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William Tamotsu Sueoka M.D.(1938 - 2013)

January 14, 1938 - October 1, 2013
Bill passed away after a valiant fight against pancreatic cancer and leaves behind his finacée, Levita Stewart, his five children, Suzie Sueoka Kenton, Steve Sueoka, Pattie Sueoka Lofton, Laura Sueoka and Michael Sueoka; four grandaughters Destiny Sueoka, Amaya Lofton, Malia Kenton and Naomi Kenton; his brother Tom Sueoka; and many loving family members and friends. He was predeceased by his sister, Shirley Enlow.
Bill was born the eldest of three in Petaluma, California, where he was raised on a poultry farm until 1942 when his family was sent to the Japanese American Internment Camp in Amache, Colorado. He remembered his time there as a great adventure and often got into mischief with his fellow internees. In 1945 they returned to the Petaluma farm, and he became an Eagle Scout and a 4H State Champion. He graduated Petaluma High School in 1956 and continued his education at UC Davis where he was a student fireman and a member of the ROTC. He received his Bachelors of Science degree from UC Berkeley in 1960 followed by UCSF Medical School. He completed his Residency in Pathology at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in 1968. Shortly thereafter, Bill joined the Air Force and served in the Vietnam War as a pathologist. At the end of his military service he had reached the rank of Major and was stationed at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California. ?
Bill then went on to work at the VA Hospital in Los Angeles and eventually moved to Thousand Oaks, California, in 1975 where he joined the pathology practice at Los Robles Regional Medical Center. Bill served as the Director of the Clinical Laboratory and was known for his quiet charm and generous spirit; he always had a smile and a "hello" for all who crossed his path. During this time, he implemented a revolutionary Medical Technology program at California Lutheran College, now CLU. It provided the science students with hands on experience in a medical setting under his tutelage. Bill also worked closely with the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff and players during the training camps held at the campus in the late '70s and the '80s. In 1997, after 22 years in practice, he retired from Los Robles.
But, this did not slow him down. Bill continued to work at Santa Paula Hospital and various Valley hospitals. He helped local schools with their team physicals, completed training with the Disaster Assisstance Response Team and volunteered with the police department. When he fully retired from medicine, Bill pursued his love of learning by enrolling for classes at Moorpark College. His schedule ran the gamut from philosophy to astronomy to his great passion archaeology in which he managed to take every class offered. Bill loved searching for and discovering historical remnants on archaeological digs. One of his greatest accomplishments was returning to Camp Amache last summer with his youngest son, Michael, and participating in a dig there with students from the University of Denver. Bill was also a member of the Ventura County Astronomical and Archaeological Societies. He was an avid art and music lover and enjoyed watching films of all genres.
Bill will be fondly remembered for his gentle nature, quick wit and overwhelming kindness. And in his words, "Love to you all."
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, October 12th at California Lutheran University's Lundring Events Center at 11:30 a.m. A military burial will take place on Monday, October 14th at 11:30 a.m. at the Riverside National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers (or koden) the family requests that donations in honor of William T. Sueoka be made to the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012; attention Helen Ota.

Published in Petaluma Argus-Courier from Oct. 10 to Nov. 9, 2013
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