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James Yoshiharu Suzuki


1930 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
MARINA CA– James "Jim or Jimmy" Suzuki was born in Honolulu, HI and passed away at Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula of complications from pneumonia.
The loss is a great one to our family and our community, but even though he has left us, he left us much. We will always keep him in our hearts, remembering his love and dedication to family, to community, to country, to all of us. He always looked for the best in people and often found it. His was a quiet, noble strength that we all admired and seek to emulate.
After growing up an island boy in Honolulu with his two big brothers who he lovingly referred to as "Brother George" and "Brother John" he graduated from McKinley High School in 1948. He promptly enrolled in Honolulu Business College where he graduated in 1950, majoring in Accounting. He joined the US Army in 1952, which changed his life. The military birthed a soldier and the natural born leader in him. He found his niche going from finance to personnel management. A distinguished career lasting 20 years followed, seeing him through both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In 1972, he retired from active duty and settled down with his wife Kiyoko "Kaye" and their three daughters in Marina, CA. Upon retirement from the Army, he began a new career working first in Civil Service, then the Seaside Post Office and until his death, volunteering with the Disabled American Veterans organization.
In 1971, he joined the Nisei VFW Post 1629, where he fit right in with his fellow comrades and island boys. One of his proudest moments was coordinating the ceremony to present the Congressional Medal of Honor to the surviving members of the 442nd RCT, 100th Infantry Bn. and the Military Intelligence Service. He was State Chairman for the Voice of Democracy Scholarship program for 18 years. This program was established to instill patriotism and civic responsibility to our nation's youth. In the past few years he was an outspoken voice for the Central Coast Veterans' Cemetery. On February 16th he was presented with the Jerry C. Smith Community Service Award by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL). This award was another highlight in his life and the deserved recognition represented everything that he tried to exemplify.
He is survived by his loving wife, Kiyoko, of 58 years and 3 daughters: Sandy (Nils) Larson, Jo-Ann (Alex) Castillo and LeAnn (Steven) Lang; 8 grandchildren: Johnny, Christy, Joshua, David, Kelly, Alysa, James and Daniel. His first grandson, Johnny, otherwise known as his "shadow" was a major part of Grandpa Jim's life. He is also survived by his brothers George and John and their families in Hawaii.
A celebration of Jim's life will take place on March 29, 2014 at 1300 hours at the Ft. Ord Military Community Chapel on General Jim Moore Blvd. with a reception immediately following at Stilwell Community Center.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions can be made to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV.org) or consider doing an act of service with a whole heart as Jim did for most of his life.
Published in The Monterey Herald on Mar. 16, 2014
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