After her retirement as an assistant manager at First Hawaiian Bank, Betty Oshio has been with Pali Momi Medical Center as a volunteer flower arranger since its inception 25 years ago.
She first got involved with the hospital through her late friend Maude Nishimoto, wife of the hospital’s founder, Dr. Joseph Nishimoto.
The 84-year-old’s personality mimics that of a beautiful, colorful blossom as she explains that she prefers real floral arrangements because they bring joy to patients, physicians and guests.
Her love for flowers led to the nickname “The Flower Lady,” and her dedication to Pali Momi caused her late husband to call her “Mrs. Pali Momi.”
Flower arrangements are more than just creating a beautiful design. They also require hard work and manual labor.
“We wash the vases to reuse them,” she explains. “The arrangements are easy; it’s the recycling that’s harder.”
Oshio also will pick up donations from willing members of the community, and sometimes she brings her own greens from her backyard, including the branches that make for a beautiful Shogetsu arrangement.
Her little shop has been moved within hospital grounds five times to make room for facility expansions.
“I first did it (the arrangements) by myself,” Oshio says.
What started out as a handful of arrangements each week grew to more than 50, which meant that Oshio needed to call on assistants.
She makes it a point to mention her helpers throughout the years: Matsue Matsuura, Yoshi Takahashi, Helen Yanamura, Yoshie Fujiwara, Ethel Kusumoto, Betty Tanaka, Sumie Nakahara, Yoriko Sakihama, Kay Asato, Sue Smith, Harriet Kosaka, Brenda Kondo, Phyllis Lau, Violet Kawakami, Molly Leong, Ellie Maeda and Jeanne Yaguchi. Her current helpers include Patsy Akaji, Mary Endo, Kiyoko Kadohiro, Mildred Komoda and Amy Ikeda.
Her hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed by hospital staff, who commend her for bringing good cheer to everyone in the facility.
“Coming here keeps me busy, and it keeps me in shape,” says Oshio, who also partakes in twice-a-week exercise classes.
For a number of years, Flo Min Floral has been donating beautiful flowers, but Oshio always is looking for more, such as anthuriums, ginger, orchids, birds of paradise and other tropical flora.
Those interested in making a donation can call Oshio at 488-3279.