Hospice of Hilo received a $25,000 bequest from the Margaret S. Ushijima Revocable Living Trust, a gift designated within the will of the late Margaret Ushijima of Hilo.
John and Margaret Ushijima lived their life committed to public service.
“Because they had no children, they were very civic minded. They consistently looked after the young people of our community,” said Bobby Jean Leithead Todd, the Hawaii County’s Director of Environmental Management.
“She started off as a social worker after graduating from college and she worked on my adoption, that’s how she came into my family,” continued Leithead Todd. “It does not surprise me at all that she would leave her estate to benefit the community and nonprofits, because that’s who she and her husband were.”
According to an article by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Ushijima left social work in 1963 to work for the University of Hawaii Hilo Campus, serving as dean of students. After retiring from that position, she entered the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, graduating in 1983, and joining her husband’s firm to form Ushijima &Ushijima.
Pursuing her law degree at the age of 56, when most people are preparing for retirement, Ushijima became an inspiration to many women.
“She was a role model for all the women lawyers I know, and one of the most remarkable women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing,” Leithead Todd said.
Ushijima’s gift to Hospice of Hilo was a surprise to Hospice of Hilo’s administration.
“I wish we had had a chance to thank her for her incredible generosity,” said the organization’s CEO Brenda Ho. “For over a decade, Margaret always made an annual donation to Hospice of Hilo. Never, did we imagine she would leave behind such an extraordinary gesture of love and trust to us.”
“Planned gifts — contributions made after a donor’s passing or sometimes during a donor’s lifetime — allow benefactors to make a huge difference for the causes they care about,” says Hospice of Hilo’s Development Officer An Umamoto. “These types of gifts can also provide tax and financial benefits to the donor and their loved ones. We hope anyone who has chosen Hospice of Hilo as the beneficiary of their planned gifts will let us know so that we may honor them.”
Ushijima’s gift will help Hospice of Hilo continue its work of providing compassionate care to patients and families facing a serious illness. Focused on pain and symptom management, the organization provides a team approach to ensuring patients and families find relief from the pain, stress and anxiety of living with a life-limiting illness. Patients are cared for at home or at a homelike environment in the Pohai Malama a Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Care Center.
“In addition to being a powerful woman, Margaret always had an infectious laugh and smile on her face. And that’s how she lived, with tremendous joy in life. She lived a full life,” Leithead Todd said.