By Ruth Bayang
Northwest Asian Weekly
Elizabeth Mar, the beloved matriarch of the local Hawaiian restaurant Kona Kitchen, died from the novel coronavirus on March 25, after battling it for two weeks. She was 72 years old. Her husband, Robert Mar, 78, died of the virus two days later. The couple has three children and seven grandchildren.
Kona Kitchen posted on its Facebook page, “For those of you who knew her, Liz was always a great source of Aloha.
She shall be fondly remembered as the best grandma, fun-loving friend, devoted spouse, generous benefactor, first-rate source of amusing gossip, and mother extraordinaire. We shall forever miss her cheerfulness, wonderful sense of humor, and kind heart.”
“It’s a huge devastation for our family,” daughter Angie Okumoto told the Seattle Times. She and her mother opened the restaurant in Maple Leaf in September 2002, along with her husband, Yuji Okumoto. A second branch followed in Lynnwood.
According to a Facebook post on Kona Kitchen’s page, Mar was not feeling well and went home early on March 8. She went to a clinic the next morning and did not get tested for COVID-19 because she didn’t have a fever. Her condition worsened and when she had trouble breathing, her family took her to the ER, where she was initially diagnosed with pneumonia, and then she was finally tested for COVID-19. The test came back positive.
“What happened to her can happen to anyone,” Okumoto wrote. “Please be proactive and take this virus seriously. As many younger people are showing little to no signs or symptoms, we should all practice social distancing and take precautions around the elderly.”
The family has received an outpouring of support on Facebook.
“There will always be a large void in my heart. I will miss just sitting with her and talking about life,” wrote Rian Ebesugawa.
Ray Wong wrote, “She was truly amazing, we always looked forward to seeing her every time we were there.”
Due to the statewide ban on funerals, plans for memorial services are uncertain at this time.
The Seattle location of Kona Kitchen remains open for takeout. 8501 5th Avenue Northeast, 206-517-5662, konakitchen.com.