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Ken Tohinaka

1940 - 2018
Ken Tohinaka

- - September 6, 1940 ~ November 14, 2018

A coroner surprisingly awarded Ken a lifetime achievement award when he suddenly succumbed to non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma on Wednesday. It was quite the surprise since he appeared to be symptom-free and further had never required doctor's care or medication other than the occasional antibiotic. And the disease's toll was both swift and complete. He managed to have a last laugh of sorts, however, and relished in its irony. After being discharged from the hospital for the final time, he continued to be pain-free and remained stable for a month. In fact, he gained some weight, eating whatever he wanted whenever he wanted, feeling better and stronger with each passing day. This path could not be sustained of course and wasn't, the flame suddenly and painlessly extinguished.

He is survived in birth order by a brother, Carl; a sister, Janice; and a brother, Ray. Ken was the oldest. The older of two sisters, Sue, died of breast cancer while a practicing attorney in Chicago. Both parents are deceased after surviving the rigors associated with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent necessity of moving inland from California. His parents managed to prosper and educate all of their children. The grandchildren bear even greater promise.

Ken served in the Army in South Korea and West Germany from 1963-1965. He lived in Vermont for over 30 years where he gained friends and his life partner, Shirley Haw, who died in 2011. After living alone for 6 years Ken moved to Salt Lake to be closer to family and eat good food.

In absentia, Ken offers profound and public thanks for all the support and well wishes he received from all of his family, friends, and acquaintances. Per Ken's wishes, there will be no services.

Arrangements entrusted to Starks Funeral Parlor. Please share your photos and memories of Ken with his family at

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Nov. 18, 2018
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