Adventist News

​Rita Hoshino, Widely Known for E. G. White Portrayals, Dies at 58

BY JULIE Z. LEE

Rita Hoshino, mentor to thousands of students at Pacific Union College and Mountain View Academy, passed away unexpectedly from complications of kidney disease and pneumonia on February 10, 2014. She was 58.

Hoshino, who grew up in Sunnyvale, California, and resided in Angwin, California, is a graduate of Miramonte Christian School, Mountain View Academy (MVA), and Pacific Union College (PUC). She began working at PUC immediately after graduation. Eventually becoming assistant to the dean of students, she oversaw the college Campus Center and Student Association, working closely with clubs and student leaders. During her 23 years of service at the college, Rita was a beloved mentor and friend to thousands of students. She had a vivid memory and remembered names and details about everyone she met, earning her the nickname “Rita Rolodex.”

PORTRAYING ELLEN WHITE: Because of her resemblance to Ellen White, Rita portrayed the Adventist Church cofounder at numerous events. [Photo: Pat Wick]Following her career at PUC, Hoshino was the alumni/advancement director at MVA. It was after this that Hoshino began investing in what had previously been only a hobby: portraying Ellen G. White. Because of her resemblance to the Seventh-day Adventist Church cofounder, Hoshino had often been asked to portray Ellen White at various functions. The first invitation was during her teenage years, when Hoshino was asked to play a young Ellen at an event for Pacific Press Publishing Association, where her father was employed. She eventually created The Ellen White Legacy, a ministry devoted to sharing White’s work through dramatic enactments.

Hoshino’s portrayal of Ellen White took her across the nation, bringing “Ellen” back to life for such events as St. Helena Hospital’s one hundred twenty-fifth anniversary celebration, the Hiram Edson Farm dedication, Loma Linda University Hospital’s centennial anniversary, and the 2010 General Conference session in Atlanta, Georgia. She was also a favorite at Pathfinder camporees, church services, schools, and camp meetings.

With the approval of the Ellen G. White Estate, Hoshino was invited to be a representative of Adventist Heritage Ministry.

Hoshino’s hope was to grow The Ellen White Legacy ministry into an educational tool for youth and young adults. The ministry Web site (www.ellenwhitelegacy.com) states, “The ministry of Ellen White Legacy is committed to presenting the life and person of Ellen White in a realistic, respectful way, hoping to encourage audiences to return to the real woman who inspired millions. Our ultimate goal is to point congregations not to Ellen White, but to the Jesus she so adored.”

Hoshino is survived by her brother, Dennis Hoshino; niece, Laren James; and nephew, Brent West-Hoshino.

Julie Z. Lee was a close friend of Rita Hoshino.


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