Claire Kitagawa
(1964 - 2008)

Claire Kitagawa

March 1, 1964

October 2, 2008

Guest Book
Happy Birthday Claire! Ikaika and I will be celebrating with Sushi at Oceans in your memory! Not a day goes by without you in our heart! We miss you!
Kapua Namahoe
March 1st, 2018
Happy birthday Claire!!!! You are forever in my heart along with awesome memories in my head!!!! Love you plenty my friend!
Jen Lustig
March 2nd, 2015
50 years ago we held you in our arms and wish we could today!!!! You'll ALWAYS BE IN OUR HEARTS!!!! I guess our lord does not celebrate birthdays but we here on earth can't help but remember. Our LOVE to you and Curtis.
Mike and Lorraine Kitagawa (Dad and mom)
March 2nd, 2014
Happy 50th Birthday Claire! Thinking of you as I often do, about turning 50 this year and how I wish you were here so I could tease you about being older than me. We all miss you, Claire! Lifting a glass to cheer you up in heaven today! Love you!!! Jodi
Jodi Kimura (Friend)
March 2nd, 2014
Happy 50th Birthday Claire! We so miss you very much!! Although I know you all up there are watching over us guys down here. Until we meet again....I love you Claire!!!! Love, Emmy
Emerald Machida (Cousin)
March 1st, 2014
Happy big 5-0! Geeze, Hallmark would have sold out on all of their 50th birthday cards, because like your 40th birthday, you would get a card in the mail everyday…just to remind you that you getting just as old as me….and thanks for teaching Tish and Chynna to call me "Old Fart!" Wish I could have taught Lexie and Hunter to do the same to you! Love you lots and I am forever grateful for the friendship only you and I shared! We all love and miss your massive hugs and LOUD voice! A Hui Ho, Fukuko!

Cheryl Lawrence (Friend)
March 1st, 2014
Wishing there was a stairway to heaven so I could run up there to give you a hug and tell you how much I miss you. Until then, Fukuko, know the memories we have shared are deeply cherished until we can really catch up and hug like there was never any time lost ..... love you lots, Muaaaah!

Cheryl Lawrence (Friend)
October 2nd, 2013
Geeze, Claire...I'm having one of those "don't wannah do anything days" but as soon as I got onto this site and saw your smiling face and soothing music, my gloom is gone! I feel like you've just gave me a kick in my arse cuz I am now so motivated to get myself in gear and start getting things done...your legacy lives on and you got Me back smiling and "kicking arse!"Mahalo Claire...with all my love! A hui ho - got lots to do and before I feel another kick! XOXO-Manapua
Cheryl Lawrence (Friend)
July 11th, 2012
I look at your picture everyday cause I have it on a shelf that's right above the door to my home. So when I'm home I look up and there you are, smiling at me. When I leave home I see your awesome smile and it reminds me to stay positive. I had one of those weeks at work where I wished you were here to tell them off!! It's been years and I sometimes still think you're just on a long vacation...miss you sooo much! Until we meet again, my friend. Go Yankees!!
Gennevie Polloi (Friend)
July 8th, 2012
Went shopping for some Thanksgiving things and had to laugh to myself when I saw a huge bag of potatoes then saw a boxes of ready to prepare mashed and scalloped potatoes...! Love you and my only regret is not being able to have our little Aiden give you one of his huge loving hugs ... of course along with his 2 year old "words of wisdom!" XOXOXO
Cheryl Lawrence (Friend)
November 23rd, 2011
I miss you, Fukuko! I understand Musubi is once again in your loving arms..just remember to share the newspaper, okay! A hui ho...muah!
Cheryl Lawrence (Forever fried)
May 20th, 2011
Claire, Claire,'s your special day and I hope you can hear me laughing about you getting up there in age with us! I miss you so, so, so much and Papa Avenue just isn't the same without your boisterous voice shouting "Higgins" or "Manapua" as you whipped through this neighborhood..of course with your horn honking like it was no one else's business...I long to hug you once again...your warm and comforting voice and genuine love..Claire...I continue to think of you everyday of my life and would NOT have it any other you and miss you and the Lono Avenue Bull - aka Curtis "Tomoo"! XOXOX...what a legacy you have left for us to carry on....God was just too generous when he shared you with us for the short time you were here. Aloha Fukuko! Muuuuaaaah!
Cheryl Lawrence (Forever Friend)
March 2nd, 2011
Let's celebrate claire's memory and rejoice with spiritual enlightenment or "living aloha" and lots of food and snaks and diet coke! And bradda pops and especially guri guri =) take a journey in your car and listen to hawaian music and embrace the Beauty around you.Claire is all around us feel the love but especially feel the aloha. Claire continues to surround us with love, but it's up to us now. Make a lei,wear a lei,give a lei. Claire is cruizing with my mom "grams" and god. So she is totally covered In the spiritual dept. With god and the food dept with gram. We love and miss you Claire!
Kapua Namahoe (Family)
October 2nd, 2010
In just a few days it'll be October 2. Two years of missing you!! Eight years of missing Curtis!! Why, WHY, I wonder ????? Thanks to Glenn, I'm on this site often, for comfort. Thankyou FAMILY and FRIENDS for your input, Love, and thoughtfulness that seems to never end. THANKYOU!!!! May God Bless you and fill your every need with abundance!!!!
Lorraine Kitagawa (mom and dad)
September 29th, 2010
Dearest Claire...You have been on my mind a lot these days and more so that I get to see and talk to Lori Tsuhako now. Your legacy has taken Lori's and my working relationship to a different level that I am so proud of. Thank you, Claire..your spirit surrounds our working relationship in such a powerful way.

I am sorry, but our grandson Aiden got to eat the first ripe mango this year...and with every piece he chewed, I said a prayer in thanks for your friendship and love. It was surely a bittersweet moment, more so that no one got to partake in any more mangos as all of the birds beat us to it...maybe one of them is actually you, coming to take a piece of YOUR mango!

I miss you so much and tears still well up in my eyes when I think of you. Jen still has your pic up in her room..there is not one day goes by that you are not thought of.

I am participating in the Relay for Life this year and yes, I am doing it in your memory.. no one else needs to lose a friend like you anymore. We will find better treatment and maybe even a you lots, rest in peace!

-Aloha for now....Cheryl "Manapua"....

P.S. Would you pls check that our beloved Barkley & Buster are behaving in doggie heaven too!
Cheryl Lawrence (Friend)
July 5th, 2010
i miss you claire.

i hope you can see hunter from there as he is becoming a fantastic baseball player tho' he's still only 5. i just got his baseball card from wade; maybe i can get his mom to post it here for you. his pitching stance and catching with his mitt is the cutest thing you ever saw.

yankees are ahead of tampa bay and boston right now.

if i ever get a dog i want to name it jeter. dido is having a baby next month and naming him jasper. it is due july 9 (same bday as dido) but is already 10 pounds in his mum's tummy.

i wish you were here every day. i love you as always. a.r.
Auntie Rene
June 21st, 2010
Just thinking of Claire and the last time I shared her company at the Kitagawa's on New Year's Eve bringing in 2008. Good times. Good times. Miss her.
Rochelle Iwashita (cousin)
January 21st, 2010
We continued your yearly visit to the Maui Fair with family, eating your favorite foods, riding rides and just interacting in your hometown. We miss your impact on the whole fair experience, especially with the kids. Because everyone listens to Aunty Claire, or else. We had a blast. We will continue to live your legacy with the warmest ALOHA. Rest in peace. We miss you and we love you very much.
kapua namahoe (friend)
October 4th, 2009
It has been almost a year and I find it hard to still accept this. I have learned alot more about this horrible diease that took Clair from all of us. My sister and dear friend, you are never far from me your on my ancestor wall behind me as I type this out. I will listen to Grumpy (if anyone knows how I can add this please let me know) and lite a special candle for you. I so miss you, and I think you know how much. Now get Kapua to call me and it might help :* ( Your as peace and this year many have joined you. Maybe you can dance now with Patrick, and Michael, wont that be great. And I did get to see the Lion King in Vegas and thought of you the entire time.
Love you and will never forget your smile and laughter. Blesses
June Norris (Friend)
September 16th, 2009
Auwe! I just found out from Octavia (Anderson) about Claire's homecoming to the ultimate paradise. As both of us were the island connection at Angel's Flight, Homeless & Runaway Youth Shelter in L.A., it was nice that we could talk story and relate about life while all the craziness was happening around us everyday. Mahalo for your support during the '95 Community Cup in downtown - we neva win, but we showed those guys that not everybody from Hawaii just kick back and suck 'em up all day long. I'm sure that the aloha spirit still lingers at the shelter.
I'm thankful to our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you are rejoicing with Him (and some of my ohana). There's no better place to be! Bruddah Iz stuff must be more nahenahe than ever.
May everyone's memory of you bring others into the Kingdom of God.
In Him Who Gives Us Abundant Life,

P Kealoha
Paki Kealoha (Friend/Co-worker)
March 28th, 2009
im so sorry for your loss.. peace and light to you
melissa iler
January 10th, 2009
My reason for moving to Hawaii was to visit Claire! Claire welcomed me with open arms, the "haole boy" from Rhode Island (1989). Claire was a shining light in a dreary world. She would brighten up any day and touched the lives of those she came to know. I miss you Claire and never really told you this but I loved you like the sister I never had! You are the greatest! あなたが いなくて さべし (English - I miss you!

ヶン べライル 
Ken Bellisle (Friend (CSUN))
December 3rd, 2008
Claire was like an older sister to me during those challenging pre teen and teen years. I really looked up to her throughout my life. She was a huge inspiration to me to not give up or give in as I prepared to go through my brain surgery in June 2008. I am also a case manager and work with the SMI population. I think of her everyday at work. I often chuckle to myself because I always told my clients the exact same thing as I am germophobic..."eh...did you bathe and did you brush your teeth today?" Thank you Claire for giving me the strength to fight through my battle with cancer. I love you and miss you! Have fun with Granny Sakamoto and Curtis!
Annie Ito (Cousin)
November 20th, 2008
Claire G. Fukuko Kitagawa...a sweet young girl who would so gracefully pace back and forth on her tippy toes on the hollow tile wall fronting their Lono Avenue home...little did we know back then the impact she'd have on so many lives over the years...oh, if we had only known!

Just knowing Claire was a blessing all in its own. Whether she shared her precious smile, flipped the bird at you, laughed or teased you about how much older you were than she was, or brought you the newest "snack craze" item on her visits back to Maui, she loved each and everyone the same. Everyone was treated equally and extremely well with her overabundance of love, compassion, generosity, thoughtfulness and grace...the list goes on.....your skin color, socioeconomic status, occupation, or education level meant nothing to her. Claire treated everyone as her as we were each her *one and only* to love. Nothing was about "her" - she *always* placed others ahead of herself. Even during her illness and treatments, I had to keep reminding myself to remind her that we wanted to be there for her -and not vice versa. I know you all know what she continued to do, despite what she was told! Yup, she was always "for others", FIRST!

I have such fond memories of her and feel so honored and grateful to call each and every one of them "my own" to forever cherish. My pregnancy with our son, Mitchell was blessed with a baby shower she and Aunty Lorraine threw for me. As much as the "dragon" she was, she didn't even think twice about having to wearing a pink satin holoku for our wedding - yes, even with "Aunty Lorraine's make up job", as we'd later laugh over and over about! Claire, you really never needed any make up! You were always so beautiful from the inside out. Using make up and taking the time to do it surely was a waste of time for someone like you. As they say, some got it, while others don't, but you somehow always managed to see only the "true beauty" in everyone -"Hammah Jang" and all!

Okay, our trip to Tijuana! Little did Guy and I know that you were the female version of "Let's Make A Deal's" Monty Hall! I remember wanting to buy a purse there and finally found a style I liked. Well, after venturing through each vendor's tent and harassing each storekeeper, I thought I found one that was the nicest. You bargained that poor man down that it would have been a complete sin if I hadn't purchased anything from his store. So there it was, back at the hotel when I looked at the bag and thought, "What dah heck was I thinking?" Well, I finally realized it; I really wanted to get the heck out of Tijuana.....ALIVE so I just bought it so we could get outtah that place in one piece. We didn't get arrested or drunk so I guess you were a great tour guide despite forgetting me at the border exit and just walking off with Guy and Mitchell while I was stuck being interrogated about my ethnicity and my birthplace! I even had to spell "Wailuku" for them!

Jennifer always thought the world of her “Aunty Claire” – she would always be so excited to see Aunty Claire that she’d chit chat Claire’s ears off. We were once visiting Claire in California and Jen’s ongoing jibber jabbering got to the best of Claire after two hours, STRAIGHT! Claire then asked Jen to see if she could keep quiet for 2 whole minutes and Jen, always wanting to impress her Aunty Claire accepted the challenge. This was a tall order for Jen, but finally…there it was...... T-O-T-A-L silence! In total disbelief, we quickly all looked in the backseat to check that she was still breathing and alive which she was. Aunty Claire then thought Jen had succeeded at keeping quiet for 2 minutes, and started to cheer her on. But low and behold, Jen had fallen asleep out of boredom! Keeping quite was a tall order, but Claire, now that I think back to it, Jenny did it just for you! You wanted silence and since you meant the world to her, she even resorted to putting herself to sleep to not irritate you anymore….

I remember driving Claire to her Freshman Banquet and felt so honored that she asked me to do that for her. I remember when Claire slugged a baseball (or was it a lilikoi?) through the front window of her Lono Avenue home. Aunty Lorraine was mellow about it, but she said Uncle Mike wouldn’t be so happy about it. Poor Claire cringed as Uncle Mike drove up from work in his tow truck…I was scared for her and when Claire explained to Uncle Mike what had happened, he just shrugged it off and mutter, "lolo!" under his breath. No scolding, no punishment, no extra chores…and look what an awesome baseball Claire wound up being! I also remember taking Claire to a Maui High JV game with some friends and we somehow decided to visit the animals at the zoo across the street, too. Well, in only within a few minutes, I heard Claire giggling away at a monkey trying to chew some bubble gum. The rest of the story shouldn’t be a mystery! Claire always thought of sharing with others – even if it had black fur and swung with its tail and lived in the Maui Botanical Garden Zoo!

Claire’s legacy surely lives on. Yes, we miss her, but we give thanks for all Claire has done in her short life with us. Claire has surely left this world a better place, just by being that Claire G. Fukuko we all knew her as. Rest assured Claire is now scurrying around in heaven, making sure everyone is taking a bath, brushing their teeth and “living aloha!” Claire’s definitely gathering up all of her loved ones who preceded her to heaven and already coordinating a gathering for everyone to rejoice, play “catch up” – she’s up there, swirling above us and thrilled that she will once again be our “tour guide” in heaven when we get to see her once again.

Claire, should you see that man who sold me that bag in Mexico in heaven – thank him for the great deal he gave us and for not choking any of us!

To Aunty Lorraine and Uncle Mike – just remember, “fruits don’t fall too far from the tree!” You were a blessing to Claire during the toughest battle and her legacy shall live on in all of our lives!

Uncle Mike, Aunty Lorraine, Wade, Yvette, Donna, Tishonna, Chynna, Hunter, Lexie, Lauren, Ikaika & Kapua, Aunty Rene, Kalen, rest of the Sakamoto & Kitagawa families, co-workers, clients, classmates, friends and everyone else who meant the world to Claire ---keep smiling and rejoice as Claire is finally at home with her dear brother Curtis and having the time of their lives fishing, hunting, playing baseball, drinking unlimted amounts of coffee, cleaning up after everyone and *trying* to teach others how to make REAL mashed potatoes!

Fly high, Claire! Fish on, Curtis! God Bless with all our love and thanks, until we meet again! So long for now…….
Cheryl Lawrence (Friend)
November 19th, 2008
Claire was one of the most upfront people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and having help me through whatever I had going at the time. She would pick me up and we would take off talking the entire time. There was this song "Cranky~It's my fault" by Green Light Go and it always played when we were together, we searched high and low for it and after her memorial in Hilo I was able to find it and contact the incredible energy that created that song. He is sending it to me. Claire was so gentle and yet I could see how she could get things done. She brought Kapua to train with me as the victim lol. No it was something that has Kapua and I as friends and family. She always loved my Christmas cookies and made sure she made it over every year to pick some up and made sure she brought me a Norman Rockwell calendar from Shigi Drugs. So strong she sat with me in er the first of June 2008 and we laughed at the dr at what a jerk he was. And here she was sitting and not letting on to her own problems. I knew she was ill when she gave me up. That didn't happen unless it was serious. I cannot believe that she has left us but I know she is not totally gone because I still hear her laughter and her words of wisdom. Our coffee stops, our lunches at Emma's and the last time I hugged her goodbye not knowing it was the very last time.
Claire you brat I miss you so much! You knew I knew and I didn't get to say how much you meant/ mean to me. I love you for everything you did for me and the rest of the world. Congratulations on your award. What a send off huh? Come visit again in my dreams ok?
June Norris (friend/client)
November 18th, 2008
Still loving and missing you, Fukuko! Your legacy is teaching me how to see the good in all and to be there for anyone needing a "friend to lean on" on a daily basis. Your supportive words of encouragement has taken my healing to a different level and I thank you for that! I am so thrilled that you accepted the Lord into your life...He is awesome and so is your "live aloha" legacy. Both shall live on in the lives you have touched, as well as those who also seek His blessings and grace, just as you did!

One last thing - who's making the mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving? You know, Claire is already SHOUTING, "Not the kine you make from the box! That is sooo gross - no can dat kine!"

Aloha, Claire - thanks for the laughter, tears, but most of all for the memories!!!

Fly high, Fukuko!
Cheryl Lawrence (Friend)
November 16th, 2008
I found a quote from a book on grief and grieving that reminded me so much of Claire that I wanted to share it with all of you. I hope it gives you as much peace as it has given me.

"Death is but a transition from this life to another existence where there is no more pain or anguish. That knowledge helps me, in my own losses and grief, to know that those I care for are okay. That I will see them again. And, those I love now, I will look after when I am gone. I will laugh with them and smile at them. And if they didn't believe in life after death, I will make funny faces at them and say, 'Ha ha, we are here and okay.' I know that the only thing that really lasts forever is love, and I will miss so much about the life I had and the people I have lost."

On Grief and Grieving
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler
Kalen Kitagawa (Cousin)
November 7th, 2008
Dear Lorraine and family,

I can't imagine losing a child so young, how difficult it must be for all of you. Find comfort in knowing that Claire will forever be with you in all the memories you have of her. There is such a striking resemblance to you, Lorraine, especially the picture of her in the pool.

Time is the greatest healer so hopefully after a while the pain will lessen. Take good care of each other.

With deepest sympathy,
Lea Suzuki (Friend)
November 5th, 2008
I miss you sooo much! It's has been really hard..the world series came and gone and I wanted to call Claire to tell her how upset I was that the Rays LOST! Football... Claire could be helping me so that I could at least win some money...:)The Maui softball Tournament is near and all I can think of is the time we spent in Maui...and although we did have some dramas we had a lot fun...The holidays are near and I wished Claire was here with us. This thanksgiving, I give thanks to God for giving me a friend that I will always remember and keep close to my heart. I love you Claire! in peace my friend.
gennevie ockander (friend)
November 5th, 2008
Claire was a great JOY in the lives of many, many people. I will always remember the kindness she and Jen showed by welcoming me to their home when I first moved to Hilo in 2007 and I didn't know a soul there. She certainly took good care of people throughout her life, and was a kind and compassionate soul. Last night I told Aunty Lorraine that Claire made good use of the 44 years of life that God gave her. She helped many people and she left indelible positive impact in so many ways. I know that there are many folks who miss Claire and I include myself in that crowd. We can continue to live Claire's legacy by following her example of generosity, kindness, compassion, and fun.
Lori Tsuhako (Friend)
November 3rd, 2008
I thought as time went on it would get a little easier....but it has not. I miss you Claire!!! I will remember you in life and keep your memories close to my heart. Rest in peace my friend!!! I love you, JEN
Jen Lustig (Friend)
November 3rd, 2008
We miss you sooo much!!! Everyday is a new day to reflect and admire the impact you have made in Ikaika's life. Memories of you will forever be with us. Let's all "LIVE ALOHA" and make this world a better place. Claire would expect that from all of us. Rest in Peace. Thanks Aunty Claire for the sign. Be Free!!! We love you, Ikaika and Kapua
Kapua and Ikaika (Family)
November 3rd, 2008
I miss you everyday. I see you in the faces of Ikaika and Kapua. There is an empty space at my table and in my heart. I am trying to weave my life in such a way that holds you close and lets you go. Only one month has gone by yet it seems so long. Love, Katherine
Kathleen Katt (Friend)
November 3rd, 2008
Thankyou nephew Glenn Sakamoto for this most comforting memorial site. Thank you Dear friends and family for sharing with us your thoughts and your love!
Our Dearest Loving Daughter Claire loved her family as she so loved life. [Claire's friends were considered her family too.] Claire was so generous, so compassionate, so thoughtful and so very special in so many many ways.
Claire, our Father in Heaven has taken you home to be with your brother Curtis. Even if it seems so unfair to not have you both here on earth with us, we are comforted to know that you are both at peace and with our Lord. There are no words that can express how much we miss you both.
Until we can hold you both in our arms again, we will hold you both in our hearts.
Lovingly, Dad [Mike] and mom{Lorraine]
Lorraine and Mike Kitagawa (mom and dad)
November 3rd, 2008
Claire I love you dearly and I miss you alot. I think about you everyday.You were always there for me supporting me in whatever decision I made with my children.Claire was like a sister to me.The day we met she always made me feel like part of the family.Claire I know that you are watching over us and you are probably having a great time with Curtis. I will cherish all my memories that I have with you. Until we meet again.Rest in peace. I love YOU! Donna
donna kitagawa (sister-in-law)
November 2nd, 2008
rest in peace
Lois Iwashita Brown (Friend)
October 28th, 2008
It took a trip away from UH Manoa to Cal State Northridge to meet Claire, and all of my UH-Manoa, and many transplanted Kama'aina friends, including Lynn and Rob, Mercelle and Banasha. We ventured out a bit to the "Mainland" and went back home to graduate. Eventually, we made it back to California, and spent many Thanksgivings and backyard barbecues together.

I remember it so well -- Claire calling her grandma and her mom back home trying to figure out how to make stuffing for the first turkey -- our first Thanksgiving away from home. Claire sending me back out to buy more of this or that. She totally ruled then, as I'm sure she's ruling now, wherever she is. I miss her dearly.

It seems unreal that it has been 20 years since I'd get those 9:30 p.m. calls from Claire at my apartment on campus at UH -- a conference call with Mercelle -- asking me if I wanted to go to Bobby McGees. Is it still there? And I'd say, "No, no, I have my term paper due." And they'd say, "Aww come on." It didn't take a lot of arm twisting, for a night of dancing, cruising around, Zippy's, or Halloween traipsing down in Waikiki, Claire in her pregnant nun costume. Great times.

We lost Lynn a couple of years ago, and I've lost touch with all of my Northridge Exchange friends, so if you're out there, I hope we can reconnect, too.

Claire was a wonderful friend, a superb athlete, very committed to the work she was doing, an extraordinarily hard worker, and she finally figured out the turkey thing. I cannot express how difficult it was to lose Lynn and now Claire. I will miss the missives from Wasabi. But I have faith, that wherever they are, Claire is telling Lynn she is screwing up the mashed potatoes. Again. I miss them both something awful.

It's wonderful to see she has touched so many, many people.

Mila Faraon
Redondo Beach, California
Mila Faraon (Friend)
October 26th, 2008
Aunty Claire was the best aunty in the world.She use to take us to fun factory when she came to Maui.I love you Aunty claire and i miss least you are up there with daddy.i hope your having fun in heaven.tell daddy i said hi.i love you!!!!!!!
Chynna Kitagawa (Niece)
October 22nd, 2008
Claire was one of a kind. She was an awesome human being just like her parents. Mr. and Mrs. Kitagawa and Claire impacted my life in the most beautiful and lasting way. Claire I love you my dearest friend, and will see you someday. With love and sorrow, Banasha Sadeghi, England
Banasha Sadeghi (Friend)
October 21st, 2008
I am deeply saddened to hear that Claire is no longer with us. I worked with her in Hilo when I first moved to Hawaii and lost touch when I had to move to Kona. I didn't even know she was ill although I had been thinking of her lately for some reason and wanted to reconnect. She was a kind and wonderful person. She helped me to understand Hawaii and made us feel so welcome. Her famiy even had my husband and I over to Maui to celebrate the new year our first year in the islands. Thank you so much for this memorial page. I will treasure memories of my time with her and I wish I had spent more time with her. God bless.
Amy Davis (prior co-worker and frien)
October 20th, 2008
Thank you, Rochelle (Iwashita) for sharing about Claire. (Though, we have never had the chance to meet or get to know most of you, we share the tears that surround a life now being celebrated elsewhere.) May the peace of the Lord be with all who loved her. May the beauty of God's gift of her smile brighten your day. May we be thankful each day for all that is provided. In Jesus' name, aloha...
ChuckandDeb Hazama (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
When I signed in I didn't realize that I could leave a message. As Claire would have said, "Duh Buta!" She and I were cousins and were fortunate enough to be born in the same year, 1964, Year of the Dragon! A dragon is so appropriate for Claire, as she had to fight the fight these past six months against the terrible illness of pancreatic cancer. She never complained about her illness and would refer to days as, "Today is a good day, or a bad day." I can still hear her words on the week before she passed and her determination on how she was going to beat the cancer because she didn't have a choice not to. I truly believe the dragon fought till the end.

Like the rest of you, I still can't believe she is gone and have come to know and understand the term, "Always in our hearts" I called Kapua today and she and I still feel we are in shock and that Claire is just around the corner. We were also excited talking about a skiing trip that we are all planning to take with the kids. No matter how much pain Claire was in she would get so excited when we would talk about a skiing trip with the kids and a family reunion. Like someone told me at the funeral, Claire had a way of bringing people together. And from what I saw, she brought all kinds of people together, from different races, occupations, interests and even states.

Thank you Glenn for putting this virutal memorial together. It was so comforting to read the stories that everyone had to share about Claire. Her spirit is definitely alive in us all. It is stories like these that will make the days a little easier and put our sadness into happy memories we've all had with Claire.

Thank you for your kind thoughts and words of comfort that you have expressed to the Kitagawa family and Kapua and Ikaika. We are honored to know you through your stories and memories of Claire.

Warmest Aloha,

Kalen (a.k.a. "Buta")
Kalen Kitagawa (Family)
October 20th, 2008
Claire.....I miss you soooo much!. Claire is my dearest friend, I did her & Kapua's taxes every year and we all worked at Care Hawaii. We both enjoyed playing softball. Claire and Z were both hard core New York Yankees fans!!!

Ever since I talked to Kapua on the phone on Oct. 3th, Its been really hard to accept Claire is not coming home. I have not had the heart to see Kapua because it hurts too much. I leave to work every morning thinking I'm going to see Claire at Starbucks or I'm going to pass her house and see her car still parked and wonder why the hell she's home and I'm working.

I feel Claire's presences everyday, thinking of Claire makes me cry, smile and angry. Angry at myself, that I did not get a chance to tell Claire how much I cherished our friendship, how much she meant to me, how much I loved her and just give her a great big hug. It's been really hard.... the last time I saw Claire was at Sheri's house, she told me about how she has found comfort going to church, I told her to hang in there. If I only knew.... I would have told her then and gave her that big hug.

Claire is a wonderful person.....No one in this world will ever take Claire's place in my heart.

I love you and miss you Claire....I pray that you stay with me in spirit.

Gennevie Ockander (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
We love and miss you Claire. You will always be here in our heart!
Yvette Maui (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
Claire was a genuine person. I enjoyed getting to know her when she lived in the San Fernando Valley. She was honest, real, funny, creative, and loving.
Grazia Coffin (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
It is still difficult to accept that Claire is gone. The last e-mail she sent me was on September 18. Claire was a true friend, a life long friend that I will dearly miss. Although we spent months without talking at times, we could still call each other whenever and have a great conversation.

I met Claire at mid-valley where we worked together for a few years. We developed a great friendship. She became Sushi and I became Taco. Claire and I both enjoyed playing softball. I even attempted to play golf. We kept talking about getting together to golf but for some reason or other we never did. We remained friends when I left to work as a teacher. We went to visit her, Kapua and Ikaika in Hilo and had a great timestaying in their home.

Sushi.... I love you and miss you terrribly. I think of you often and pray for your beautiful spirit.
Elizabeth Melendez (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
I am Claire's cousin Glenn. I live in Torrance, CA. Although Claire participated in my wedding as a guest reception helper 15 years ago, and I attended her going away party in California, I really did not know her well as well as I could have.

I always thought there would be more time. And now I wish I had spent more time with her. But I have been getting to know her through the many emails sent through this community who knew Claire so well. It has painted me a clearer picture of her loving, spirited nature.
Thank you all so much for keeping her memory alive.
Glenn Sakamoto (Cousin)
October 20th, 2008
I am proud to part of this email list (thought it was a little funny to get an email from 'Claire' at this time)

A few of us, who worked at Mid Valley with her have been communicating a lot lately because of this moment in our lives. From California to Virginia - Claire has put us back in touch with some of the special people in our lives. So in her way she is saying welcome home to us even here. We each had a special story and have shared.
I had the pleasure of working @ Mid Valley Youth Center and playing lots of golf with Claire. Each one was a pleasure and experience to enjoy with her.

At 9:30 Saturday 10/11 California time two of each shared a few moments talking and thinking of her as she was laid to rest 3000 miles away

Dino Quintanilla (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
Claire had such an impact on my life and I feel blessed to have known her. She was such an awesome person. I have never met anyone as giving and fair as she was. I miss her!!! She was and always will be a big part of my heart.
Jen Lustig (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
Claire was one of my closest and dearest friends though she used to enjoy flipping me the bird when i would see her driving around Hilo. We worked together at Care Hawaii and that's when she became one of my best friends . . she was one of the few people that could tell me just how it is without sugar coating anything. Claire was like the sister i never had and she will forever be missed. The last time i saw her is when she came back to Hilo for her chemo break where i threw a little dinner party at my house for her with our close friends . .she was in some pain that night and i know she was in pain since her diagnosis so i told her to call me when she's having a good day. When i heard the news I was extremely shocked and numb as i never thought of Claire eve passing . . i just figure that she would kick chemo's ass and that she would be just fine. I'm sure she's in a better place where she's no longer in pain and looking down at us and i'm sure very touched to know that she is remembered and loved by so many.

. . sheri hayamoto
Sheri Hayamoto (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
So many little things throughout the day happen, and remind me of Claire. Things I would have never thought of while she was with us, but somehow pop into my head. Although it makes me sad because I miss her so much, somehow, I end up smiling and sometimes laughing through it all.

I met Claire years ago playing women's professional baseball in California. A game Claire loved deep in her heart. I can still hear her voice encouraging teammates and, when necessary, cursing at the umpires.

We started a company called Line Drive Productions in 1996, it never really took off, as a matter of fact, the first event we only made one dollar. When we were asked how we did, we would smile at each other and say, "we made a profit". We really didn't care, it gave us an opportunity to play baseball and that was more important to us than anything at that time.

Claire had nicknames for everybody. I hardly remember her calling me by my real name. Her favorite was Howly girl, (sp?) mostly because of the discomfort she would see in my face from that name, thank god she settled on Critter instead.

Claire was goodness. She had genuine goodness. Strong values and morals, dedicated to the things that mattered to her and a gentle, true, kind heart.

I consider myself fortunate to have called myself her friend.

I miss her dearly.
Beverly Critcher (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
Dearest Claire....Soft spoken, kind, ethical, caring, with a heart of gold......Claire and I worked together for many years at Mid Valley Youth Center. She was an amazing individual and was not afraid of work. I know she touched the lives of many a young person and was instrumental in pointing them on a better road then the one they were on... I too shall miss her. I last saw her in Hilo when I was in Hawaii on vacation.. We had lunch and as always she sent chocolates and coffee home with me for my girls.... She is now with the Lord and at peace..
Peggy Wilson Jordan (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
I went to elementary and high school with Claire. I will never forget her spunk, energetic personality, intense presence, and positive attitude. She was a great friend who thought of others before herself.

Although I went to school with her and considered her a good friend, it was so fulfilling to hear details of her wonderful life from others that I hadn't known about her.

I will cherish her gift to us in bringing us all together to reminisce about the good ol' days. I am grateful for having been in her life. Even though I'll miss her deeply, I am comforted that she is no longer suffering and know that she is at peace with God in His Kingdom.

I am grateful for having met Kapua and her wonderful son. Peace be with you.

Ellie Poche
Ellie Poche (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
I still cannot believe that Claire is gone, but it was so evident that her spirit lives on. Seeing how much joy we had in coming together even through our sadness of losing her, made me realize that her gift to us will remain forever--that gift of love. I made new friends during this time (Kapua, Ikaika, Pii, Yvette, Donna, etc.) and reconnected with old friends (the Kitagawas, my classmates, and other childhood friends) in a new and deeper way--one of the many things I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Even though we weren't in close contact these past years, having grown up with Claire, I miss knowing that she is in the world. But having just lost my dad, and now my childhood friend, I now understand what they mean when they say that people live on in our hearts. I felt her when we were all together, even the night of her service, laughing together and celebrating together like she was still there with us. And I know it's because she WAS and IS still here with us. What was truly Claire--her spirit is still with us, brining us joy and I know we will particularly feel her with us whenever we are all together. This weekend, coming together for Claire was a gift that has marked my life in a way that I will never forget. I think only she knows how much she gave to me, even now. Thanks Claire. Love, Jodi
Jodi Kimura (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
Claire was truly a gift. I was a classmate of hers in high school and have fond memories. Lots of laughs and good times. It's amazing to think that exactly one year ago, we were all together in Las Vegas for our 25th class reunion and a week ago, shed tears of her loss.

It was such a blessing for our many classmates to get together during her services. What a nice feeling it was for the Kitagawa's to invite us into their home until the wee hours of the night, several nights in a row. It was very comforting to be there. I recall her email to me when she was diagnosed stating the awesome family she had and the support they will give her. It was nice to see you all again.

My love also to Kapua and Ikaika.

Love and Aloha

Jenny Borge
Jenny Borge (Friend)
October 20th, 2008
55 entries
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"Claire...if only heaven had visiting hours. I miss you so, so much! Rest in eternal love!"
Cheryl Lawrence
October 1st, 2018
"Sending you some aloha on this day...still missing you everyday! Blessings for continued peace!"
Cheryl Lawrence
October 2nd, 2015
"Here's 50 candles plus one for good luck!!!! Miss you my friend!!!!"
Jen Lustig
March 2nd, 2014
"Happy 50th birthday, Claire. You know how much you are loved and missed. Hope that you are celebrating BIG!!"
Lori Tsuhako
March 2nd, 2014
"Here's that one extra good luck candle I am putting on your cake!!!! Happy 50th Birthday Claire!! We love & miss you very much!!!!"
Emerald Machida
March 1st, 2014
Lehua (Brown) Agarpao
March 1st, 2014
"Here's 50 candles, plus one for good luck….miss you so much, but know you are watching over all of us and for that I still feel your loving heart beating and entwined with the memories you shared with me…..Happy 50th Fukuko!"
Cheryl Lawrence
March 1st, 2014
"Wow, Fukuko...five whole years have passed with me hearing your shouts of "Manapua" as you drive pass by our house. Whoever said time heals never lost some one as dear as you, because we all still miss your beauty, grace, thoughtfulness and hugs..."
Cheryl Lawrence
October 2nd, 2013
"Hoping you are enjoying your "special day!" Miss you lots, Fukuko! A hui ho!"
Cheryl Lawrence
March 1st, 2013
"It's been four years since I last heard your comforting voice, felt your lovely hugs or saw your beautiful smile...miss you so much! There will NEVER be another like you! May our Lord always keep you safe and content in his loving hands."
Cheryl Lawrence
October 3rd, 2012


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