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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, April 3, 2003

Mary Makapagal, early childhood educator, dead at 95

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Mary de Guzman Makapagal, an educator and leader in the local Filipino community, died March 31. She was 95.

Makapagal was born in Malolos Bulacan, Philippines, and she moved to Hawai'i in 1912 at age 4. The family lived on Kaua'i, O'ahu and the Big Island before settling on Maui, where Makapagal spent most of her childhood.

A graduate of Maui High School, Makapagal went to Honolulu, where she baby-sat and kept house for a family to earn money for school. She attended the Honolulu Bible Institute and the University of Hawai'i, where she took up early childhood education.

In 1923, she met the Rev. Braulio Makapagal, and the couple married six years later. Her husband was assigned to a church in Lahaina, and Mary Makapagal was able to return "home" and raise her family.

Mary Makapagal helped to establish a preschool and kindergarten at the Lahaina United Methodist Church. When the Makapagals moved to Honolulu in 1959, she helped found a preschool at Aldersgate United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Makapagal died in 1961, but Mary Makapagal continued to serve the church for the next 42 years. In 1981, she chronicled the achievements of Hawai'i's Filipinos in the three-volume "Who's Who Among Hawai'i's Filipinos."

She is survived by sons, Braulio "Buddy" and Francis "Darryl"; daughter, Lee; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren. Memorial service 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Aldersgate United Methodist Church.