HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - For more than 40 years, families in Honolulu flocked to Richard Tajiri’s holiday pop-up shop for their Christmas tree needs.
It was clear Mr. Tajiri had a passion for his customers, his business and loved what he did.
Family members told Hawaii News Now Tajiri died after a battle with prostate cancer on Sunday. He had just turned 78 years old on Jan. 2.
His wife Paula Tajiri said he died surrounded by family and close friends. She said he hoped no one would be saddened because he always wanted everyone to be happy.
Throughout the many years of his business, he always aimed to spread the holiday cheer, and satisfy his customer’s wishes.
“Whatever people want, we will do it,” he told Hawaii News Now in Nov. 2018 as brightly sprayed colored trees became the fad.
“It’s the satisfaction. Happy people. And I get to see some of my customers, — some have been buying from me for 35, 40 years,” he said. “It’s like what my wife said ‘this is no money making anymore. It’s your pet, that’s all you do. You’re just having a toy. It’s like your toy,’” he laughed.
On his birthday, his family threw a small gathering. They said he smiled many times throughout it.
The family said he will be cremated on the mainland and a private gathering will be held. Plans for a Hawaii memorial are in the works, but they’ll likely put something together around the holiday season in mid-December this year.
As for the business, Paula said they will continue his legacy of selling trees in Moiliili for the next seven years. By then, the business will have reached its 50th anniversary. Paula says that’s what he wanted.