilo Woman’s Club, Higashi Hongwanji Fujin Kai, Waiakea Chuo Kumiai, Japanese Community Association, and East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai.

She is survived by sisters, Ann H. Kaya of Hilo, Satsuki “Sachi” Ebesugawa of Hilo, and Ruby (Dr. Herbert) Maruyama of Denver, Colorado; sister-in-law, Yaeko Ebesugawa of Hilo; numerous nephews, nieces, grandnephews, and grandnieces.

Kikuye Kohashi

Kikuye Shiraki Kohashi, 84, of Hilo, Hawai’i, died October 20, 2013, at Hilo Medical Center. Born in Kona, she was a retired Extension home economist and 4-H agent with the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, former home economics teacher and member of Church of the Holy Apostles, Waiakeawaena Kumiai, Zonta Club of Hilo, and national extension associations.

She is survived by husband, Wataru Kohashi of Hilo; daughters, Lois Kohashi-Sinclair of Seattle, Julia Zee of Hilo; sons, Andrew Kohashi of Honolulu, Owen Kohashi of Seattle; brother, Iwao Shiraki of Honolulu; sisters, Nobuko Toyama and Kimiyo Marutani, both of Honolulu; six grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews.

Jane Kawachi

Our dear Jane Kumiko Kawachi, 68, of Hilo, Hawai’i, died March 15, 2012 at Hilo Medical Center. Born in Honolulu, she was a retired manager for Bank of Hawaii KTA Branch, and also worked for Hilo Hongwanji and Edward Jones Investments and was a member of Zonta Club of Hilo, Higashi Hongwanji, Fukuoka Kenjinkai, Mauka Kaumana Kumiai, Business Education Partnership, Junior Achievement, and Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii.

Survived by husband, George Kawachi of Hilo; sons, Scott (Leigh Ann Ueda) Kawachi, Kurt (Lisa) Kawachi, both of Hilo; mother, Teruko Inoue of Hilo; sister, Karen Inoue of Auburn, Wash.; brother, Alvin (Gail) Inoue of Hilo; two grandchildren, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Jane had a big heart ,was very dedicated, kind, and never wanted recognition because she was so humble.We will remember Jane as she was, a special lady who gave from her heart. We will miss her.

Rowena Loo

Rowena Mae Busse Loo, a founding member of the Zonta Club of Hilo in 1950, passed away peacefully on June 29, 2010. She was 90 years old.

Rowena’s life should stand as a model for triumph over hardship.

Born on October 30, 1919 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Rowena was the older of two children (younger brother William) of Henry and Effie Busse. Rowena experienced a difficult life in her growing-up years as her father relocated his family often in pursuit of employment in order to support his family. But times were bleak and to survive, Rowena recalled that she and her brother often helped themselves to potatoes, chickens, and eggs from their neighbors’ fields.

Her mother, engaged in an illegal activity during the Prohibition, wound up in jail where she later died of complications from appendicitis. Her father, a broken man, vanished with Rowena’s younger brother and left her with an aunt who was unable to care for her.

Rowena ended up at a Salvation Army GIrls’ Home, which provided her with a more stable environment – schooling and an education that resulted in a nursing career. Rowena’s love of music led her to sing in the Salvation Army choir and provided her with the opportunity to play the cornet and alto horn, an instrument she cherished and kept to her dying days.

Rowena applied for and was accepted for the position of live-in nurse at the Salvation Army’s Girls’ Home in Hilo, Hawai’i in 1946; she arrived in Hilo by ship. She immediately made a mark, helping her charges at the Girls’ Home. On one occasion while taking one of the girls who became ill to the Hilo Hospital, Rowena had a chance encounter with Dr. Walter Loo. After a courtship, not without complications, they were married and raised five children – two of whom live in Hilo, two in California, and one son who predeceased his parents.

Rowena’s 60-year involvement in the Zonta Club of Hilo was full, taking on various committee assignments and supporting the mission of advancing the status of women locally and internationally. She was honored at the Zonta International District 9 Conference in September 2007 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel during the welcome reception and “Hoike.” Rowena attended all club meetings to the extent that her health allowed (she recovered from a heart operation in her later years), face carefully made up, dressed comfortably in her mu’umu’u, and hair coiffed with a red streak in her forelocks, even after her mobility was reduced to confinement in a wheelchair. How she loved the club’s yearly Holiday Dinner and Auction! She delighted in donating mementos from her past and invited her entire “‘ohana” or caregiver’s family to the occasion – all who lovingly called her “popo” (Chinese for grandmother).

Her quiet presence and frail voice will be missed by the Zonta Club of Hilo.

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