Joel is survived by his loving spouse of 16 years, Paul Burnham of Honolulu, HI, brother Billy Emperador of Manteca, CA, brother Mike Emperador of Austin, TX, brother Paul Emperador of Fair Oaks, CA, sister Beth Coit of Fairfield, CA, and 11 adoring nephews and nieces.
Joel was born in Chattanooga, TN the first of five children to parents Eugenio Difuntorum and Barbara Ann Emperador. Joel’s father was a family physician and his mother an operating room nurse. They settled in Manteca, CA in the early 60s, where the family quickly became a staple of the local community. Home was a fun and lively place where Joel and his four siblings were all involved in year round sports, with mom and dad supporting each and every one of them in all their activities. An avid tennis player, Joel played in and won many league titles all the way into his adulthood.
Joel followed in his parents’ footsteps by entering into the healthcare profession. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Pacific Union College in 1996 and his Masters of Science in Nursing from Cal State Dominguez Hills in 2002.
Joel’s career included successful positions at Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento, CA and San Joaquin County Hospital in Stockton, CA. There he came to hold the positions Manager of Pediatric Intensive Care and Assistant Director of Nursing, respectively.
Joel and Paul moved to Hawai’i in 2011, where Joel joined the leadership team at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu, HI, as Director of Pediatrics and Critical Care.
In 2016, Joel was promoted to VP of Hospital Operations and his contributions to the specialty hospital’s programs and services grew. Throughout his career in healthcare, Joel was a wonderful nurse, effective administrator, respected leader, and a staunch supporter and advocate for nurses and patients. Additionally, for the past few years, he served as a board member of HUGS Hawai‘i.
Joel loved to cook, go to the beach, and take daily walks with Paul. He found joy in all he did, whether at home, work or play. Joel was a unique memorable force who touched everyone with his fun-loving, inspirational, and motivational ability to make meaningful connections from the heart.
Joel, you will be dearly missed and remembered fondly and continue to live on through those of us who knew and loved you.
A celebration of life will be held at Central Union Church in Honolulu, HI on January 16, 2020 at 5 p.m. There will be a receiving line starting at 4 p.m. before the service.
An after-service gathering will take place at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, Honolulu, HI.The family asks that in lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider making a donation to HUGS Hawai‘i. To learn more, visit www.hugshawaii.org.
Friday, December 6, 2019