[NOTE: Our apologies for being a year late in posting this obituary in Taps.]
Takashi (Tak) Higashiyama, was born in Seattle, Washington, on February 15, 1921, and passed away from pneumonia on March 25, 2020, at 99-years of age. He was pre-deceased by his parents, Ikuta and Takayo Higashiyama, sisters Fumiko Kaibe and Teruko Kudo, wife Rei (Hirata) Higashiyama. He is survived by daughters Janice Huie, Karen Unger, Diana Trudnowski, Linda Higashiyama; son Dennis Higashiyama (wife Terry); grandchildren Raina and Ryan Huie, Frank Unger (wife Carrie), Tyler and Stuart Trudnowski; and great-grandson Luke Unger.
Tak graduated from Broadway High School and attended the UW before he and his family were removed to the incarceration camp at Minidoka in 1942. He later enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Military Intelligence Service during the Occupation of Japan, where he met his future wife, Rei Hirata. They had two children in Japan before they moved to the Seattle area in 1952. Tak had a long career as a machinist with Boeing before retiring and enjoying his two favorite activities: bowling and fishing. He especially enjoyed participating in various bowling leagues at Imperial Lanes. Remembrances may be made to a charity of your choice.
FRED A. SHIOSAKI
On April 10, 2021, Fred A. Shiosaki, dad, husband, brother, son, friend, public servant, environmentalist, gardener, freedom fighter, and avid fly-fisherman passed away peacefully at the age of 96.
Fred was born on August 23, 1924, in Spokane, Washington, the fourth of five siblings. He grew up in the Hillyard neighborhood of north Spokane where his parents Tori and Kisaburo Shiosaki owned and operated the Hillyard Laundry. By his own admission, Fred was an average student but enjoyed extracurricular activities - he ran track and participated in the photography club in high school.
After graduating from John R. Rogers High School, Fred started college at Gonzaga University. However, he eventually left his studies, and against his parents' wishes, volunteered to join the US Army. He enlisted in the all-Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
As a member of 'K'' company in the 442nd, Fred and his fellow soldiers fought valiantly in Italy and France. The 442nd, made up of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland, became one of the most decorated units in American military history. In the rescue of the Lost Battalion - the rescue operation of the Texas soldiers who were trapped by German forces deep in the forest, the famed 442nd sustained massive casualties during the rescue. Fred was one of only 17 out of 186 'K' Company soldiers to survive the rescue operation. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
After the war, with a rank of staff sergeant, Fred returned to Washington state to resume college at the University of Washington. However, he eventually returned to Spokane and Gonzaga University. He graduated from Gonzaga University in 1949 with a Chemistry degree. Fred was urged by his college advisors to pursue a graduate degree at the UW, but he couldn't stand being separated from his future wife, Lily, so decided against it. In 1955, Fred married Lily Nakai, who remained the love of his life for more than 70 years.
Fred started his career at Hollister-Stier Laboratory, a pharmaceutical company in Spokane, followed by a short stint at Kaiser Aluminum. In 1957, he landed the job as City chemist with Spokane's Health Department and remained in that position through 1967.
A lifelong advocate for the environment, Fred was the founding director of the Spokane Air Pollution Control Authority. He was recruited to oversee the environmental program of the Washington Water Power Company, now Avista Utilities. He also had a long commitment to public service. In 1990 Fred was appointed to the Washington State Ecological Commission by Governor Booth Gardner and chaired the commission through 1998. In 1999, Governor Gary Locke appointed him to serve on the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, where he served for eight years.
Fred was instrumental in securing funds for a new Fish and Wildlife Department regional headquarters in the Spokane Valley including a $1.9 million laboratory. The facility was renamed to honor him.
One of Fred's great passions was fly-fishing. Fred used to unwind from intense days by tying flies in his basement. He enjoyed spending time with fellow fly-fishermen from the Inland Empire Fly Fishing Club, and fishing 'catch and release' at fly-only lakes across eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana.
In 2011, long overdue, at the Capitol in Washington DC, Fred and fellow Veterans of the 442nd were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their service.
Fred was preceded in death by his parents, Tori and Kisaburo Shiosaki and his brothers George, Roy and Floyd Shiosaki, sister Blanche Okamoto and his beloved wife Lily (Nakai) Shiosaki. He is survived by his daughter, Nancy, son, Michael and son-in-law, Edward, and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers or koden, please consider a donation in his honor to
- Densho, the Japanese American Legacy Project, https://densho.org/give/
- Highland Park United Methodist Church, 611 S Garfield Street, Spokane, WA 99202.