By: Rob Shikina
Nobuo Yoshioka, right, served as a Japanese interpreter in the Army during World War II.
Man killed in crash leaves memories of warmth & humor. Relatives remember 91-year-old Nobuo Yoshioka, who was struck by an SUV as he crossed the street, as a “kind and gentle” man.
Nobuo Yoshioka, an Army veteran who served during World War II and a retired Department of Defense employee, died this week after he was hit by an SUV in front of his home near Makiki. He was 91.
“He was a wonderful man,” said his nephew, Dean Yoshioka, 63. “He was kind and gentle.”
Yoshioka said his uncle’s death was a “big loss” for the family, who loved the bachelor for his warmth and humor.
“I expected him to live another 10 years,” he said. “Physically, he was in good shape.”
Yoshioka was crossing Young Street at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday when he was hit by a Ford Escape driven by a 23-year-old man. The driver stopped to help, and Yoshioka was taken to the Queen’s Medical Center, where he died at about 6:10 p.m. Tuesday.
Police said it was not clear if Yoshioka was in a crosswalk at the time of the crash, which occurred east of Kaheka Street.
Dean Yoshioka said his uncle lived at One Kalakaua Senior Living and was probably on his way to get something to eat when he was hit. He said he heard surveillance video from the senior home captured his uncle being struck in the crosswalk in front of the building’s driveway.
“He was a careful guy,” Yoshioka said.
He added that he has trouble talking about his uncle.
“It hurts very much.”
Dean Yoshioka’s wife, Barbara, said the crash was preventable and that increased awareness about seniors crossing in that area and brighter lights could prevent other incidents.
“This was a man who had so much life,” she said. “He was close to everybody.”
Yoshioka was born in Honolulu and graduated from McKinley High School and the University of Hawaii. He joined the Army in 1944 and served in Japan before his discharge two years later.
Dean Yoshioka said his uncle was a Japanese interpreter in the Army and worked 45 years for the federal government, doing personnel and administration work.
That work included more than two decades in Japan, eight years in Germany, and in Hawaii and Bahrain.
He traveled widely, including to Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, India, Yemen, Cambodia and Laos, said niece Joyce Nishiiye.
He was also a photographer who captured his travels in slideshows, Nishiiye said.
She said she saw her uncle several times a week to help him because he was showing early signs of dementia, but he remained independent and wanted to live on his own.
He was the youngest of seven children and is survived by 13 nieces and nephews.
Nishiiye said her uncle never regained consciousness after the crash.
“It was very painful to see him like that,” she said.
Yoshioka was Oahu’s third pedestrian fatality this year, compared to one at this time last year. So far this year, there have been five traffic fatalities on Oahu.