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Legal ‘role model’ served public for decades

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S. George Fukuoka, a former Maui judge, territorial and state senator and county supervisor, died Jan. 29. He was 90.

Gov. John Burns appointed Fukuoka as Maui circuit judge in 1968. He served until 1982.

"I thought he was a great role model for up and coming attorneys," said Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Boyd Mossman, a former Maui County prosecutor and judge. "I never thought that I could ever become a judge, because I held him in such high esteem."

Mossman said he had many cases before him. "I have a high regard for not only what he was as an individual, but what he did as a judge," he said. "He wasn’t a very humorous person. He was very straightforward, to the point, very capable and always sharp in his preparation for the cases."

Shigeru Fukuoka was born in Paia, Maui, to an immigrant plantation worker. His college classmates gave him the name "George," and he went by S. George Fukuoka to distinguish himself from George S. Fukuoka, who owned Pearl City Tavern.

Fukuoka graduated from Maui High School, the University of Hawaii and the University of Michigan Law School.

Fukuoka taught from 1942 to 1948 at Lahainaluna School and Hilo High School.

Upon completing law school in 1951, he served as Maui deputy county attorney.

He served as the Hana district magistrate from 1952 to 1954. In 1954 he entered private practice.

Fukuoka began his political career serving on the Maui County Board of Supervisors from 1954 to 1955. He returned to serve on the board from 1965 to 1966.

He was elected to the territorial Senate in 1956 and continued serving in the state Senate until 1964. He returned to the Senate in 1967 before being appointed as a judge.

He is survived by sons Ken and Dave, brother Masami and grandchildren Claire and Scott.

The family held private services and requests no monetary or floral offerings.

 

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