Toshikiyo "Andy" Matsui
1935 - 2020
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Toshikiyo "Andy" Matsui

Pebble Beach - Floral entrepreneur Toshikiyo "Andy" Matsui, 85, died peacefully in his sleep on December 11, 2020, at The Cottages of Carmel.

Andy was born into a traditional farm family in rural Nara Prefecture, Japan. As a young man, he participated in Ministry of Agriculture training programs that sent him to California and introduced him to new possibilities. In 1964, he emigrated to the United States, along with his wife, Yasuko, and first daughter. Andy and Yasuko worked as laborers in Japanese-owned flower nurseries in the Bay Area until they were able to start their own operations in leased greenhouses.

In 1969, Andy bought 40 acres of land outside Salinas to establish his own nursery. Over the years, Andy earned a reputation as a top-quality flower grower with a knack for innovation and industry leadership. He successfully guided Matsui Nursery through multiple product transformations in response to changing business conditions. In the mid-1990s, at an age when many people contemplate retirement, Andy converted his nursery to potted orchid production. Working with national chains such as Trader Joe's, he pioneered the sale of potted orchids in grocery stores. Today, Matsui Nursery offers the greatest selection of orchid varieties of any large-sale commercial orchid nursery in the US.

In 2004, Andy and Yasuko established the Matsui Foundation as their way to support the educational aspirations of underserved students in the Salinas Valley and Monterey County. Starting with the grant of a single scholarship to a graduating senior from Gonzales High School - their daughters' alma mater - it has distributed more than $8 million in college scholarships.

Andy is survived by his wife of 62 years, Yasuko, a renowned student and private instructor of the Urasenke school of Japanese tea ceremony, daughters Teresa (Walter) and Kathy (Jesper), sons William (Elizabeth) and Paul (Jennifer), and grandchildren Tycho, Pria, Margaret, and Cameron.

The family plans to hold a celebration of life when it is again safe to gather.

Andy would be the first to acknowledge that, in addition to hard work and taking risks, his good fortune was aided by luck and the assistance of others. His prosperity and prominence were always the source of delighted surprise; his life and achievements far exceeded anything he could have imagined as a young farmer in rural Japan. You can honor his memory by supporting another striver.




To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Salinas Californian from Dec. 11 to Dec. 12, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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40 entries
December 30, 2020
I am from same Cojo city, Nara in Japan as Mr. Matsui and back in Gojo now. I even went to same high school, Gojo High School. My aunt was his classmate as well as his wife. It was such a small world. I met him about 20 years ago in Bay Area when I was a student then became a nurse there. He was very kind, thoughtful, and energetic. He liked musical and took me and my friend to see musical in San Francisco. Also, I remember that he took me and my husband to the Stainbeck House for lunch. I am very honored to have gotten to know him.
Hitomi Tahara
Friend
December 23, 2020
Andy was a true and great friend to my family. Bless his immortal soul!
Tisa Roland
Friend
December 22, 2020
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juliette rizkallah
December 20, 2020
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Yoshiko & Remi Santell-Benzaken
December 20, 2020
It was a privilege and a joy to know Mr. Matsui. He was such a gentle soul. His sincerity, hospitality and generosity had no equal. His achievements in business, but also his meaningful contributions through service and involvement to the community, will have an everlasting impact. May God bless Mr. Matsui and his family. Our sincere condolences.
Yoshiko & Remi Santell-Benzaken
Friend
December 18, 2020
Mr. Matsui gave me the opportunity to work the summer of 1981 at his greenhouse to save money to go to college the following fall. For that, I am thankful. May he rest in peace.
Eduardo Lorenzana
Coworker
December 17, 2020
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Miho Greenberg
December 17, 2020
My husband and I visited your hometown, Nara prefecture.
And met your younger brother❣
Junko Yatsuka
Friend
December 16, 2020
Mr. Matsui was a dear man and the best patron of our restaurant we had in Chualar. (Chualar Bar and Grill) in 2005. He will surely be missed by his family and friends. Our condolence to the family, love Tim and Fe Williams.
Tim and Fe
Friend
December 16, 2020
Andy was the most energetic, creative, generous and gentle men. It was my privilege to have lunch with him on most Tuesdays while President of Hartnell. At one of those lunches, Andy said, "you take too long to get kids through college; what are you going to do about it?". The result of that lunch was the CISn'3 Bachelors Degree. Andy has sent 200-300 Monterey County student through college. Many have earned additional degrees and many are back, contributing to their community and paying taxes, just as Andy wanted. I know of no one who has made such an impact on one County. I know for sure he made a lasting impact on my heart. God Bless you Andy and Mary. You live forever in our hearts.
Phoebe K Helm
Friend
December 16, 2020
Mr. Andy Matusi was one of the most energetic, creative, generous and gentle people I have ever known. It was my great honor to spend most every Tuesday lunchtime with him from 2008 to 2012 while serving as Hartnell College's President. It was at one of those luncheon's that he challenged me by saying, "it takes too long for students to finish college, what are you going to do about it?". The result of that conversation was the three year pathway to a BS degree in computer science. Andy and Mary have paid for 200-300 Monterey County youth to earn a Bachelors Degree, many of whom have earned additional degrees and many are living and contributing to the welfare of their community. And, just as Andy wanted... they are paying taxes. Finishing college three years out of high school makes a lifetime difference in earnings and in tax contributions, he would remind me. I know of no other example of a person who was determined to give it all back and to do so in only one county. I can only imagine the impact his legacy will make on Monterey and the Salinas Valley. I know he made a permanent impact on my heart. God Bless you, Andy, and Mary and your lovely family. You will live forever in the hearts of all of us who had the joy of knowing you.
Phoebe K. Helm
Friend
December 16, 2020
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Miriam Flores
December 15, 2020
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Yuki Horie
December 15, 2020
Dear my mentor Andy

You are so nice to me. Now I know you are resting in a peaceful place. However, you are always in my mind.
Jeremy Jean
former president of TAC
Jeremy Jean
Friend
December 15, 2020
He was a wonderful man, who had great advice in life and in business. Our heart and condolences go out to his wonderful family dying this time of grief. Was a pleasure knowing Mr. Matsui and his family May God rest his soul!!
Ascura’s
Friend
December 15, 2020
Dear Matsui Family,
It was an honor to know Andy. I am so grateful for his life and all the opportunities and support the Matsui Foundation has given to the community we share. Our deepest condolences to you all.

Lynn Ezell
Friend
December 15, 2020
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Susan Kawada
December 14, 2020
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Miho Armacost
December 14, 2020
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Eric Fontana
December 14, 2020
Mr. Matsui spoke to students at CSUMB about managing a business in a responsible way. He was amazing, patient, funny, and inspirational. Following his talk, he donated a large box full of books with 2 articles presenting his business ideas. Students have read and shared these books commenting on his dedication and kindness. He was an inspiration.
Jill Hosmer-Jolley
Student
December 14, 2020
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Cristine Cote
December 14, 2020
When Georganne Guarino joined the Carmel Garden Club and committed to the art of flower arranging Andy was one of the first people she met. How fortunate for her. Andy enhanced her joy of discovery. Thank you Mr. Matsui.
Vincent Guarino
Acquaintance
December 14, 2020
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Erin Bryant
December 14, 2020
I had the pleasure of working for Matsui Nursery when they were still growing roses. Andy was a smart, kind and had a great sense of humor. .. unless you parked in his parking spot. haha
Vivian Palm
Coworker
December 13, 2020
I visited his hometown two years ago, Gojo NARA in Japan. And I met his younger brother. He respected his brother Mr. Andy so much. Please rest in peace.
JUNKO YATSUKA
Friend
December 13, 2020
Student
December 13, 2020
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Aya Higa
December 13, 2020
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Tina Nishida
December 13, 2020
Matsui-San represents the very best human qualities. He was a great entrepreneur and risk taker. He focused on his customer’s quality needs. And he gave back to the community in which he operated. It was my good fortune to have net him.
Michael Berolzheimer
Friend
December 13, 2020
I am truly honored to have known Andy. His generosity, kindness and selflessness will leave an indelible impact on our community, positively impacting thousands of lives for generations. Andy, you have set the example and showed us the way to make meaningful contributions to those in need. God bless Andy and his entire family
Paul Powers
Friend
December 12, 2020
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Sheri Dickstein
December 12, 2020
Sympathy gifts were selected in loving memory of Toshikiyo "Andy" Matsui. To send a gift visit our online store.
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younghee Kim-wait
December 12, 2020
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Yarely Chino
December 12, 2020
In loving memory of a great soul. Your life has been a great blessing. Your way to support "the educational aspirations of underserved students" in the Salinas Valley and Monterey County has been, is, and will be a blessing. You has been a great inspiration. Your legacy will live on forever in our beloved America. We miss you always. Mr. Matsui, a great soul for all of us. Thank you for your life.
Adelina Vargas González
Friend
December 12, 2020
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Yumiko Murakami
December 12, 2020
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Katherine Hall
December 12, 2020
To a wonderful family. Andy was always so good to me. I know he is resting in peace. Elizabeth williams. Mayor of Gonzales retired RIP
Elizabeth Williams
Friend
December 12, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will cherish your generosity. You changed the lives of hundreds of students and your legacy will live on forever in the Salinas Valley. We love you and miss you always. Mr. Andy Matsui, a great man, a great role model for all of us.
Jackie Cruz
Friend
December 12, 2020
Andy was one of the finest men I have ever known. His life was defined by hard work, kindness, generosity, and humility.
God bless Andy Matsui!
Bill Barr
Friend
December 12, 2020
I feel blessed to have known Andy Matsui. An incredible man who gave so much to our community. My heartfelt condolences to the entire Matsui family.
Harry Wardwell
Friend
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