Michael Wayne Yadao, Sr., 67, of Poway, passed away at home on April 15, 2022, after a nearly 3 year battle with prostate cancer. Michael was born on October 14, 1954 in Honolulu, HI, the son of Alfred Yadao, Sr. and Mary Agnes Igarta Antioquia.
Mike was raised in Wahiawa and enlisted in the military at the young age of 17. In his true rebellious nature, he grew his hair long immediately after retiring from the Navy, having proudly served 20 years. He went on to take jobs as a truck driver, a security guard, and tennis racquet stringer among other things, before eventually becoming a pipe fitter — a profession he took pride in and enjoyed for 23 years until cancer forced him to retire.
But his biggest passion was baking cakes, a tradition passed down to him by his Uncle Jerry. For hours and days and months at a time, he would work incessantly, perfecting his uncle’s secret recipe, and practicing shapes with a piping bag full of frosting. That dedication eventually led to a thriving side business, Hawaiian Cakes, which he ran on and off for many years. For someone with such a big heart and hearty presence, it made sense that he loved nurturing people through food. He baked cakes for small events and major rites of passage: weddings, birthdays, passings, celebrations. His ultimate and most important cake would be his own, for his wedding to his second wife, Joanne, in 2004.
Mike was a lover of cats and dogs, watching TV, all things Star Trek and Star Wars, and golf. Most recently, thanks to his older brother Barney, he got very addicted to building LEGO sets. It became such an insatiable hobby that his family joked about starting a crowdfunding campaign to support it. Over the last 10 months of his life, LEGOs were his outlet, his way of coping through all the treatments, and of navigating that gray space between despair and hope. He completed an impressive 20 sets from June of 2021 to March of 2022.
Above all, Mike was a family man, and most important to him was to make the people around him feel loved. Throughout his life, he pushed himself through pain, adversity, and heartbreak, always filling the room with his big, boundless laugh, even (and especially) in the face of illness. Even to the very end.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 18 years, Joanne. He also leaves behind his children: daughters Janelle Gilman (Dustin) of Wahiawa, HI; Lisa Yadao (Daniel Wulcan) of San Francisco, CA; Irene Yadao (Gunther Kragler) of Camden, ME; son Michael Yadao, Jr. of Los Angeles, CA; and step-children Cristina Raymundo (Robeel) of Frisco, TX (from his first marriage); Phil Silva of Chula Vista, CA; Josh Silva of Diana, TX; and Christian Summerfruit of San Diego, CA. He leaves behind granddaughters Jeila, Rickelle, Josie, and Pippa; step-grandsons Justin, Jericho, Jefferson, and CJ; step-granddaughters Adalyn and Avanna; and numerous beloved great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Shirley Schenone of Mountain Home, ID; brothers Alfred Yadao of Hilo, HI and Barney Yadao of Mountain Home, ID; half siblings Jonathan Yadao and Jessica Valdez of Wahiawa, HI; mom-in-law Judi Torregrosa of San Diego, CA; brothers-in-law John Summerfruit of San Diego, CA and Scott Slaten of Beaverton, OR; and countless nieces, nephews, and extended family.
His legacy of laughing hard and loving big will carry on in every person he leaves behind. In his honor, please listen to some Fleetwood Mac, IZ or Makaha Sons. Eat some ginataan. Sit and bask in the sun as if it were your last day. A hui hou, Mikey.
A service with military honors will be held on Thursday, June 16 at 3pm at Miramar National Cemetery, where Mike’s ashes will be interred. Those wishing to attend should arrive by 2:30 pm.
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