Valerie Leilani (Taguma) Kaneshiro, 63, of Kauai, Hawaii, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, at her home in Koloa.
Valerie Leilani Taguma was born May 21, 1957, in Chicago, the daughter of George and Sylvia (Bracklin-Baker) Taguma. She attended the Stone Lake Elementary School and Hayward High School, and graduated from Kauai High School in 1974. In 1975, Valerie married Derwin Kaneshiro. While raising two sons and a granddaughter, and being active in the community on their behalf, Valerie also spent her life working for the family farm, and for the welfare of Hawaiian farmers. Over the years, she was active in Hawaiian State Farm Bureau business, the County Fair and 4-H, and was a strong advocate of buying locally grown farm products. She was a past president of the Hawaii Pork Industry Association. In 2018, Valerie appeared in the PBS documentary, “Family Ingredients,” with Chef Ed, filming on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation, and at her residence in Koloa. In 2019, the State of Hawaii named Valerie “Hawaii’s Farmer of the Year.”
She is survived by her mother, Sylvia Bracklin; her husband, Derwin Kaneshiro; son, Ahren (Shontel) Kaneshiro; granddaughter, Jeni Kaneshiro; sisters, Lori Taguma and Carol Fergerstrom; uncles, Lawrence (Nana) Taguma and Larry Nagata; and nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her father, George Taguma; and son, Eben Kaneshiro.
Valerie attended the Grace Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, was a member of the Whitefish Presbyterian Indian Mission at Lac Courte Oreilles, and participated in gatherings with other Christians on Kauai. During her illness, she valued the encouragement and prayers of all her friends and family, and the strangers who took the time to pray for her, and the guidance she received throughout from her pastor, her friend Reverend Wesley Elmore.
Her family is grateful to Kauai Hospice and Palliative Services for their end-of-life care.
A private service will be held on Kauai. The Garden Island mortuary will be assisting the family on Kauai.
A graveside service will be held for Valerie in the Whitefish Cemetery in Wisconsin in May, with a notice to follow in 2021. The Pineview Funeral Service will be assisting the family at Lac Courte Oreilles.