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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Yuri Shoho, 107, was 'happy-go-lucky'

By Christie Wilson
Neighbor Island Bureau

Her children are at a loss to explain the longevity of Yuri Shoho of 'Ele'ele, Kaua'i, who died last week at age 107.

Yasunobu Shoho, 78, of Kane'ohe, said yesterday his mother was rarely sick, except for a cold now and then. Maybe her good health was a result of eating a lot of fish and drinking sake, or perhaps it was her happy-go-lucky attitude, he said.

Or maybe her frequent trips to Las Vegas to play the slots kept her spry. Shoho, who died April 1 at Hale Kupuna Heritage Home, was forced to stop traveling only after she fell during her last Las Vegas visit at age 96.

"Gambling — that was all she did. She never went to see the shows or anything," said daughter Ann Yoshioka, 69, of Kailua, O'ahu.

Her funeral was held last week on Kaua'i, her home since arriving in Hawai'i as a 19-year-old picture bride. Her late husband, Fusado Shoho, was an overseer for Kaua'i Pineapple, inspecting the fields on horseback until the company bought him a pickup truck.

Shoho was born Feb. 25, 1895, in Yamaguchi, Japan, and worked in the Lawai cannery.

Together they had 11 children; all but one are alive today.

Yoshioka recalls that every year her mother made quilts for each of her children, originally by hand and then with a pedal-powered Singer sewing machine. She'd start in January to give herself enough time to get all the quilts done by the end of the year, Yoshioka said. The tradition continued until Shoho was 95.

She also enjoyed Japanese card games, playing right up to her final days.

"For her age, her mind was very alert. She knew all the names and birthdays of her grandchildren, and I don't even know that," Yoshioka said.

No one at Hale Kupuna Heritage Home remembers caring for anyone older than Shoho, said nurse's aide Melissa Carcueva. She described the woman as "happy-go-lucky, always smiling. She was a cute lady."

She also was strong, Carcueva said, and able to get around on her own using a walker until last year.

Shoho is also survived by sons Haruto, Russell, Reynold and Donald of California; daughters Hatsumi Nakagawara and Chizuko Shinseki of Kaua'i and Yoshino Tamaye of O'ahu, Ethel Matsuda of Las Vegas; 23 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.