Herbert Akira Kawai
March 11, 1932 – March 15, 2021
“I love you and I’m proud of you” are words we all crave from our parents. Thank you Dad for blessing us with your words. The legacy of love that you and Mom cultivated will continue to be passed on to your three generations and beyond.
Herb Kawai celebrated his 89th birthday with his family days before he passed away peacefully in his sleep. He was born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii. He was a Palama boy who didn’t come from wealth but became a man who was rich in relationships. He graduated from Iolani School in 1951, attended the University of Hawaii, and served in the U.S. Army. Although Herb never thought of leaving Hawaii, he followed his heart to LA in 1955 and married his high school sweetheart, Ruth Takamoto.
It’s remarkable at 23, Herb was a husband, a drafting student at LACC, a part time worker, and father to his first child. Herb and Ruth were active in their Carson community and raised four children, all USC graduates. Herb had a 30-year career as a power draftsman at the Department of Water and Power, retiring with a great pension at 55. He later worked as a travel agent and he and Ruth became world travelers. He also enjoyed golfing at courses across the U.S. and Canada.
Herb had many friends and was dedicated to a number of organizations: Hawaiian Golf Club, YMCA Indian Guides, Y’s Men, Sons of Hawaii, Little League, Golf Travelers, Prime Timers Travel Group, and a new member of Gardena Valley Baptist Church.
Herb will be forever loved by his four children, Linda Okumura (Donn), Brian Kawai (Cristina), Sharon Nagasaki (Jeff), and Todd Kawai (Pam); his 13 grandchildren who called him “Bapa”, and three great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by his beloved wife of 60 years, Ruth Kawai. Herb will be interred in Hawaii at the National Cemetery of the Pacific this summer.