HONOLULU, Hawaii – Hawaii lost a beautiful soul this weekend. Stephanie Lee Uyeda, the amazing and indomitable business woman and talent that has held so many of Hawaii’s professional trade organizations together over the past 15 years in Honolulu, passed away Friday evening while attending a women’s conference in Northern California.
“Our community has lost a true treasure with the passing of my very dear friend, Stephanie. Born in Honolulu and raised in Monterey Park, California, by Herb and Dale Uyeda, “Steph” came home to Honolulu with American Airlines [AA] in 1980. We worked together in American’s Sales and Marketing office, and when I left AA, it was Stephanie who replaced me and helped skyrocket AA from a small Hawaii presence to a significant part of the airline’s position in the islands. I am very fortunate to have worked alongside this bundle of energy, ideas, and positive nature and even more fortunate to call her the best friend I’ve ever had in my life,” shared her friend and associate John Votsis, Director of Sales and Marketing, Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk.
“I had the pleasure to work with Stephanie for 16 years in Sales and Marketing Executives International, two years as President. She is one of the finest Executive Directors I’ve had the privilege to know. She was a sister, a friend, a mentor, and a mother hen to so many business professionals in Honolulu. To our young Pi Sigma Epsilon fraternity members, she was a great coach and a calm voice. She knew the keys to increasing membership, quality programming, attention to detail, and making every program she touched even better than it was the year before. And she knew how to be a friend. If you knew her, you loved her. She had an amazing capacity for kindness and love,” shared David C. Livingston, past President of SMEI Honolulu.
Lee Collins, Vice President of Polynesian Adventure Tours and current President of SMEI shared: “I speak for the entire board of directors for SMEI when I say we are all very saddened to hear about the passing of Stephanie Uyeda this weekend. She was a very special person that touched so many and who so many relied upon and often turned to when we needed a friend, help, or guidance. Her passing leaves behind a legacy of compassion, caring, and professionalism that will create a void for all of us who have had the pleasure of knowing her. She has always been known and respected for the way she lived her life to the fullest each and every day and her unfailing dedication to SMEI and each of us.”
Clint Schroeder, President of Hagadone Printing and immediate past President of SMEI shared, “Stephanie Uyeda was the heart and soul of SMEI Honolulu. Her vivacious spirit and drive will live on, as will the indelible mark she left on our organization and our lives. No matter the job, Stephanie came through, and made even the most impossible situations successful at every turn. I am personally blessed to have had Stephanie in my life, and to have been able to count her among my friends. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family, and closest friends, as she will never be forgotten.”
“Stephanie was well respected within the circle of SMEI’s international world as a caring individual and a high-performing leader in association executive management. Her high standard, hard work ethic, and vivacious zest for life will leave a living legacy and a keen sense of loss for all who knew and loved her,” said Willis Turner, President and CEO, Sales & Marketing Executives International, Inc.
“Like so many who encountered Stephanie, I will hold my memories very dear to me for all time and hope that everyone who she touched remembers always that this was an exceptional person who enjoyed every day of her all too short life. I know we all extend our prayers and condolences to her parents and family members and hope that we each reflect on the positive force she was throughout her time with us. I know the hole in my heart will be a constant reminder of what a great friend she was, and I hope that everyone she touched remembers always that Stephanie Lee Uyeda was a one of a kind individual. Aloha ā hui hou aku,” said John Votsis, Director of Sales and Marketing Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, August 13, 2011 at 10:00 am, Mass to follow at 11:00 am at Sacred Heart Church, 1701 Wilder Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii. Church phone number is 808-973-2211. The location for a reception following the Mass to celebrate Stephanie’s life will be announced shortly. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of Stephanie’s favorite charities, the Hawaiian Humane Society.