Guam native Percy Larimore moved to Honolulu in 1971, spent 40 years at Young Brothers.
By Hilary Reeves
Young Brothers Payroll Supervisor Percy Larimore moved to Honolulu in 1971, but the island of Guam is forever where her heart lies.
“I call this beautiful island surrounded by warm beaches home,” she said. “Ironically, when I was growing up I didn’t know how to swim, even though my mother was a freestyle diver. I eventually learned, however, once I moved to my new home, Honolulu.”
Larimore’s mother and father worked in the medical field at a local hospital in Guam.
“They were able to schedule their hours so that one was always home with the family,” she said. “We did many things together. What sticks out in my memory the most are the volleyball games, karate lessons, and an occasional boxing match in our backyard. We had enough participants for almost anything: there were 11 of us siblings, and I had eight first cousins.”
Larimore said her parents tried to instill a competitive spirit in her by signing her up for Aikido classes.
“It was a mistake because that didn’t last long,” she laughed, “and I moved on to a baton majorette marching band, trampoline, badminton, and baseball club.”
Larimore’s father passed away at the age of 50.
“I always felt prior to my father passing that my Mom had everything and was very happy,” she said. “After Dad passed, we each took care of one another. Financially, my Mom did everything she could to make ends meet – many times coming just a bit short – but emotionally, we were the wealthiest family in Guam. We were filled with love and happiness. To me, that has always meant everything.”
A mischievous child
Larimore and her siblings, eight girls and three boys, all lived in a home that still stands today in Barrigada, a small village at the heart of Guam.
“Some of my siblings thought as a child I was a spoiled brat because my Mom and Dad seemed to always want to take me with them on their outings,” she explained. “Years later, we discovered that removing me from the family was more to protect my siblings than to spoil me. I am told that I was ‘aguaguat.’ This is a term used to describe a very mischievous child. Today, we all laughed about this.”
Her first job was as a candy striper in the emergency department of the hospital where her parent worked.
“It was a very scary place to start,” she laughed. “Maybe that’s why I’m not a nurse.”
She moved to Honolulu at the age of 18, newly married. She joined Young Brothers as a temp worker in 1975 before she was offered a full-time job in 1978. She’s worked in her current position since 1980. In the 70s, she said the prevailing impression of Young Brothers (YB) was that it was “the” place to work.
“Those were the days,” she said. “I remember when we had to vote on a Dillingham (YB Queen). These beautiful ladies still work for YB today. I’m also proud to have chaired the first YB Ohana cookbook, which was a fundraising event for Aloha United Way. We had participants from all ports.”
For years, she’s continued the office “Laulima Giving Club” in lieu of a gift exchange in the workplace to provide for those less fortunate during the Christmas holidays.
“There is a Volume II, of the cookbook; Volume III is overdue,” she said. “And I wish someone would continue the Laulima Giving Club, too.”
Forty years at YB
Larimore retired from Young Brothers in on Feb. 1, 2019, after 40 years with the company. In her early years with the company, her competitive sporting background came in handy.
“I had the privilege of being mentored by one of the greatest tennis families in Hawaii, the George Panui family,” she said. “I was fortunate enough to have trained three to four times per week with other colleagues. At one point, my activities included golfing with my significant other, Patrick. Golfing lessons have raised my game from horrible to mediocre. Looking forward, my goal would be to experience a skydiving event.”
Looking back, she said she wishes she would have spent more time with her mother before she passed.
“The time I did spend with her instilled in me that I as an older sibling had the responsibility of watching over and caring for the younger siblings,” she said. “I believe that if Mom were alive today, she would be proud of the job that I’ve done in watching over my brothers and sisters.”
Two of her three brothers have also passed on. Her youngest brother, Charlie, lives in Southern California.
“Poor Charlie,” she laughed. “He has to endure all the love and drama from all the sisters all the time. The rest of my siblings are scattered around the United States, and two sisters still live on Guam. This allows me to have many vacation destination options that are always dedicated to visiting a sibling or two – or more.”
The right feeling
If you asked Larimore what she enjoyed most about her career at Young Brothers, she would tell you it was her colleagues, whom she “respects enormously.”
“I’ve gained great friends along the way,” she said. “I’ve been blessed in my 40 years with my accounting team and great managers. I plan to get back into a couple of clubs I was active in, do community service, some traveling, and just enjoy retirement for a while. I try to live by my favorite quote: ‘Do the right thing, at the right time, in the right place, to the right person, with the right feeling, the first time.’”
She predicts the company will continue to grow and be a leader in the Hawaiian community.
“Young Brothers will be around for many years; it’s what keeps the Islands together. Aloha and Kudos to my YB Ohana, missing everyone, stay safe!”