Randy Haru Fukumoto has come to stay with us at Caring House, and we are honored to welcome him and his ohana.
Randy was born on February 10, 1932, the sixth of eleven children to Kakuichi and Asao Yamada Fukumoto in beautiful Kaloa, Kauai, Hawaii. He graduated from Kauai High School in Lihue, where he lettered in both football (end) and baseball (left outfielder).
Randy met the love of his life, Esther, at a football game. She was a song leader for Waimea High School, a long-time rival of Kauai High, so there was a lot of teasing back and forth. They dated for seven years, married on February 19, 1955, and soon after, they were blessed with the birth of their son, Wayne.
The following was shared about Randy and Esther on the occasion of his retirement: “There is an old saying, ‘To any man’s success, there is a woman, who stood by his side, good or bad, rain or shine, she stood tall with him’ – and yes, she did – she certainly did! They celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary in February 2021.”
Following high school, Randy attended the Chicago College of Trades with plans to open his own automotive shop, but those plans were interrupted when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. In the midst of the Korean War, he completed basic training at Schofield Army Barracks in Hawaii, and then he was assigned to the Signal Corps. Although he was attached to the 518 Combat Engineers in St. Johann, Austria, he was selected to stay behind in the U.S., which his family considered a stroke of luck.
Randy completed his service in 1954, and upon returning to civilian life, his good looks and brains drove him down a different career path – at least according to Esther! He worked as a sales representative for Mill Co. Lumber & Hardware Stores from 1955 to 1966, calling on purchasing agents from all branches of the armed forces and all over Hawaii.
Then, in September of 1966, Randy moved his family from Hawaii to California, where they settled in Gardena and he started working for Mayfair Markets. This would become his penultimate career move.
The next year, he began working for Gelson’s Market, and he was with the company for the remainder of his career – serving as clerk, buyer, manager and finally, Director of Produce – leaving only briefly during the gas shortages of the 1970’s. In that time, he worked for Valu Markets in Torrance, which his family said worked out… it was great for gas, since the store was located less than five minutes from home!
His promotion to produce buyer was also rather serendipitous, following a colleague’s unfortunate car accident. His family said, “This was all new to him with no training and big shoes to fill. He did it! His common sense and a will to be successful made him a great buyer for all eight stores then.”
Randy retired from Gelson’s in 1997 after 28 years with the company and 31 years in the business. His family said he truly loved his work, and he was well-respected by all his fellow co-workers and management.
In addition to his career, Randy is an avid golfer, a whiz at crossword puzzles, and widely-regarded as one of the most generous and caring men most people will ever meet. However, it is clear from his time at Caring House that Randy loves nothing more than his family, which also includes a beloved granddaughter, Kelsey, step-granddaughter, Lori Ann, and soon-to-be great-grandchild.
Randy passed away on October 4, 2021. Honor him. Remember him.
A hui hou.