4/21/2010 More doctor visits.
Judith Lee Ishimoto
  • 67 years old
  • Date of birth: Jun 1, 1946
  • Place of birth:
    Everette, Washington, United States
  • Date of passing: Jan 30, 2014
  • Place of passing:
    Kapolei, Hawaii, United States
An unbeatable spirit is what supplies the power to keep pressing ahead

Judy passed away on January 30 2014 at 4:30pm from complications due to her life long struggle with muscular dystrophy.  Living in a nursing home in Kapolei and with the help of hospice services, she died peacefully and without pain.  On the last day there were many visitors, but at the end it was just Judy and I as she waited for everyone else to leave.

My mother Judy went into the nursing home in July 2007 and it was a difficult transition for both of us.  She gave up much of her independent life and I became her advocate and administator.  Being that she had an unbeatable spirit, this was just one more obstacle to over come.  She made new friends, fashioned beautiful christmas ornaments, studied her books and fought back the pain.

Two days before she died, while visiting I fell asleep in a chair next to her bed.  I awoke to find her awake and watching me wide eyed.  She said to "come and lay down" and I said "I'm ok".  Still being a mom she replied "no you're not".  On the last day my wife arrived and told her it was all going to be ok and that she would take care of me.  Minutes later she passed.

I was supposed to be taking care of her and all this time she was caring for me. Her absence is larger than I was prepared for.  I wander the house now without energy or direction to do anything.  The hole in my heart is so large that I will never be the same.  I will miss her always.



*On June 4th 2014 at 10:30am, Judy was laid to rest near the slopes of Diamond Head.  Wanting for us to be together again one day, Judy requested her last name be changed to Hangai on the stone.  And so it was done and one day I will join her.



Today is January 30 2015 and it is one year since my mothers passing.  Even after a full year, it's still hard to believe she has left us.  I still have the urge to pick up the phone to call her and discuss events of the day.  I will always miss her.


Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Robert Hangai, Jr. on 31st January 2016

"I often think of mom while looking at the many memories scattered about my house.  Her pottery, furniture, and small pieces of craftwork now fill the shelves and corners of my home.  All these objects fills the spaces with her warm energy and makes me feel like I'm not alone."

This tribute was added by Selina Higa on 30th January 2016

"Hi Robby,
Your mom is always with you, looking after you. I know that. Our parents may leave us physically, but they are always with us, spiritually and in our hearts. I will always cherish the conversations I had with your mom. She was a gem that no one could out shine in her caring and giving ways. Take care of yourself and your family. Remember, your mom is always there.She always has your back . love, selina"

This tribute was added by CY SHIMAMOTO on 1st June 2015

"Judy has played a major role in my life.  I will remember her for as long as I live and will always love her.  There can only be one Judy and it was to my good fortune to have known her and to have been touched by her.  Sigh.  FYI - she really liked Arlo Guthrie's music, and I do too."

This tribute was added by Robert Hangai, Jr. on 1st June 2015

"What I miss most was your ability to live in the moment.  Not getting stuck in the past or mired down about events that may come.  To live every day to the fullest and savor the smallest things in life.  To make friends and just be comfortable in one's own skin.  Sounds like a life well lived.  Happy Birthday Mom!"

This tribute was added by Mark Troedson on 1st June 2015

"Happy birthday Judy !
I feel like I know you now; and am grateful that you are in Peace today.
Robert keep carrying on like you do. Both of you are inspirations to me and countless others. God bless you.

This tribute was added by Susan Nishimura on 30th January 2015

"I think of her often -  I miss her laugh and her smile - she is always in my heart.


This tribute was added by Robert Hangai, Jr. on 30th January 2015

"Mom, I will always miss you. I love you."

This tribute was added by Leimomi Dela Cruz on 1st June 2014

"Happy Birthday My Big Sister."

This tribute was added by Leimomi Dela Cruz on 1st June 2014

"June 1st, 2014
Happy Birthday My Big Sister Judith.

I miss you so much my big sister.
I miss stopping by at Ka Puna' Wai' Ola to see you
We have so much special memories together, my big sister.

When you could not return to your apartment #1302.
No matter where you go I will be there for you.
I love riding the bus, so it was no problem for me.

I remember the times we stroll across the mall in Kapolei.
We were steady customers for Longs, McDonald's, & Safeway.  
We laugh, we cry, and sad when time for me to leave you.

You always worry about me, like a big sister does and I love you for
caring about me. You are a family to me and my kids.
They all remember you and ask about you.

I know you are resting, and you are in the Lord's Hands.
No more pain or suffering. Jesus Loves You.

I Love you Always and Forever your Little Sister Lei"

This tribute was added by Leimomi Dela Cruz on 1st June 2014

"June 1st, 2014

Happy Birthday My Big Sister Judith.                      
Love and Miss you sooo much. Muuuah! :-*

I will always remember the *Good Times* we shared together.

When you scold me, like a big sister does. I loved it because you care.
When we heading out for a stroll. We could not decide where we should go to hang out since we been there every weekend in Kapolei mall.
Our favorite spots was.
1. Longs, looking in every isle checking out the sales, thinking what should we buy to take back for snack, & Looking at Birthday cards see if they had any funny ones so we could laugh together.
2.  McDonald"s time for lunch we stop to get Fish Filet, & Coffee, Black for you. Chicken wrap, and my coffee with a special French Vanilla creamer for me. (yup! I could hear you saying, thats not coffee you drinking). It's more creamer than coffee. We laugh out loud.;-0.
3)Safeway, we then check out their Beautiful flowers arrangements, and their cold turkey sandwiches & Oat meal cookies. :-)

My Big sister, I can go on and on about all the wonderful memories we shared together, scolding, laughing and sad when time for me to leave. you. How time flies by when we are  together :-).
My Big sister you will always be with me in my heart no matter where you are, *I Love You*.
No more pain or suffering *You are in the Lord's Hands*.

Love you soooo much Your Little sister Lei"

This tribute was added by Marie Halverson on 1st June 2014

"Happy Birthday love always your sister marie"

This tribute was added by Marie Halverson on 24th March 2014

"I haven't seen my sister since I was three years old,I will cherish the letters she sent me over the years and thought about her over the years . I will miss my sister . She was so beautiful !!"

This tribute was added by Diana Astley on 23rd March 2014

"Judy is my sister that i havent seen since i was a little girl. She has always been in my heart. I still have the letters that she wrote me and i will always cherish them. Your sister Diana."

This tribute was added by Mark Troedson on 20th March 2014

"What a beautiful, moving memorial that will live with me forever.
I didn't know your mom, Robert; but through this lovely tribute to your mother I feel like I have known you both for many years. Love, Mark"

This tribute was added by Selina Higa on 8th March 2014

"Hi Robbie,
I will always treasure and cherish the times and conversations I had with your mom. Such a special and wonderful person. So, knowledgeable, forthcoming, honest, and genuine. From the first day i met her, she made me comfortable in interviewing her about her condition and her struggles, but more importantly how she overcame most of them and found ways to cope and continue to not just help herself, but help so many others in life and at VR. She was a terrific lady that I learned so much in life from and will remember her always. Take care of yourself Robbie, your mom will always be with you, in your heart and yes, she is always watching over you and your family. She was so proud of you and she raised you well. Thank you for sharing this memorial. My heart fell when I learned of her passing. love, selina"

This tribute was added by Mildred Ige on 3rd March 2014

I was very privileged to have known your mom both professionally and as a friend. She cherished and appreciated you so much, along with all things in nature: plants, sea shells, dogs, nature's beauty; Japanese art, books, haiku and the many people she came in contact with...What made her so special was her humility and her fearlessness in speaking up and defending what she believed in. She will be truly missed and will always hold a special place in all of our hearts."

This tribute was added by Kathy Westlake on 2nd March 2014

"I had the privilege of going through the UH Master of Social Work Program with Judy when I was Kathy Sato.  Judy was such a shining example of not allowing medical challenges throw roadblocks on a goal you want to achieve.  There are always those you remember and even after receiving my MSW 30 years ago, thank you, Judy for showing us that if you put your mind to it, you can do it, no matter what the struggle.  May wonderful memories help fill the void .....Aloha, Judy."

This tribute was added by juanita cook on 27th February 2014

I just learned of Judy's passing. We worked together at VR in the  90's. She was an indomitable spirt, a good friend, and one of the best counselors I've ever known. I am sorry for for loss but know how blessed you were to have her as a Mom."

This tribute was added by Laulani Murakami on 27th February 2014

"Sophie and I would like to THANK YOU very much for having us visit you all these years.  You have been an inspiration to me.  I will miss you and the fun times, chatting and your smile evne when you were down.  Sophie used to like you petting her.  It was a joy to have had you as my dear friend.  I will always remember you in my heart.  A hui hou until we meet again in the next life.  Love Laulani and Sophie"

This tribute was added by Jason Jue on 26th February 2014

"From our family to your family our deepest sympathy on the loss of your Mom. The lost of a Mom is very deep, but I believe that she would  want you to keep on going and not grieve too much. She is always around you and watching. I feel this everyday. Your memories will keep you going. I have watch you grow to be a good man and very caring to Alayna and Mom. It's good to have you in the family.  Love you, Aunty Kathleen, Uncle Eddie, Michael and Jason.  P.S. As the days go by, you will feel better and Mom knows you are trying."

This tribute was added by carol takiguchi on 26th February 2014

"In memory of a mother,,I remember thee in this solemn hour, my dear mother, I remember the days when thou didst dwell on earth, and thy tender love watched over me like a guardian angel, thou has gone from me, but the bond which unites our souls can never be severed, thine image lives within my heart,may the merciful Father reward thee for the faithfulness and kindness thou hast ever shown me! May He lift up the light of his countenance upon thee and grant thee eternal peace!   Amen!    Our love. To you Robby and Alayna,,,aunty carol"

This tribute was added by Nelson Wong on 26th February 2014

"Someone had told me this and I have never forgotten it.
A person can tell how successful in life they were, by the amount of people that attended your funeral and that have remembered you.  Truly Judy, you have touched a lot of people and your life a very success.  My heart goes out to you and your family.  Aloha"

This tribute was added by cari ishimaru on 26th February 2014

"What a wonderful tribute from such an awesome and loving son. Mom Judy, you inspired me and continue to do so. I am awestruck in your strength, courage, and determination to never give up no matter what the situation. Rob, with memories such as yours, your mom will forever be lived through you...and I am honored and blessed to have you as part of my family. It is with deepest and sincerest sympathies that me, Brian, and Lloyd offer you, and peace knowing that your mom was truly loved by those who knew her.  Be comforted knowing she is no longer in pain and "whole" again. We love you!!!"

This tribute was added by Gaye Arakaki on 26th February 2014

Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to your mother.  She was very supportive of my family when our mothers were roommates in
'08-'09.  Please know that your mom's kindness and caring ways were so helpful and much appreciated."

This tribute was added by Jannine Oyama on 24th February 2014


With all of your stories about your mom throughout the years, I feel as though I knew her.  Your memorial in her honor touched me deeply.  Sending you and your family hugs and positive energy as you heal.  

This tribute was added by Mike Yamaguchi on 24th February 2014

"To the Ohana for the late Judith. We are sadden to hear that Judith has passed on to her new journey up in the heavens above. Me and my Shiba Inu pet therophy team enjoy coming to visit her every month. We always have nice convocations with her and her lady friend thats there when we come to visit. This is the only part we hate about doing our visits to the facility. We visit patients very month, then we get real close to them and when we get to thier room, their not there any more. We just hope they got better and went home to their family. But when we find out that they have passed away, it's sad and painfull to see that one of our friends have gone away. So in the behalf of my Joy Ambassidors team Shiba Inu we send our condolences to the Ohana of the late Judith Ishimoto. Aloha Judith."

This tribute was added by Lea Grupen on 24th February 2014

"Judy, I am one of the few still remaining at VR who had the privilege and honor of knowing you. You taught me so much about what it means to be a good VR counselor when I was totally "green".  You are so smart, and so funny, and so anchored in your beliefs. You always took the time to patiently discuss the myriad of questions I brought to you.  You are and will always be a class act. Much love always to you and your family.  Judy, you made a HUGE difference in the world. You made it a better place for countless people."

This tribute was added by CY SHIMAMOTO on 24th February 2014

"I will ALWAYS love you, miss you and remember you.
Thank you for leading me on the right path and for teaching me so much.  I am extremely heartbroken."

This tribute was added by Albert Perez on 24th February 2014


From that first day in the Summer of '74, Gwen & I knew you'd be special.  And what a special classmate, co-worker & more importantly a friend you've been.  There is too few left at VR that had the privilege of knowing you.  But know that your belief in people & your sense of doing whats right, will carry-on.  Rest well my friend, I will love you always."

This tribute was added by Dayna Kuhiiki on 19th February 2014

"it was a honor knowing a special and loving person like you...You will be truely missed and forever in my heart always... I love you Mrs. Ishimoto"

This tribute was added by Susan Nishimura on 16th February 2014

"It's taken me awhile to be able to sit down and write-even tho' I've come to this page almost every day since Robbie created it-to read his words and "hear" Judy one more time - her love, compassion and determination.  Although I've know Judy for over 50 years I've learned things I didn't know about her.  She is my hero.  No matter what obstacles where in front of her she overcame them.  She never gave up-never complained.  She will always be in my heart."

This tribute was added by Rita Luke on 13th February 2014

I so enjoyed your beautiful spirit when visiting my shop in downtown.  Loved having conversations with you.  You are no longer in pain.  Spread your wings and fly to heaven knowing you are so loved and will truly be missed.  May God bless your family with comfort and peace in their hearts.  Aloha Oe!"

This tribute was added by gwen rivera on 10th February 2014


With every story you tell and every memory you share, your mom lives on thru you...."

This tribute was added by Alayna Hangai on 5th February 2014

"You will always remain in our hearts and minds.  We love you, mom!"

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This memorial is administered by:

Robert Hangai, Jr.


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