Wataru Teruya perfected many dishes — tripe stew, banana pancakes, fried rice with brown gravy — but it was the “Chinese style” oxtail soup that brought fame to his Kapiolani Coffee Shop.
Teruya, with wife Bessie Teruya, opened the Kapiolani Coffee Shop in the 1960s at the old Aloha Motors site, now the Hawai‘i Convention Center. It was among Aloha Motors’ employees that the oxtail soup gained its popularity.
“I don’t think my parents every imagined that oxtail soup would became so popular,” said Margery Sheehan, Teruya’s daughter.
Wataru Teruya was a World War II veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Headquarters Company, 100th Battalion.
However, cooking was still part of his trade during his time in the military and as a government contract worker.
Originally from South Hilo, Teruya, 87, died May 27 of natural causes at Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center.
“He was very hard-working, kind, soft-spoken and generous,” Sheehan said.
Teruya retired and sold the Kapiolani Coffee Shop in 1986.
He is survived by son Rickey I., daughters Lynnette T. Lee and Margery Y. Sheehan, brother Masaru Teruya, seven grandchildren and a great grandchild.
Services are private. No monetary offerings.