Obituary of John Yoshio Suzuki
John Yoshio Suzuki
June 25, 1928 – May 20, 2019
John Yoshio Suzuki passed away peacefully on May 20, 2019. Born on June 25, 1928 in Santa Barbara to Hanshichi and Mine Honda Suzuki, who preceded him in death. He was also preceded by his older brother and fishing partner, Tadao Suzuki, DDS.
Growing up in Santa Barbara, John attended Franklin Elementary, SBJHS, SBHS and SBCC. During World War II, John and his family was evacuated to the Gila River War Relocation Center. After the war, they returned to Santa Barbara, John attended SBHS and enjoyed playing varsity football and baseball. In 1950, he was drafted and served as Sergeant Tank Commander in the Korean War. After an honorable discharge, John attended SBCC, majoring in business. After graduation, John joined his father and worked in the family landscape gardening business.
John was a natural athlete playing many sports but bowling was his passion. In fact, one night he asked a pretty girl named Fumi if she’d like to go bowling which resulted in a 65-year union. John bowled semi-professionally for several years and in 1962, carried a 219 bowling average which was the highest in Santa Barbara and 2nd highest in California, by throwing a four-step spinner ball. That year, he bowled two perfect “300” games but his biggest thrill was winning the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon Tournament and a three-foot trophy. In 1978 John also won the Santa Barbara Masters Tournament and received the Athletic Roundtable award.
John held a strong sense of duty and service towards this community and his fellow Veterans. For this he was honored as a Distinguished Veteran in 2016 by Pierre Claeyssens Veterans’ Foundation and Channel City Club and the 2019 Distinguished Alumni by SBHS Alumni Association. He actively supported many community events and served in a number of organizations including the Japanese American Citizens League (President), Landscape Gardeners Association (President), American Legion (Commander), Coordinating Council (Vice Chair), Korean War Veteran’s Association (President) and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1649 (Service Officer).
John is survived by his wife of 65 years, Fumi Inouye Suzuki, his sister, Kiyo Suzuki Yukawa; four daughters – Patti Boucher (Tom), Cindy Hernandez (George), Susan Suzuki (Richard Walter) and Kim Penman (David); and six grandchildren – Lauren, Will, Alex, Kaitlyn, Noah and Nathan.
We would like to thank the staff and doctors of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for taking such good care of our father. Donations in John’s memory can be made to Bethany Congregational Church or Santa Barbara Korean War Veteran’s Association. To honor John, a Celebration of Life will take place on Thursday, June 20th from 12:00-3:00 at the Veteran’s Memorial Building.