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Shiro Higashi, 85, of Salinas, passed away Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital due to pneumonia. He was born Sept. 25, 1928 in Inglewood and was the youngest of four siblings, born to Goemon and Iso Higashi
After attending Brighton High School in Denver, Colorado, Shiro moved back to Salinas where he entered the family farming business. In 1965, Shiro and his brother, George, joined in a partnership with the Tanimura brothers to form H&T Packing. Shiro continued a career in agriculture focusing on garlic and onion fields. After farming, Shiro started a trucking company, Ajo Rey, to distribute across California.
Shiro was an avid fisherman and spent many days on the Pacific Ocean with good friends coming home with many fish and many more friends awaiting at home for the fish fry that followed.
Shiro was also a pilot, poker player and loved to barbecue.
Shiro filled his retirement with family, friends and laughter.
He was without a doubt a determined and strong willed person and that showed through his unwavering commitment to his community. Shiro was an active member of the Buddhist Temple of Salinas, longtime member of JACL, Kagoshimi Kenjinkai, and recently awarded an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Salinas Ichiki - Kushikino City program. Shiro had a special place in his heart for the Sister-City program and loved the idea that we could build a bridge between Salinas, California, and Kushikino, Japan to teach our youth that the future of our societies was dependent on peaceful interaction and a growth of understanding and friendship.
Shiro was preceded in death by his parents, Goemon and Iso Higashi and older siblings, Robert and Kazuko.
Shiro is survived by his loving wife of 31 years, Mitsuko "Mitzi" Higashi; his brother, George Higashi; stepchildren, Robert Couch (Carolyn), Joe Ann Feibusch, Carolyn Sue Couch (Dave), Sarah Patton (Cory). Shiro, was known to his grandchildren and friends alike as, "Pa" and is also survived by granddaughters, Jillian Feibush, Breanne Feibusch, and Samantha Couch; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends that will miss his sense of humor, generosity and tenacity.
Thank you to the caring staff at SVMH during Shiro's many stays, always caring and gracious. A special thank you to the loving care and support of his caregivers, Ronald, Christina, Megann, Ann, Karina, and Leslee; you made his life richer with your kindness and laughter and he loved you like family.
Visitation will be held from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Thursday, July 10, 2014, at Struve and Laporte Chapel, 41 W. San Luis St., Salinas, CA 93901.
Services to celebrate his life will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, July 11, 2014, at the Buddhist Temple, 14 California St., Salinas, CA 93901.
Funeral arrangements by Struve and Laporte Funeral Home.
For more information and to share a memory, visit www.struveandlaporte.com.
Struve and Laporte Funeral Chapel
41 West San Luis Salinas, CA 93901
Published in The Salinas Californian from July 2 to July 9, 2014