Willie Suzuki was 87 when he passed away after a brief illness with lymphoma in his Torrance home on May 15th. He was an outstanding painter, lithographer and printmaker who taught at El Camino College for forty years. His art was featured in numerous exhibitions in LA county from 1957 to 1970, where many works were highly awarded. He was also honored by one-man shows in Comara and Exodus Galleries, Occidental College, Palos Verdes Museum, Mt. San Antonio College, San Francisco Museum of Art, and California State University Dominguez Hills with his most recent show being in 2008 at El Camino College. Much of his work remains in private collections. Willie was born in Thermal, CA in 1933 to Kisaburo and Ine Suzuki, the youngest of nine children. Joe, Dorothy, Mariko, Robert, Frank, Fred, Tom and Haruko Watanabe have all preceded him in death - as did his first wife, Nancy. Willie played quarterback at Dorsey High School and graduated from El Camino Community College, earning his M.A from California State University Long Beach. He was class president at both El Camino and CSULB. In his early life, Will and part of his family were sent to Gila River Internment Camp, AZ during WWII. He later served in the U.S Army from 1957-59 in Germany. He was an avid fisherman and sports fan, who was especially enthusiastic about UCLA basketball and Angels baseball. He is survived by his wife of 23 years Gerry Suzuki, his daughter Leslie Reno and his grandson Calvin Ueda. He leaves a much-loved extended family. Will was a man who loved life, a man with a smile and a compliment for everyone. When asked early in the pandemic how long he would want to live if it had to be in quarantine, he smiled and said, "Forever!" At his request, there will be no service.
Published in Palos Verdes Peninsula News on May 29, 2021.