Crediting a life of hard work, a Honolulu woman celebrates her 102nd birthday

Crediting a life of hard work, a Honolulu woman celebrates her 102nd birthday
Eleanor Akiyama smiles beneath her mask in the days leading up to her 102nd birthday. (Source: Family / Maunalani Nursing home)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ms. Eleanor Akiyama, a first-generation Japanese-American living at a Honolulu nursing home recently celebrated an impressive milestone: Her 102nd birthday.

Akiyama resides at the Maunalani Nursing and Rehabilitation Center where they threw her an online celebration on Wednesday with family members from a safe distance.

Mrs. Akiyama enjoys overlooking the city on the lanai, and is a music lover.
Mrs. Akiyama enjoys overlooking the city on the lanai, and is a music lover. (Source: Maunalani)

She was also honored with a proclamation from Gov. David Ige.

Akiyama was born in Honolulu, the oldest of 10 children to her parents who immigrated from Hiroshima, Japan. Her father worked as a mason while her mother was a housewife.

Akiyama spent most of her career days working at hotels around Oahu. When it opened, she was among the first employees hired to work as a pantry worker at the Kahala Hilton Hotel, where she worked in the employee dining room building relationships with her counterparts who affectionately called her grandma.

She also worked at the Halekulani Hotel and East West Center, before retiring from the Kahala Hilton in 1982.

Hotel work wasn’t the only thing she knew. She also spent some time helping her father-in-law run a chicken farm.

It’s this hard work, mixed with a vibrant family life that she credits her longevity to.

Eleanor married Mr. Thomas Akiyama, a carpenter foreman, and together they had five children. Loved ones remember her as a great cook and very meticulous housekeeper.

Mr. and Mrs. Akiyama spent 62 years of wedded bliss before he passed on in the year 2000.
Mr. and Mrs. Akiyama spent 62 years of wedded bliss before he passed on in the year 2000. (Source: Family / Maunalani Nursing home)

Together they traveled to Las Vegas at least three times a year for about 20 years. Family members added that she eventually learned the game of Craps so she could be near her husband in the casinos.

Mr. Akiyama passed away in 2000 after 62 years of marriage.

Eleanor’s family has since grown to include eight grandchildren and 12-great-grandchildren.

Hawaii News Now sends her the fondest aloha, and wishes her the happiest of birthdays!

She was all smiles and covered in lei for her 101st birthday party last year.
She was all smiles and covered in lei for her 101st birthday party last year. (Source: Family / Maunalani Nursing home)

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.