Albert “Sonny” Vivas, Jr., 95, died in his home in Portland, OR on October 5, 2020.
Sonny was born in Honolulu, HI on April 17, 1925, as the only child of Albert John and Roseline Sousa Vivas. He spent his formative years in Hilo until his family moved to Oahu where his father worked for Hawaiian Electric. Upon graduation from Roosevelt High School, he joined the United States Merchant Marine during WWII.
After the war, he returned to attend college at the University of Hawaii participating on the crew team and earning a degree in electrical engineering. In 1951, he joined his father’s new business, National Electric Supply, soon becoming a partner. Sonny and his father sold the business to Dillingham Corporation in 1967, eighteen years after it was started and had grown to 42 employees. Sonny stayed on for five years continuing to run it. Around this time, he was appointed chairman of the Public Utilities Commission under then Governor John Burns. During his time at the commission, Sonny’s network of business associates grew while he also got the taste of politics on the front line. Despite being asked to run for public office at a higher level, he declined, preferring to grow his own businesses.
He married the love of his life, Nancy Lee Anderson in Honolulu at Central Union Church on April 26, 1954. Over the next six years, they would have three daughters, Sandy, Lindy and Gigi, all who attended Punahou School. Both Sonny and Nancy fully supported the academic and sports endeavors of their daughters. Sonny and Nancy together enjoyed playing golf, and bridge, their favorite pastimes, in the men’s and women’s leagues at Waialae Country Club and in the evenings over lively card tables.
After his grandsons, Austin and Gar were born, Sonny and Nancy would take long vacations visiting them and their daughters in California, Colorado and the east coast. They especially loved to travel by car across the western United States for weeks at a time, stopping to visit friends, take in new sights, and meet new people. They also took several international trips to Europe, Australia, South Africa, Asia and Canada, making lasting friendships along the way.
In his younger days, Sonny loved to hunt with friends from both Hawaii and the mainland. Most memorable trips were elk hunting in Idaho and big game hunting in Africa. He also enjoyed fishing in Alaska, Colorado and Oregon.
After Nancy died in 2012, Sonny joined the Saturday Breakfast Group, the Romeos. He had great fun and enjoyment from attending those morning get-togethers at Ashai Grill, Tanaka’s Saimin and Likelike Drive In. He extended it to Mondays and Tuesdays with other good friends from his business days, heading out to Zippy’s and Jack’s. These outings became great social affairs for him as he was no longer able to play golf. He also continued his associations at Waialae Country Club as a Golden Senior, swimming four or five times a week, at the Outrigger Canoe Club and the Pacific Club. In September 2019, Sonny moved to Portland, OR where he made many new friends at the Touchmark community.
For Sonny, relationships were what created business and family success. He led a successful life and one full of friends of all ages and backgrounds. He easily communicated with everyone he encountered due to his humor, and respect for everyone, no matter their standing in life. He was generous and kind to all he met. He will be lovingly remembered and dearly missed by his family and friends.
Sonny was predeceased by his wife, Nancy Lee Anderson Vivas and is survived by daughter Sandra 'Sandy' Lee Vivas; partner Bridget Belgiovine; daughter Linda 'Lindy' Lee Vivas; daughter Donna 'Gigi' Lee Vivas (Ditz); son-in-law David Adams Ditz; grandson Austin William Ditz, wife Kelly Lynn Allen; Garland Anderson Ditz, fiancé Caroline Eugenie Diemer. No service will be held at this time in view of the coronavirus situation. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the ARCS Foundation Oregon**, PO Box 2063, Portland, OR 97208.
**ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter advances science and technology in the United States by providing financial awards to academically outstanding students who are U.S. citizens studying to complete PhD degrees in science, engineering, math, technology and medical research at Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon State University and the University of Oregon.
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