William Takashi Oune passed peacefully surrounded by family on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
Bill was born on New Year’s Eve 1931, in Lodi, Calif. He is survived by his wife, Kinuko Matsunami Oune; his daughter, Charlene Oune Temple and her spouse, Ian; daughter, Carol M. Oune and son, Edward Tatsuya Oune. He was blessed with three loving grandchildren, Mieko Temple, Yumi Temple and Kazu Temple. Bill was the oldest of five, and is also survived by his brother, Katsuto Oune and his spouse, Yoshimi; and his sisters, Masako Kuninari and Miyako Yasuda.
Bill’s life was one of rising above adversity. He was enterprising, creative, talented and driven to succeed regardless of the challenge. The first major challenge Bill and his family confronted was President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 during World War II. Order 9066 enacted a policy whereby people of Japanese descent, including U.S. citizens, were to be incarcerated in isolated camps from 1942 to 1945 (Challenge #1). Bill and his siblings were first incarcerated at Rohwer, Arkansas concentration camp, and later at Tule Lake, Calif. concentration camp. While in the camps, Bill began establishing his enterprising ways, fashioning jewelry from castaway and random items he found in and around the camps. He watched over his siblings, and did what he could to ease his family’s burden — even though he was a middle-school-aged young man.
At the end of the war, Bill and his family were sent to Hiroshima, Japan to live with family in their ancestral home. This was (Challenge #2), as Bill’s Japanese was not fluent given the inadequate curriculum and teaching in the camps. Thus, his acceptance into Japan was a rough transition, prompting him to find a way back to America which he accomplished at age 17. Soon after his arrival back in America, Bill was drafted into the U.S. Army (Challenge #3) as an interpreter during the Korean War. After his service to America, Bill ultimately made his way to Southern California, where he settled in Los Angeles and then ultimately in Fountain Valley, where he and his family have lived ever since.
Bill’s enterprising character and will to succeed led him to start his own business as a gardener and tree-trimmer. His dedication to the craft led him to his years-long affiliation with the Orange County Gardener’s Association, ultimately presiding as president from 1993-1994. His appreciation for the earth extended to a love of fishing and hunting, camping as well as woodworking.
Bill and his talents will be missed. A private service to honor his life was held Friday, July 8, at Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles, Calif.
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