Kona Historical Society Honors Memory of Alfrieda Kimura Fujita
Kona Historical Society (KHS) will offer free admission and special programming at the H.N. Greenwell Store Museum and Kona Coffee Living History Farm in honor of the late Alfreida Kimura Fujita on Saturday, Aug. 5.
The community is invited to join KHS staff and Hawai‘i Business and Professional Womenʻs Kona Chapter at the H.N. Greenwell Store Museum at 10 a.m. for prayer and reflection in Fujita’s honor, followed by morning coffee. The H.N. Greenwell Store Museum is home to “The Kona Coffee Story: Along the Hawai‘i Belt Road” exhibit.
KHS’s Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook will be open with free admission from 10 a.m. 2 p.m. on Aug. 5, closing the program day at 1:30 p.m. with a sake toast in Fujita’s honor.
Fujita was a member of KHS’s Board of Directors for 15 years and is described as “a passionate advocate for Kona’s rich history.” She grew up in Holualoa amid the early coffee industry and knew how local farmers shaped Kona’s history. Through her first-hand experience and passion, she played an instrumental role in bringing the Kona Coffee Living History Farm (Uchida Farm) to life in 1999.
Fujita also helped spearhead the creation of “The Kona Coffee Story: Along the Hawai`i Belt Road” exhibit, which has traveled internationally and received a Certification of Commendation from the American Association of State and Local History. Fujita is also the recipient of multiple preservation awards from the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation for her achievements in maintaining and preserving Kona’s history and culture.
As an active and influential member of the community, many people knew and loved Fujita.
“Whenever you went somewhere with Alfreida, whether it was to an event for non-profits in Hawai‘i, a club meeting, a restaurant, the airport, a hotel in Honolulu, Ala Moana Shopping Mall, or anything on or off island, it was like you were traveling with a celebrity,” said KHS Executive Director Joy Holland. “She knew everyone. And everyone knew her—and loved her. It became a running joke between us.”
In 1995, Fujita co-founded Pulama Ia Kona Heritage Preservation Council and influenced members of the community to come together to establish the Kona Heritage Corridor along Mamalahoa Highway. She also served as an officer and charter member with the Business and Professional Women of Kona, and ran the Kimura Lauhala Shop in Holualoa. Started by her grandparents in the early 1900s and later operated by her parents, the shop features locally woven lauhala products made with leaves native to Kona. Fujita’s daughter, Renee Kimura, now manages the shop and continues her mother’s efforts to ensure that locally made lauhala products continue to be sold in Kona.
“She has done so much to preserve Kona’s history and way of life–and so much good for so many organizations and charities here,” Holland said. “Jill Olson, my predecessor at KHS, reminded me the other day how fortunate–how truly lucky–we were to have known her and to have learned from her as long as we did. So, through tears, we are remembering this week how fortunate the board and the staff at KHS were to have known her. We really, really loved her.”