West Hawaii businessman and sustainability and renewable energy advocate Guy Toyama died early Sunday morning at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. He was 42.
Toyama was born on Maui and graduated from Maui High School in 1988. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1992 with a degree in marketing. He co-founded H2 Technologies, was active with the Friends of NELHA, and held positions with many other companies and organizations, including the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, EMAP Inc., Kanu Hawaii, the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association and the Hawaii County energy advisory commission.
David Vaughn met Toyama through the Friends of NELHA group. He described Toyama as amazing.
“Guy seemed to know everyone,” Vaughn said. “When there was something that needed to be done, he knew whom to contact. When Guy said something would happen, it did.”
Toyama was “a bright man, a good friend,” Vaughn added. “Whenever you dealt with Guy, it was always genuine.”
Mayor Billy Kenoi called Toyama’s unexpected death devastating news. Toyama was chairman of Kenoi’s energy advisory commission.
“It’s a huge loss for Hawaii Island,” Kenoi said. “Guy was a true visionary. He was a passionate advocate for affordable, renewable energy. He was a big thinker.”
Toyama was a kind, giving person whom the community will miss, the mayor added.
“You cannot replace that kind of vision and passion,” Kenoi said.
Toyama served six years on the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, President and CEO Vivian Landrum said.
“He was just very creative and innovative with his ideas,” Landrum said. “I can’t even think of a time we asked Guy for something and he didn’t say absolutely.”
She described Toyama, using another friend’s words, as a “true gentle spirit.”
Since 1998, Toyama was the vice president of marketing for EMAP Inc., the manufacturer of Kona Pure Deep Sea Salt and Big Island Pure Deep Sea Salt. According to his biographical information on the H2 Technologies website, Toyama led a group of investors in 2001 in starting Hawaii’s first deep seawater desalination plant. He also worked as a co-publisher of a Japanese language visitors guide to the Big Island, and spent several years in Japan in the 1990s.
Friends said Toyama was taken to Kona Community Hospital Saturday evening, after running a mile race in Kailua-Kona, then to The Queen’s Medical Center later that night, where he died Sunday morning.
Toyama is survived by his wife, Rika. No information about memorial services was immediately available.