February 1, 1931 — July 27, 2022

Dr. Donald Mitsuo Yamaguchi MD JD passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at 91 years old. “Don” was born on February 1, 1931 in Lahaina, Maui to Tsune Yamaguchi and Henry Rokuro Watanabe. He moved to Wailuku, Maui, where he attended Wailuku Elementary School, Iao Intermediate School, and Baldwin High School. He moved to Honolulu, Oahu in 1949, where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Hawaii in Manoa. In 1953, he studied medicine at the University of North Dakota, where he received a Bachelor of Science. He then graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1957.

He went on to intern at the University of Minnesota Hospital, where he met Mitsue Yanagita. They were married on June 21, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minn., and soon moved to Boston, where Don attended the 1st year of his orthopedic residency at Beth Israel Hospital. In 1959, he started a 3½-year fellowship at the Mayo Clinic.

After their time in Rochester, Minn., the Yamaguchis moved to Los Angeles in 1963, where Don took an extra year of training. He joined the Japanese American Medical Association (JAMA) in 1964, and started a private practice in Gardena, as an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hands. In 1965, he became an active member of the Western Orthopedic Association. A year later, the Yamaguchis had their first child, followed by their 2nd and 3rd, each consecutive year.

In addition to his private practice, he was the chief of staff at the Community Hospital of Gardena from ’71 to ’72. In ’78, he became a fellow in the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He received a Certificate of Appreciation by the HCA Hospital Corporation of America, in recognition of outstanding service at the Community Hospital of Gardena in ’85 and again in ’87 as a member of the board of trustees.

Don studied real estate and law, earning his Juris Doctor of Law Degree in 1988. He went on to work as an orthopedic surgeon at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and then with an associate before he retired his 51-year career in 2015. He leaves behind his wife of 64 years, Dr. Mitsue Yamaguchi; his son, Donald Paul Yamaguchi; his daughters, Kathryn Yamaguchi Tomé and Amy Yamaguchi; and his 2 grandchildren, Kayden and Alese Tomé; as well as a large extended family. He will be remembered for his kindness and generosity toward his family and friends and will be a continual inspiration to many who knew him.

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