Steven Y. Kawakami of Fort Mill, SC., passed away on July 5, 2017 in Charlotte, NC at the age of 72 following injuries related to an accident while riding his motorcycle, an activity that he loved and enjoyed in his years of retirement. Steve could be seen on weekends riding with his biker friends in the Charlotte area and extended trips around the country, exploring the scenic vistas from the Carolinas to the western states.
Steve was born on December 17, 1944 and graduated from Leilehua High School in Wahiawa, Hawaii and graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in business. Following graduation from Oregon, Steve served in the United States Army, rising to the rank of Captain while serving in Vietnam during the critical period that included the Tet Offensive, when all units, including his Quartermaster Corps, were mobilized for combat. He was awarded the Bronze Star and other medals for his service. After leaving the Army, Steve began a career of over 30 years at SeaLand (and later CSX) in Alameda, CA, then moving to Port Elizabeth, NJ and then Charlotte, NC as Sealand/CSX eventually became part of Maersk. Steve’s Army experience in handling all of the petroleum distribution in Vietnam served him well at Sealand, and some if his innovations included developing software that improved worldwide tracking of containers on containerships, and even helping to develop the extended containers in use today.
Steve was predeceased by wife Sue (Schieffler) Kawakami, and is survived by wife Donna Newlands of Charlotte and daughters, Shelly (Joseph) Dannucci of Easton, PA and Stacey (Michael Soules) Kawakami of Washington, DC, and mother, Barbara Kawakami of Mililani, Hawaii, sister Fay (Ivan) Toyama of Mililani, Hawaii, and brother Gary (Brigitte) Kawakami of Kaneohe, Hawaii, and extended nephews, nieces and relatives.
The funeral will be held at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Steve's memory to Trout Unlimited or Vietnam Veterans of America .