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Missing Tosh Okamoto

(From left) Jenny Moriguchi, Tomio Moriguchi, Tosh Okamoto, Toshi Okamoto
Toshikazu Okamoto, October 1926 – May 2018

by Tomio Moriguchi, The North American Post

Tosh had all the great distinctive qualities of most of the second generation Nisei that we are all thankful for and proud of. However, in many ways, Tosh was a very unique individual, an artist, a family person, a leader of many causes and efforts of our community. He was an honest, hardworking individual to whom family and community were of great importance. Our community as a whole is a better place because of all of Tosh’s dedicated and thoughtful hard work. As an individual, I have been fortunate to
have had the opportunity to work, play and take on new challenges with Tosh, in so many meaningful ways. We first met in the early 1970’s, since we seemed to constantly run into each other at the various community events representing our organizations. I was then active in the Seattle JACL programs and Tosh was then active in the Seattle Nisei Veterans group.

Lovett, my bride from Hawaii and I had the pleasure of working and hanging out with the Okamotos. Tosh & Toshi’s whole family adopted my wife, me and our two children as part of their family. We treasured being able to spend time at their Beach home, hunt Matsutake, dig clams, fish and a mire of other great family activities with their whole family.

One of the many programs and projects Tosh and I embarked on was the initial Issei Concerns Keiro Nursing Home program, now called Keiro Northwest. This happened because of the number of times we met with the mostly Issei groups, for whom the need for a Nursing home was frequently discussed.

There were about 75 residents in about a dozen nursing homes housing the Isseis of our community. Most were treated well, and unfortunately some were not. For surely their diet did not include Japanese meals. To start, a 63- bed older nursing home was offered to us for immediate purchase. Tosh and I worked with many others to form a new nonprofit organization, Issei Concerns and raise funds for this Keiro Nursing home project. I recall Tosh and I looking at each other and saying, If we do not do this project now, in fifteen or twenty years, would we be able to look each other in the eye and say we should have?

I cherish the opportunity of working side by side with Tosh and his family. Heartfelt condolences to Toshi and their family. Tosh will be missed going into the future.

Love- Tomio Moriguchi, Publisher North American Post.