Dorothy Park was born on April 18, 1928, and was a 1945 graduate of Hilo High School. Her mother, Soon Nam Kim, ran the Iolani Hotel, a boarding house on Kino‘ole Street. Her father, Young Chai Park, was the camp luna at Kamae‘e Mauka in Hakalau then later moved with his growing family to Nikai Camp in Kaiwiki and served as a working foreman for Hilo Sugar. He is said to have been a good friend of Syngman Rhee, who came to stay at the hotel during a visit to Hilo.
Dorothy at first wanted to become a doctor but later changed her major to occupational therapy on the advice of her eldest brother. After graduating from the University of Kansas, she returned to Hilo, where she became the first registered occupational therapist to be hired by Hawai‘i County; she was assigned to Pu‘umaile Hopsital to assist patients recovering from tuberculosis.
Park-Kataoka was later assigned to Hilo Hospital, where she became director of occupational therapy. Part of her time was also geared towards helping her patients after their release from the hospital. She founded Halemaumau Crafts, a lauhala weaving business for her TB patients (many of whom were single Filipino men) in Pana‘ewa—the storefront welcomed busloads of tourists while the back served as living quarters for these men, who had no other family to take care of them.
After twenty-five years of service, she retired from Hilo Medical around 1978. She died June 24, 2015.
Photographs from the collection can be seen at https://cksdigital.manoa.hawaii.edu/collections/show/9