David Takashige Iida, a devoted and loving husband and father, and successful global business executive passed away peacefully on August 17, 2021.
David lived a full, active, and remarkable 98-year life that spanned the globe from the Pacific Northwest to Asia, Canada, Europe, and back to the U.S. (Midwest, East and West Coasts). A Kibei-Nisei born in Vancouver, Wash., David graduated high school and college in Kanagawa, Japan and earned his M.B.A. in 1956 from The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
David led a successful 40-year international career and was a pioneer in the toy industry beginning in 1956 with Louis Marx & Company in New York. Then, started up operations in Asia; first as General Manager in Tokyo, Japan and later as Managing Director in Hong Kong overseeing Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. In Japan, David was instrumental in introducing the plastic injection molding process.
In 1976, David became the founding CEO and President of TOMY Corporation, a U.S. toy manufacturing company headquartered in Carson, CA. Here, David oversaw several industry firsts such as pre-school phones, robots and computers. “Pop Over Mouse” was the first mechanical toy to go to space on the Space Shuttle Discovery on April 12, 1985. As a Board member of the Toy Manufacturers of America with CEOs of leading U.S. toy companies, David led the toy industry’s first conference with U.S. and Japanese toy company executives, establishing mutual understandings of U.S.-Japan trade regulations to open more opportunities for both countries. During David’s 11-year tenure at TOMY Corporation, he grew TOMY Corporation from the 10th to the 4th largest toy company in the U.S. and also led growths in Canada and Europe. David served on the parent company TOMY Kogyo’s Board of Directors and became Vice Chairman before retiring in 1987.
David also served on the Board of the Japan Business Association of Southern California and was a member of the Japan America Society, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, and the Japanese American National Museum.
David enjoyed a rich 34 years of retirement. He traveled with family, golfed with his friends, made a hole-in-one, and earned the Super Senior Champ title at Rolling Hills Country Club where he served two terms on its Board, and played in tournaments benefiting many charities.
David received several proclamations: 1) Who’s Who in California; 2) Who’s Who in the West, both in recognition of exceptional achievement, leadership, and contribution to the betterment of society; and 3) The International Who’s Who of Intellectuals, presented by the International Biographical Center in Cambridge, England. Also, David was inducted in the Directory of Distinguished Americans for Services for the Community, presented by the American Biographical Institute.
The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business recognized David for his outstanding leadership in fundraising for the Dean’s Fund.
David is remembered as a generous and kind brother, big-hearted and inspirational uncle, and a loyal friend to many. A private Celebration of Life and Thanksgiving service with extended family and friends was held on October 9, 2021 at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Palos Verdes Estates, CA. David is survived by his wife, Kazuko Sue; twin daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret; siblings, George (Dorothy) Iida, Nancy Iida, Helen Oshiro; and 40 nephews and nieces.