It’s always fun when you find a “lost” classmate; someone who traveled the Punahou journey with us but left some time along the way. Such is the case with Rob Shield who was in our class for our freshman year and then left us for Ohio. I “found” Rob while speaking with the carpenter who is working on a renovation of my home. Shows you that the “You went to Punahou? Do you know …” question is something that should be taken seriously! Anyway, once I found out I had a former classmate in hand I contacted Rob, got him back into the Punahou loop, and had him send me an update to share with you here.
My parents were friends with Marion DeHolzcer and when I graduated from high school here in Ohio, she sent a 1974 Oahuan yearbook to me as a graduation gift so I could see all my old friends and classmates! It sits very proudly on my shelf alongside my Oahuan from freshman year. Thank you also for letting me know about the Punahou74 blog. I started looking at it and lots of familiar names jumped out at me!
After high school, I was a Japanese major in college at Ohio State and spent my junior year in Kyoto, Japan at Doshisha University. After returning and graduating from OSU, I went back to Japan and taught English for the Ministry of Education and Matsushita Electric for another 2 1/2 years. I again returned to Ohio and went off to Glendale, Arizona for grad school in international business.
Along the way I married an Ohio girl and we have three children: Maile, 25; Miranda, 23; and Robbie, 19. Maile graduated from Ohio State, Andi is a grad student at Kent State, and Robbie is a sophomore at Ohio State.
My wife and I lived in the Bay Area for a few years after my graduation but had the chance to move back to Ohio when I was offered a position with the principal auto parts supplier to Honda. I never thought that I would be involved in manufacturing or the industrial world, but it was a great opportunity to apply both my Japanese language and cultural background skills. The irony of all this is that I really hated Ohio when we first moved here all those years ago, and yet, I have left and come back to Columbus, Ohio multiple times since!
I later left the business world at one point and was happily teaching Japanese language and culture at Honda to employees in preparation for long term work assignments in Japan. Then, eleven years ago, I got a call from Yokowo, my present company, to help them set up their new Ohio operation as the Sales Manager. The company is a Japanese automotive antenna manufacturing company and makes parts for Honda, Toyota, GM and Subaru. Three years ago, the company president returned to Japan and I became the first ever “foreign” president of one of Yokowo’s overseas companies.
Unfortunately, I haven’t kept up with any classmates from the Class of ’74, but I actually have stronger memories of them than I do of my classmates from the high school here that I graduated from. In my travels, I’ve also had a few chance meetings with Punahou alumni both in Ohio and in Japan over the years! I listen to KINE radio on the internet and was tickled to hear them mention Mele Meyer a few times in reference to her work as a filmmaker. I remember her both from homeroom in 9th grade and also through a mutual friend in Kailua.
Even though I have spent so many years here, I have always considered Hawaii as home and figured that some day I’ll come back to stay. In the meantime, I don’t get home as often as I would like, but would love to find a way to come and attend the 40th! It’s hard to believe that so many years have gone by.
Editor’s note: Mele Meyer was indeed pictured with Mrs. Welden’s homeroom but was too far away from Bob to fit into the cropped picture above.