Patrons of a popular Hawaiian restaurant are grieving the recent passing of its restaurateur and her husband due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Elizabeth Mar, 72-year-old co-owner of Kona Kitchen in Seattle, has become a local restaurant icon, Seattle Times reports. She, alongside her daughter Angie, and son-in-law Yuji Okumoto, built the restaurant 18 years ago.
“It’s a nightmare I can’t seem to wake up from,” Angie Okumoto told King5 News. “I’m just stunned. When she went into the hospital I thought ‘I’m sure she’ll make it.’ It’s all the more stunning and heartbreaking.”
Liz and her husband Robert, 78, both died from COVID-19 just two days apart, at the exact same time of day: 1:35 a.m.
Before signs of the virus began to manifest in Liz on March 8, she was reportedly in good health and was still working full-time at their two restaurants. Liz was brought to UW Medical Center’s NW Campus on March 10 and eventually died on March 25. Meanwhile, Robert’s symptoms began to appear on March 9. He was hospitalized on March 12 and died on March 27.
Liz and Robert, who have three children and seven grandchildren together, were set to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in August.
Okumoto now encourages people to make the most out of the time spent with loved ones.
“Someone starts to get sick with this virus,” she noted. “I think it’s important to embrace those moments and say what you want to say to each other and have that closure.”
Liz has endeared herself with many of Kona Kitchen’s patrons who lovingly call her Auntie Liz or Grandma Liz.
Customers and friends have been expressing their support and love to the bereaved family after Liz’s death was announced on Facebook.
“We are so sad and sorry to hear this news,” one commenter wrote. “Liz will be missed by so many people and we’ll miss seeing her welcome us. Our condolences, prayers and love to the entire family. Our hearts are with you. Let us know if there’s anything we can do.”
“She was truly amazing, we always looked forward (to) seeing her every time were there,” another customer shared. “We will miss her very deeply. My deepest condolences. Thoughts and prayers for your family.”
The Kona Kitchen branch in Maple Leaf has been kept open but only for take-out.
Feature Image via Kona Kitchen