Longtime Livingston resident, decorated WWII veteran and skilled physician Yokichi "Yok" Itoh, died peacefully at the Livingston Memorial Hospital on Jan. 8, 2014.
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Although born in Seattle, Washington, Yok was raised in Three Forks by his parents Kichisuke and Ryu (Tzumi) Itoh. Yok graduated from Three Forks High School before continuing his education in pre-medicine at Montana State University. He entered the U. S. Army and served in the 442nd Japanese Unit from 1943-1946. During WWII he fought in the European Theater in France where he sustained major injuries. Following two years of surgical intervention and rehabilitation, he went to medical school at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
During his training, he met the love of his life, Marion Tanamachi, and they were married on June 5, 1948. They then started their family, their two sons being born in Philadelphia. After graduation from Temple and receiving his MD, Yok moved with his family to Livingston to begin his medical and surgical practice. Their daughter was born shortly after moving to Livingston. At that time he was one of two surgeons in town and practiced medicine for the next 30 years until his retirement in 1986.
During his career, he displayed his "community servant heart" as a member of the Lions and Rotary Clubs, American Legion, Livingston Memorial Hospital Board and Grace Methodist Church. Later in life he was quite active with the Park County Senior Center and Meals on Wheels.
Yok loved to hunt and fish and spend time in the great outdoors. Family was important to him and he loved taking each of his seven grandchildren fly-fishing. He also loved sports and especially enjoyed watching MSU Bobcat basketball. He also enjoyed watching his grandchildren play sports whenever he could. He would make regular trips with Marion to the West Coast in their RV. There they loved to dig for clams, visit friends and family, and stock up with Eastern Washington fruit, which they shared generously with others. In his retirement garden vegetables became his "patients" and he lovingly cared for them. Another favorite retirement activity was to attend reunions of the 442nd Battalion, as well as his high school reunions.
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Marion Itoh of Livingston; sister, Florence of Philadelphia; brother, Robert of Bozeman; son, Richard "Butch" (Linda) Itoh of Bozeman, and Steve (Debbie) Itoh of Roberts, Wisconsin; daughter, Kathy (Jim) Millson of Deming, Washington; and seven grandchildren.
Graveside committal services with military honors will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 10, 2014 at Mountain View Cemetery in Livingston. A memorial service will follow at 1 p.m. at Holbrook United Methodist Church, corner of 5th and Lewis streets in Livingston. Rev. Frederick Amborn, III of Grace United Methodist Church will officiate.
Arrangements are under the direction of Franzen-Davis Funeral Home in Livingston. Condolences and memories may be shared at Franzen-Davis.com.
Our deepest thanks to Dr. Ted Scofield, the staff Livingston Memorial Hospital and Livingston Health and Rehabilitation Center, friends Harold Rediske and Jim Hochalter, and any others involved with his care. The respect, dignity, and care they all showed Dad during his final months will forever be remembered and greatly appreciated.
Franzen-Davis Funeral Home & Crematory
118 North Third Street Livingston, MT 59047
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on July 6, 2014