Our “Farmer’s daughter” first learned about selling fruits and vegetables when she helped her Mom and Dad on their 22 acre farm in the Anahola Homesteads on Kauai. Our “Farmer’s daughter” has come a long way since then but she is still involved in helping sell the kinds of tropical fruits and vegetables her family used to sell on Kauai. Where her customers from that long ago time were a hundred or so villagers and “plantation camp” residents on Kauai, she is now responsible for helping sell a lot more products to thousands upon thousands of customers in the Pacific Northwest. Her name is Bernadine Ululani Haluapo Capell and her professional position is Event Coordinator for the Uwajimaya Stores.
Bernie Haluapo Capell was born in Aukini, Kauai and spent her early years working on the Anahola Homesteads family farm. Her Hawaiian-Chinese Dad Samuel Kamuela Haluapo was a longshoreman who augmented his wages by working the Anahola farm with his wife and their children. Bernie’s Mom Amelia Rivera was a full blooded Puerto Rican “stay at home Mom” who stayed busy raising Bernie and her siblings besides tending the family farm. Among Bernie’s fondest memories of Hawaii were the fun times spent on Kauai’s beaches and also of the active participation the Haluapos had in their Lihue First Church in Pualoke. The 1960’s was a difficult time for Hawaii’s longshoremen so in 1964 Kamuela and Amelia Haluapo packed up their kids and their belongings and took off for the Pacific Northwest where Kamuela hoped to find better paying jobs on the waterfront of Longview, WA. Dressed in shorts and slippahs and tee-shirts, all the Haluapos were ready to turn around and head back to Hawaii the moment they stepped into the gray skies and rainy Pacific NW weather. Kamuela did find a job in Longview and the family settled there until they moved a few miles north to the larger city of Kelso, WA.
Bernie graduated from Kelso HS after which she worked a few different jobs before meeting and marrying Jim Capell, a native of the Kelso, WA area. Bernie and Jim lived and raised their family in the Kelso, WA area until 1998 when (like her Dad had left Hawaii seeking a better lifestyle for his family) Bernie and Jim left Kelso, WA for better job opportunities in the Portland, Oregon area. They settled in Beaverton, OR where the “perfect” employer (Uwajimaya) found their “perfect” employee (Bernie Capell) in a “being in the right place at the right time” scenario! She started as a Courtesy Clerk but it didn’t take long for Uwajimaya to recognize the talented, hardworking, compassionate, and very charismatic Bernie Capell, promoting her to her present Event Coordinator position! Bernie describes her “once in a lifetime” type job as basically a “sharing of ethnic cultures” task. She is responsible for creating, assembling, promoting and overseeing the myriad of actions and activities for each of the many free culturally enlightening festivals (like the annual “Hawaiian Days” event) that Uwajimaya holds every year in their stores throughout the Pacific NW. The Uwajimaya Store chain is probably the largest and definitely the most prestigious of stores in the Pacific NW that specializes in selling Asian/Oriental/Pacific Islander produce and products! Bernie Capell’s status and successes in the Uwajimaya management hierarchy speaks well for this former “Farmer’s daughter” from the village of Aukini, Kauai !
Take the beauty and passion of a Puerto Rican mother and blend in with equal parts of a handsome and compassionate Hawaiian father and you end up with Bernie Haluapo Capell, a beautiful woman who is very, very proud of her Hawaiian heritage and who relishes spreading Aloha in every way/every day! She loves meeting people from different cultures (as she does every day in her Event Coordinator job) because she learns so much from each of them and, in return, she educates them about Hawaii. One unique way Bernie spreads the spirit of Aloha is through her volunteer work soliciting donations for food/clothing/supplies and then going down under the Burnside Bridge in Portland, OR to help feed/ provide supplies to hundreds of Portland’s homeless people.
Above all things, Bernie Haluapo Capell’s greatest joy comes from being daughter, wife, Mom, Grandma and sister. Bernie and Jim Capell are blessed with two children; their handsome son Che’ Kauleo Capell and daughter in law Dara have a beautiful mo`opuna named Brooke Alani. Still living at home with Bernie and Jim is their wonderful and talented teenage daughter Casey Aneila. Bernie has three brothers (Sam Jr, Russell and Robert) and one sister (Joann). Bernie’s Mom passed a few years ago but her Dad Kamuela Haluapo still lives in the Longview, WA area. Unfortunately, Kamuela Haluapo is a victim of dementia so Bernie drives north and spends 2-3 days each week helping him do the things he can’t do for himself. Kamuela loves to sing and one of his favorite songs is the one that ends “for you’ll never find another Hawaiian like me”.
Mahalo Bernie Haluapo Capell! You are an outstanding role model for our Hawaiian community! You really are a unique/one of a kind lady and your Dad’s favorite song words (“for you’ll never find another Hawaiian like me”) very aptly describes you!
Bernie Haluapo Capell:You “da Man”………make that: You Da Woman!!!
Until next time, be kind to each other….me ke Aloha pumehana……Danny