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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Hiroshi Yamashita, former head of BOE, dead at 79

Advertiser Staff

Hiroshi Yamashita, former chairman of the state Board of Education and president of the National School Board Association, died July 12, 2004. He was 79.

Hiroshi Yamashita

Yamashita, whose 16 years of service on the state school board included duties as the state's chief negotiator with the Department of Education's teachers and unionized administrators, died in Las Vegas, where he made his home upon retirement.

Gov. John A. Burns appointed Yamashita to the state Board of Education in 1965. At the time, Yamashita was serving his second term on the Big Island School Advisory Council.

In 1966, Yamashita ran for office and won a Big Island seat on the state's first elected Board of Education. The board elected him chairman in 1972 and he served in that capacity until 1974.

He served as president of the National School Board Association in 1979-80. In 1980, President Carter appointed him to the newly created Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Education, a 20-member task force that recommended national initiatives in schooling.

Yamashita, who was born in 1924 in 'Ola'a, Hawai'i, was associated with the sugar industry for many years. As industrial relations officer at O'ahu Sugar Co., he served as community liaison and was in charge of the workplace safety program.

When he retired in 1990, he moved from Honolulu to Las Vegas at the recommendation of doctors who called for a hot and dry climate to accommodate his wife's health.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara Kim Yamashita; sons, Edward and Wayne (Sharlene); and grandchildren, Corey and Michelle.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Diamond Head Mortuary chapel on 18th Avenue, with visitation beginning at 9:30 a.m.