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HPM Retired Chairman and CEO Robert “Bobby” Fujimoto Passes Away

“We would like to let you know that Robert (“Bobby”) Fujimoto, retired Chairman & CEO of HPM Building Supply, passed away peacefully today in Hilo surrounded by his family. He was age 93.

A highly regarded local businessman and pillar of the community, Fujimoto was the grandson of Kametaro Fujimoto, founder of HPM, which was established in 1921 in Hilo. He joined the five-generation, local, family-run business in 1951, took over general management of HPM in 1954, and later became president and CEO until his retirement in 1992. Fujimoto also served as a director and chairman emeritus of the HPM Board for 66 years until 2017. He was the father of past President and CEO Mike Fujimoto, who is currently Executive Chairman, and the grandfather of current HPM President and CEO Jason Fujimoto”~ Carole Tang

KEAAU, HAWAII (April 23, 2020) – Robert “Bobby” Fujimoto, retired Chairman and CEO of HPM Building Supply, passed away peacefully today in Hilo surrounded by his family. He was age 93.

Fujimoto was the grandson of Kametaro Fujimoto, founder of HPM, which was established in 1921 in Hilo as Hawaii Planing Mill, Ltd. He joined the five-generation, local, family-run business in 1951, took over general management of HPM in 1954, and later became president and CEO until his retirement in 1992. Fujimoto also served as a director and chairman emeritus of the HPM Board for 66 years until 2017. He was the father of past President and CEO Mike Fujimoto, who is currently Executive Chairman, and the grandfather of current HPM President and CEO Jason Fujimoto.

“Although our family is deeply saddened, we are grateful and celebrate Bobby’s many years of selfless service, leadership and commitment to our HPM Ohana, our customers, and our community,” said HPM President and CEO Jason Fujimoto. “My grandfather was an inspiration to us all and lived his life with honor, generosity and aloha.”

Fujimoto was a visionary leader. He was instrumental in leading the company to become one of Hawaii’s first businesses to establish an employee profit-sharing plan in 1959, enabling employees to share in the firm’s profits. Later, in 1977, he led HPM to become one of the first companies in the state to be employee-owned, enabling staff to participate in the ownership of the company and its growth. Under his leadership, HPM opened its Kona branch in 1959 and Waimea branch in 1983, and rebuilt the company’s entire Hilo operation after it was decimated by a tsunami in 1960. Fujimoto launched key HPM services, including custom metal roofing in 1963, the reestablishment of the lumber department in 1965 after its closure during World War II, and the wood protection treatment service in 1978.

Fujimoto dedicated his life to community service and was a mentor to many government officials, nonprofit leaders and business people. He served as chairman of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents;; a member of the Board of Trustees of the UH Foundation;; president of the Aloha Council Boy Scouts of America;; and past director of the Blood Bank of Hawaii, C. Brewer, First Insurance, Grand Pacific Life and American Security Bank.

In addition, he was awarded the Regional Silver Beaver and Antelope Awards from the Boy Scouts of America;; Distinguished Honoree of the Public Schools of Hawai‛i Foundation;; the University of Hawaii Distinguished Alumni Award;; the State of Hawaii Young Man of the Year Award;; the State of Hawaii Small Businessman of the Year Award;; and was a laureate of Junior Achievement of Hawaii’s Business Hall of Fame.

Fujimoto is survived by his devoted wife of 69 years, Alice (Kurohara) Fujimoto. Together, they have four children and five grandchildren. He will be dearly missed by son Michael, and wife Thuy Fujimoto;; daughter, Joan Fujimoto;; daughter, Roberta and husband Newton Chu;; daughter, Wendy and husband Peter Matsuura. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Jason Fujimoto, Stephanie Chu, Devin Chu, Andy Matsuura and Daniel Matsuura.

HPM Building Supply has been helping Hawaii build better since its founding in 1921 as Hawaii Planing Mill. A fifth-generation, local, family-run business, HPM is 100 percent employee-owned and serves the home improvement market and building industry statewide through its eight locations across Hawaii Island, Oahu and Kauai. For more information, visit hpmhawaii.com.

The Fujimoto family requests privacy during this time.

To Learn more about the HPM Story and company CLICK HERE 

Any questions may be directed to:
Carole Tang
Mobile: (808) 780-1896
carole@olomanaloomisisc.com