An unbeatable spirit is what supplies the power to keep pressing ahead
  • 67 years old
  • Born on June 1, 1946 in Everette, Washington, United States.
  • Passed away on January 30, 2014 in Kapolei, Hawaii, United States.

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.



January 2018.  Has it been 4 years?  Mother once told me that when she's gone, I'm going to miss her.  She probably said it after one of our epic political arguments.  And she was right.  I do miss her more than ever.  Now that my wife is suffering stage 4 cancer, I more than ever need her wisdom and compassion.  All I can do now is to reflect upon her strength and grow from her example.  I will always miss her.


Posted by Susan Nishimura on January 31, 2019
Memories keep you with me always -
Posted by Selina Higa on January 31, 2019
Robby, your mom, Judy, was a special lady and i had the privilege to work with her and to have some deep conversations with her. She lives with you forever and i know is always watching over you. That is the special lady and mom she was and will always be in spirit. Her positive spirit will never die and will always blanket you as you need her. Take care. i will always remember Judy in a special way and know that i was blessed to have known her. Her heart and positive energy in the world lives on in many of us whose life she touched. Thank you Judy for sharing your life and energy with us. Take care my friend. Continue to watch over Robby.
Posted by CY SHIMAMOTO on January 30, 2019
one of the best lines in a movie, ever, was in Phenomenon between John Travolta and Kyra Sedgewick. John was on the bed in his last moments when he asked Kyra, "Will you love me for the rest of my life?" She said, "No, I will love you for the rest of mine."
Posted by Nelson Wong on February 25, 2018
Thank you for keeping in touch with me by email for Judith. She is a special person in my heart. Her life, her Love and her motivation have inspired me to this day. I know she is doing well and misses everyone that also touched her heart. People like her can never be forgotten. I only wish that I had the opportunity to have met your mom and have nice conversations with her. Thank you.
Posted by Robert Hangai, Jr. on February 1, 2018
I was driving home from work a couple months ago when a overwhelming sense of love wrapped around me like a giant hug. It lasted only a moment but I know mother was there in the car with me.
Posted by Mark Troedson on January 30, 2018
Robert, This month is Evelyn, my moms, one year death anniversary. I always appreciate Judith's reminder and the music played. We all must leave this earth one day; but the tribute you have done for your mom will be with us always !! LOL Mark
Posted by Susan Nishimura on January 30, 2018
Memories keep you always near.
Posted by Susan Nishimura on June 6, 2017
Always thinking of you --
Posted by Robert Hangai, Jr. on June 1, 2017
Missing my mom on her birthday. I think about her often and wish we had more time....
Posted by CY SHIMAMOTO on June 1, 2017
Happy birthday Judy - I will never forget you, will always miss you, and will always love you.
Posted by Susan Nishimura on February 2, 2017
I think of you often- missing our talks. I keep seeing the two of us - driving down Farrington in that blue "bomb" car with the top down, Grandma Phillips in the back seat - and you and I just laughing and laughing.
Posted by Mark Troedson on January 30, 2017
I am always touched by your website's music, sharing and Love. My mom passed peacefully on January 2nd, 2017. I will remember her always; and all that I learned form her about living & loving life. As with you Robert I will miss her; but feel her love daily. Thanks for being a part of my life : Robby and Judy !!
Posted by Robert Hangai, Jr. on January 31, 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.
Posted by Selina Higa on January 30, 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
Posted by Mark Troedson on June 1, 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. Mark
Posted by Robert Hangai, Jr. on June 1, 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!
Posted by CY SHIMAMOTO on June 1, 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.
Posted by Robert Hangai, Jr. on January 30, 2015
Mom, I will always miss you. I love you.
Posted by Susan Nishimura on January 30, 2015
I think of her often - I miss her laugh and her smile - she is always in my heart. Susan
Posted by Marie Halverson on June 1, 2014
Happy Birthday love always your sister marie
Posted by Leimomi Dela Cruz on June 1, 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
Posted by Leimomi Dela Cruz on June 1, 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
Posted by Leimomi Dela Cruz on June 1, 2014
Happy Birthday My Big Sister.
Posted by Marie Halverson on March 24, 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 !!
Posted by Diana Astley on March 23, 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.
Posted by Mark Troedson on March 20, 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
Posted by Selina Higa on March 8, 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
Posted by Mildred Ige on March 3, 2014
Robert, 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.
Posted by Kathy Westlake on March 2, 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.
Posted by Laulani Murakami on February 27, 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
Posted by Juanita Cook on February 27, 2014
Robbie, 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.
Posted by Gaye Arakaki on February 26, 2014
Robert, 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.
Posted by Cari Ishimaru on February 26, 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!!!
Posted by Nelson Wong on February 26, 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
Posted by Carol Takiguchi on February 26, 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
Posted by Jason Jue on February 26, 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.
Posted by Jannine Oyama on February 24, 2014
Robert, 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. Jannine
Posted by Albert Perez on February 24, 2014
Judy, 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.
Posted by CY SHIMAMOTO on February 24, 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.
Posted by Lea Grupen on February 24, 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.
Posted by Mike Yamaguchi on February 24, 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.
Posted by Dayna Kuhiiki on February 19, 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
Posted by Susan Nishimura on February 16, 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.
Posted by Rita Luke on February 13, 2014
Judith, 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!
Posted by Gwen Rivera on February 10, 2014
Robert, With every story you tell and every memory you share, your mom lives on thru you....
Posted by Alayna Hangai on February 5, 2014
You will always remain in our hearts and minds. We love you, mom!

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