January 3, 1932 – August 2, 2021
Robert “Lefty” Osami Kikkawa, 89, a Gardena-born Nisei and resident of Pasadena, passed away peacefully on August 2, 2021. A private family service will be held with a celebration of his life to be scheduled at a future date.
Robert is survived by daughters, Debbie (Alan) Kubota of Hawaii and Sharon (Allen) Lee; sons, Dr. Don (Cheryl) and Ken (Karen) Kikkawa; grandchildren, Kerianne, Cameron and Colin Kubota, Ryan (Courtney) and Kelsey Lee, and Jason, Claire, Alina, Kendall and Kyla Kikkawa. Robert is also survived by his brother Hiro and many nephews, nieces and cousins.
Robert was the third son of Shoji and Shizue Kikkawa, who had four children altogether. The family lived in Gardena and was interned in Gila, Ariz. After World War II, they settled in Santa Barbara before moving to Pasadena. At Santa Barbara Jr. High, Washington Jr. High and later, Pasadena Junior College, Robert excelled in sports. In 1949, just four years after the war, Robert was named the Pasadena area Boy of the Year by the Pasadena Star-News for his athletic achievements. Because Pasadena is home to so many professional and collegiate athletes, this was a noteworthy accomplishment and one that Robert cherished throughout his lifetime. Robert lettered in baseball, basketball, football and track, and he later went on to play football in the Jr. Rose Bowl on the Pasadena Junior College national championship team in 1951. After college, Robert served in the U.S. Army for two years, while being stationed in New Mexico.
Robert spent his career in the automotive industry as a parts manager for several dealerships. He was an avid bowler and once recorded a 298 game as well as a 700 series at the age of 70.
Family was the most important part of Robert’s life. Through the years, he was dedicated to his family, traveling with them and attending all of his children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events. Robert and his dearly departed wife Alice were deeply committed to the perpetuation of youth sports in the Japanese American community, co-founding the Pasadena Bruins in 1972.
Robert often called himself “the luckiest man in the world” but to others he was known as dad, grandpa, uncle, friend or simply “Lefty.” Together with Alice, they raised 4 children and 10 grandchildren in their 65 years together on this earth. Robert and Alice are now reunited in eternity.
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