Frances Hashimoto, president and CEO of Mikawaya, passed away Nov. 4 from lung cancer. She was 69.
"She was an angel on earth," says Hashimoto’s husband, Joel Friedman. "She always gave and gave and gave to the Japanese community."
Hashimoto was born in a World War II internment camp in Poston, Ariz. In 1970, she took over Mikawaya, a Los Angeles-based confectionery business operated by her family since 1910. Under her direction, the business expanded from a single shop into a $13 million-a-year business. The company popularized mochi ice cream, an ice cream ball wrapped in a layer of rice cake.
In September, the City Council voted to name a plaza in her honor. Frances Hashimoto Plaza will be dedicated next week.
In addition to her husband, Hashimoto is survived by two sons and a sister.