SANTA MARIA — Toru Miyoshi, a former member of the Santa Maria City Council and the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, died on Aug. 13 at the age of 90.
Born in Guadalupe in 1928, he moved to Santa Maria in 1933. He attended local schools and graduated from Butte High School in 1945 while incarcerated at the Gila River concentration camp in Arizona. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1946 and was recalled to the Korean Conflict in 1950.
Miyoshi graduated Cum Laude from the University of Southern California in 1955 and married Jeanne Kojima before returning to Santa Maria in 1957.
He first served on the Santa Maria City Council from 1978 to 1982. He was elected to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in 1982 and served two terms. He returned to the City Council in 1992 and completed 20 years of public service in 2000.
During his political tenure he served in various positions, such as the State Regional Coastal Commission, Southern California Hazardous Waste Management Authority, Santa Barbara County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Tri-Counties Oil Committee, and Area Agency on Aging. He played important roles in closing the Casmalia Toxic Dump and restoring Waller Park.
Miyoshi had the privilege of meeting Queen Elizabeth during her visit to Santa Barbara. He also had the unique opportunity to attend a luncheon where gourmet chef and author Julia Child was also a guest. He attended an International Ecological Conference in Venice and was invited to a Pentagon tour of military bases from Washington, D.C. to the West Coast, which included a refueling exercise of a B-52 bomber while flying over Utah.
He also ran for Santa Maria city clerk in 2012, when he was 84.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Joni Miyoshi and Lisa (David) Daum.
Granddaughter Laura Campbell graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Oregon, majoring in music performance. Miyoshi delighted in hearing his granddaughter perform on her viola. She and her husband Douglas are raising a family in Boise, Idaho.
Grandson Logan Daum graduated from MIT in Cambridge, Mass., with two degrees (physics and chemical engineering). He went on to earn an MS at Carnegie Mellon University in computational finance and is working in Austin, Texas. Miyoshi enjoyed hearing of his grandson’s travels and meeting his girlfriend, Ya.
Miyoshi welcomed his great-grandson, Lane Akira, in 2015. Embracing four generations was the highlight of his illustrious career.
An informal public visitation was held on Aug. 24 at Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary in Santa Maria. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Friends of Waller Park, P.O. Box 2835, Santa Maria CA 93457, or to nonprofit organizations of one’s choice.