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Restaurant president driven by love of children

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Alice Honda, of Wilkins, worked in the restaurant business for more than 40 years, serving as president of Honda’s Pub, and manager of the former Water Falls Terrace Restaurant at The Sheraton Hotel in Station Square. She also was a school crossing guard in Eastmont for 28 years.

Alice Honda's career path in the restaurant business began at 17 when she went to work for The Carlton House, Downtown, but family and friends say her real love was working with children for almost three decades as a school crossing guard.

“She loved it. ... The kids used to go to the bus stop a half-hour early,” said her daughter, Debra Finley, of Irwin. Her mother tried to shorten their wait time by playing games with the students and even sponsored a special “back to school bash” that attracted hundreds.

Alice Desmond Honda of Wilkins died Saturday, May 18, 2013. She was 78.

Mrs. Honda worked in the restaurant business for more than 40 years, serving as president of Honda's Pub, which operated restaurants in Penn Hills and Shaler, and as a supervisor and hostess in the former Water Falls Terrace Restaurant at The Sheraton Hotel in Station Square.

“She started out as a bus girl,” said Margie Campbell of Oakland, who knew Mrs. Honda for more than 40 years. “She is my oldest and dearest buddy. We used to call each other sisters. ... She was a good soul.”

It was her work with children that had the biggest impact — on her and them, those who knew her said.

Mrs. Honda worked as a crossing guard in Wilkins for 28 years.

“She loved that job. ... She put her heart into it,” said Bill Wilson, former Wilkins police chief, who oversaw the crossing guard program.

Mrs. Honda's annual end-of-summer party — featuring games and prizes donated by businesses — attracted hundreds of children, her daughter said.

“She was a great person, always doing stuff for the kids,” said her son, Richard Honda of Penn Hills. “She was the best.”

In addition to her daughter and son Richard, Mrs. Honda is survived by son Henry Honda of Wilkins and grandchildren Dana Finley of Oakmont and Brian Finley of Irwin.

Her husband, Henry Honda, and a brother, Sonny Desmond, preceded her in death.

Friends were received Tuesday in Jobe Funeral Home and Crematory Inc.'s Monroeville/Plum Chapel, corner of Beatty Road and 48 north, Monroeville. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday in St. Bernadette Church, 245 Azalea Drive, Monroeville. Entombment will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Hazelwood.

Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or csmith@tribweb.com.

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