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Traffic victim, 86, kept working despite his age

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Quirino Aguisanda’s family had been trying to discourage him from working, but the 86-year-old retired army colonel’s love of people and being busy kept him going.

"We tried to talk him out of it — everybody in the family, asking him, ‘Don’t do that anymore,’" said granddaughter Monette Rivera, who now lives in New York City. "‘Oh, it’s just a few hours,’ (he would say). He would take it lightly.

"Being around people, being out and about, it’s just his way," she said.

Hawaii News Now reported Aguisanda worked as a bathroom attendant at a handful of Waikiki restaurants and clubs. Rivera said he also worked as a senior companion a few mornings a week.

Aguisanda had just gotten off a city bus at about 2:37 a.m. Monday after a night of work in Waikiki and was close to his Waipahu home when he was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver while crossing Farrington Highway in a marked crosswalk near Awamoku Street. He died later that morning at the Queen’s Medical Center.

Police have few clues and continue to ask for help in identifying the driver and vehicle that struck Aguisanda. A witness gave traffic investigators the description of a truck that hit him but did not get a license plate number.

Rivera said her grandmother, Eustacia, is shaken by her husband’s death.

Her grandparents were "the sweetest couple I’ve ever seen" and would often hold hands, she said.

Her grandmother told Rivera "how much she loves him, that she’s been kissing everything he owns," including his pillow. "When they were in the hospital yesterday, she was kissing him on the forehead … kissing his toes."

Aguisanda was born in Cagayan province and was a Filipino-American veteran who fought in World War II and retired from the Philippine army as a colonel, Rivera said. His military service might be another reason her grandfather did not like being idle, she said.

The couple moved to Hawaii from the Philippines in 1992.

Aguisanda would work a few mornings a week as a senior companion, go home to rest and work several nights a week in Waikiki — sometimes starting at 6 p.m., other times at 9 p.m., getting off at 1 a.m.

"He’s a hard worker," Rivera said. "In their generation they somehow don’t want to stop working."

Aguisanda was active with Grace Bible Church in Pearl City. "They’re not rich, but you know there was always abundance in his life because of his heart and character," Rivera said.

The family would like the person responsible to be found and brought to justice. "We don’t want it to happen to others," she said.

She hopes that speaking out will shed light on whatever needs correcting, whether it is the light at the crosswalk or addressing Hawaii’s high rate of pedestrian fatalities.

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