DENNIS M. HIKIDA
Dennis M. Hikida, 71, of Seattle passed away November 25, 2022. He was born on January 8, 1951, to Mary and Robert Hikida. Dennis graduated from Garfield High School in 1969. He was a Veteran of the U.S. Air Force and later worked as an X-Ray Technician at Group Health on Capitol Hill in Seattle.
Dennis is survived by his mother, Mary Hikida, brother Wayne, sisters Jody Lewis (Dano), Tammy Suto (Carey) and many nieces and nephews. Dennis was preceded in death by his father, Robert K. Hikida. Donations may be made to the charity of your choice.
Thomas Hikida was born to Frank Yohei and Emma Hatsu Hikida in Auburn, Washington on Oct. 16, 1922. He passed away on Sep. 22, 2022, in Auburn.
Tom entered the University of Washington in 1941. His studies were interrupted by World War II; after Pearl Harbor, he and many other Japanese Americans were sent to Tule Lake incarceration camp. The University awarded honorary degrees to Tom and other classmates sent to the camp in 2008, 67 years later. Tom served in the US Army before the war ended. On his way to Italy with the 442nd Battalion, he was reassigned to Military Intelligence. However, he received a medical discharge and eventually returned to Auburn. In 1947 he reenlisted in the Army and worked as a field intelligence agent for the US Military in Japan. There he met his wife Beatrice Mitsunaga, a native of Hawaii who worked as a billeting manager for the Army. They were married in 1949. After leaving intelligence, Tom continued to work as a hotel manager for the military and was in charge of the hotels division in the Pacific.
Tom returned to Auburn in 1960 and owned both the Oriental Gift Shop and Tobe’s Drive In Restaurant. He worked at these and other jobs in Auburn until he retired in 1982. He volunteered for numerous organizations, including the White River Museum and the Auburn Food Bank. As a 33rd degree Mason, he worked with their youth group, the DeMolay International. Before World War II, the Japanese American community donated a set of pole lamps to Auburn High School. When Cascade Junior High School was torn down, Tom led the effort to save and rededicate the lamps to the new Auburn High School.
Tom was preceded in death by his loving wife of 60 years, Beatrice Hikida, and his sister Pearl Okura. He is survived by his daughter Diane and her partner Don Martin, his son Vernon, his son Vincent and wife Yukie, and their two sons Christopher and Jason.
Donations may be made to the White River Valley Museum or your favorite charity.
TORU ALLAN KUSAKA
Toru Allan Kusaka passed away on October 26, 2022. He was born on December 25, 1939, in Longview, Washington to Ichiro and Kimiko Kusaka and he grew up on Bainbridge Island, WA and in Heart Mountain, WY. Toru attended Bainbridge High School and Seattle University. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1963 and upon discharge, began a career with FEMA that lasted decades. His job entailed traveling the country and setting up field command and communication tents when natural disasters occurred.
Caring for others was Toru’s passion. He enjoyed tending to his elderly father and cat, hosting annual family BBQ’s, yard work and feeding the wildlife around his home. He firmly remained faithful to maintaining his father’s home and caring for the neighbor on Bainbridge Island.
Toru is survived by his brother, Kenji, and nine nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ichiro (1990) and Kimiko (1944); and siblings Shigeo (1935), Janet Faubion (1989) and Joyce Katayama (2020). To say that Toru will be missed is an understatement. His dry humor, loyalty and presence will forever live on in our hearts. He was a true example of a life well lived and with others in mind.
THEODORE HIROSHI TOMITA
Theodore Hiroshi Tomita passed away at age 78 at home on May 25, 2023, after a brief illness. Ted was born to Theodore Isamu and Masako Nakata Tomita on July 3, 1944, in Boise, Idaho, where his parents and sister, Gloria, were incarcerated at the Minidoka concentration camp.
Ted’s first birthday was spent in Washington, DC, where the family was relocated, and his father and uncle Paul worked in the government printing shop. The family moved back to Seattle after WWII ended and the Tomita brothers re-established West Coast Printing in the International District on South Main Street. The business later relocated to Rainier Avenue South where Ted and his brother Eric continued the family printing business.
After graduating from Garfield High School, Ted served in the Army National Guard during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ted was active on the Nikkei Concerns board and served a term as board president. He was also a past president of the NVC Foundation and a member of the First Hill Lions Club. Ted was lucky to have enjoyed golfing with friends in Las Vegas, fishing in Canada and Alaska, and meeting friends at Terry’s Kitchen every Wednesday. He was very fortunate to have the wonderful support of family and friends during his lifetime.
Ted is survived by his wife Janet, son Brett, sister Gloria Shigeno (Ron and family), sister Nina Kato (Merwin and family), and brother Eric (Diane and family).
ARTHUR S. “ART” YOROZU
A Congressional Gold Medal recipient and patron of the arts, Arthur S. Yorozu died at home on September 26, 2022, at 95 years of age. Art was born in Seattle on June 4, 1927, and attended Seattle public schools until his family was sent first to the Western Washington fairgrounds in Puyallup and later to Minidoka Concentration Camp for Japanese Americans in Idaho. Despite the hardships, Art graduated from high school at Minidoka when he was only 16 years old. On a trip east to visit his sister, he met the president of Swarthmore College who encouraged him to apply there, which Art did. He attended the college for a year before being drafted into the Army.
At 19, Art was accepted and looked forward to attending the Army Specialized Training Program at Yale University. Instead, the Army sent him to language school at Fort Snelling in Minnesota and then to Japan in 1946, where he was part of the Military Intelligence Service interrogating Japanese Prisoners of War who had been held in Manchuria and Russia. He would tell his family that conditions were horrible in Japan, and he regularly gave rice and other food rations to his starving extended family in Tokyo. After serving in World War II, Art returned to Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in engineering.
Art had a 38-year-long and distinguished career at the Boeing Company. He specialized in air flow in jet cabins and held several patents while working at Boeing. Art and his wife, Helene, were married for nearly 55 years when she died in 2011. Art gave generously to his family, local community organizations and political candidates throughout the United States. He liked to support new artists by buying their artwork. Just a few months before he died, he honored his wife with the Helene Tsutsumoto Yorozu and Arthur S. Yorozu Endowed Fellowship in Dance at Helene’s and his alma mater, the University of Washington.
Art and Helene did not have any children of their own, but his greatest title was that of “Uncle Art,” which he held for not just his family but for the children of his friends, their friends, and many others. Art is survived by 19 nieces and nephews, 19 grandnieces and grandnephews, 14 great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews, and his sister-in-law, Sally Tsutsumoto.
In addition to his wife, Art was predeceased by his parents Tokisaburo and Hatsu Yorozu and all his brothers and sisters including William Yorozu, Stella Takahashi, Lily Fujii, Henry Yorozu, and Helen Erlandson.