Joe Susumu Fukuhara passed away peacefully at the age of 90 in his home in Oceanside, Calif., on April 14, 2023. During his lifetime, he faced many health challenges, but Joe was always positive, optimistic, and in charge. With substantial black hair at 90, he surprised medics with his wit and stubborn ability to go home independent and ambulatory until he decided to discontinue dialysis, thus even taking charge of his death.
Born in Olympia, Washington on October 1, 1932, Joe and his family lived in a houseboat on Puget Sound. They moved to Hiroshima, Japan before World War II, where he lost his sister to the A-bomb. After returning to Los Angeles, Joe was drafted and served as an interpreter for the U.S. Army Military Police. Joe subsequently met Yoriko Ikeda and they married on November 16, 1963.
Joe worked as a management information systems operator and manager for IBM mainframes for Hughes Helicopters and McDonnell Douglas Aircraft, retiring after 29 years. He was then vice president of loans and annuities at Union Bank Little Tokyo Branch and director of advertising at **The Rafu Shimpo** until fully retiring at 65. In his retirement, he was a carpenter, making the majority of the cabinets and end tables currently furnishing his Oceanside home. In the last years of his life, he advanced to crafting miniature furniture including a replica of his office desk at Hughes.
Joe was heavily involved in community-based organizations including the Japanese Language School Kyodo System, Rafu Chuo Gakuen, Hiroshima Kenjin-kai, Little Tokyo Lions Club, Little Tokyo Business Association, Little Tokyo Community Development Advisory Committee, and the Japanese American Community Credit Union. He strove to make a productive impact and be the best role model he could to the local Asian community, evidenced by his many recognition awards and contributions.
Joe is predeceased by parents, George Shojiro and Yoshiko Fukuhara; and sister, Shizumi. Joe is survived by wife, Yoriko; daughters, Christine Reiko (McDaniel), Eileen Michiko (Giese), and Janet Shizue (Fukuhara); sister, Emiko (Yagyu, 94); grandchildren, Jacqui, Taka, Jason, and Nathan; and cousins both in the U.S. and in Japan.
Funeral service will be held on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at 10 a.m. at the Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, 815 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, officiated by Rimban William Briones. Reception will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Little Tokyo and cremation services at Evergreen Cemetery at 2:30 p.m., respectively.