December 8, 1927 – September 14, 2021
John Motoki Kawano, 93, a long time North San Diego County resident, passed away peacefully on September 14, 2021 after a long and tenacious battle with diabetes and end stage renal failure. John was born in Selma, Calif., just outside of Fresno, on December 8, 1927, to Mura and Hiyoshi Kawano, immigrants from Kumamoto, Japan. John was the fourth of eight children: Frank, Sumi, Kay, John, Betty, Harry, Marge and Raymond. John’s family lived in Garden Grove and San Pasqual, among other places, before settling in Oceanside (San Luis Rey Valley), where they were engaged in farming in the late 1930s, early 1940s. During World War II, at the age of 14, John was relocated with his family to an internment camp in Poston, Ariz. A few years later, the family was able to leave the relocation center and move to Grand Junction, Colo. After the war ended, the family moved back to Oceanside, where John graduated from Oceanside High School.
In 1950, John married Kazuko (Imoto) and raised his family of four children, Jennifer, Nancy, Bonnie and Jay, in Vista. In the 1950s -1970s, John was engaged in agriculture, becoming one of the largest tomato growers in the county. He also grew strawberries, and his produce was distributed both locally at several roadside fruit and vegetable stands, and nationwide at grocery stores. As a teen, John played baseball and earned a black belt in Judo, and in young adulthood, he bowled in a local bowling league, and once went to Detroit for a national bowling tournament. John was also a life-long Chargers, Padres and Lakers fan, but there was nothing he loved better than watching his grandkids’ sporting events. In his later years, when he wasn’t parked in front of his TV with his cashews and Diet Pepsi watching a sporting event, you could find him and his pals, Don and Mel, in the bleachers at one of his grandson’s baseball games. John also regularly met for lunch with friends Kiko, George and Yuji at local casinos where they could test their luck.
John was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Kazuko. In addition to his children Jennifer (Oliver), Nancy, Bonnie and Jay (Nancy Ishida), John is survived by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Kristen (Adoni), Eric (Michelle), Jessica (Dave) and Melissa (Mike), Brandon, Ryan, Olive, Lincoln, John, Conor, Jordan and Charlotte; three sisters, Sumi, Betty and Marge; and many loving in-laws, nieces, nephews and friends. John’s infectious laugh and sense of humor will be missed by all. The family is especially thankful for the loving care given to him by Yoi, Vincent, Debra and Lina.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. at the Eternal Hills Mortuary Chapel, 1999 El Camino Real, Oceanside Calif.