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Son Of Noted Ewa Minister Shares Father’s Story In New Book

Norman Osumi

The Rev. Paul S. Osumi touched the lives of many in the local community with his column Today’s Thought, which was featured in the Honolulu Advertiser for more than 35 years.

While he inspired locals through his words of encouragement and wisdom, his son Norman aspires to share his father’s personal story with readers everywhere through his recently published book, Today’s Thought – Rev. Paul Osumi: The Man & His Message.

The book hit local bookstores Sept. 16, and Norman will sign copies at the Ewa Community Church fall fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday.

After his father’s passing in 1996, Norman met many people who enjoyed his dad’s column.

“They felt they got something from it,” he said.

Those same people encouraged Norman to write a book of his own. Rev. Osumi had published three books that featured collections of his columns, and Norman at first sought to write additional volumes.

However, through researching more about his father, Norman found a rich history that he knew almost nothing about. Over a period of about 10 years, the former Ewa resident was able to read through many of his father’s files.

“As I was reading, it created a lot of questions and curiosity,” Norman said.

What started out as a project on his dad’s writings changed into a desire to show people who his father really was – the man behind the treasured messages.

“I felt like people would want to know who the man was that wrote Today’s Thought.”

Rev. Osumi came to Hawaii from Japan around the age of 14, but did not share much of his early life with his family.

“He never talked about his childhood days with me,” Norman said. “(Through writing this book) I learned that my father, being a first-generation Japanese from Japan, didn’t talk about his life too much … He also got interned during the war (WWII), but he talked very little about that.

“I wish he was alive. There are so many questions I would ask him.”

Through writing this book, Norman believes he was able to learn more about his father.

The first part of the book is written from a son’s perspective, growing up with his father.

“I describe his life and what I saw. How he started to develop a lot of these Today’s Thoughts,” said Norman, who currently lives in a Nuuanu house that his father bought in 1958.

The second part of the book is taken from sermons his father gave at the six churches he served, including Ewa Community Church.

Although his father was a Christian minister, his Today’s Thought didn’t push any particular school of thought.

“People enjoyed reading it because it applied to them,” Norman explained. “They could read it and gain something from it in all aspects of their life, it didn’t matter their background.”

The last part of the book is comprised of a collection of Today’s Thought columns.

Throughout his childhood growing up on a plantation in Ewa, Norman simply saw the accomplished Rev. Osumi as Dad.

“I knew he was a Christian minister, that he had a church,” Norman recalls, “but as a child, I really didn’t see him as anything other than a loving father.”