Yutaka Odawara passed away peacefully on May 6 at Torrance Memorial Hospital.
Born December 6, 1939 in Osaka, Japan. The second of four children, he was a lively and spirited youth. He attended Odawara High School, where he swam and played volleyball at the national level.
In his young adult years, he held a wide variety of interesting jobs: DJ, businessman, road crew worker, and actor, to name a few. Nicknamed the “Japanese James Dean,” he swept young Takako Iwashita off her feet. They married in 1968, and they had 55 happy years of marriage together. Their eldest son, Jo, was born a year later, followed by Tom two years after that. This family of four made a new life in America in the early 1970s. After brief periods in California and New York, they settled effortlessly into American life in Lakewood, California. Their families have said they were Americanized before they had ever been to America.
The happy young family moved to Playa Del Rey, California, where they had their third child, Emi, in 1979. A few years later, they bought the house in Rancho Palos Verdes that would become the gathering place for holiday parties, birthday parties, and family get-togethers for years to come.
As the president of AMSECO, a security equipment manufacturing company, Yutaka often traveled to Japan, Korea, and elsewhere, where he had many close friends and business associates. He flew so much, the staff at United Airlines knew him by name, but he always made it back for important events in his children’s lives. In later years, his company sold to an American firm, Potter, where he made new friends as well.
Though he loved his work, Yutaka’s favorite job in his later years was as Ojíichan to his seven grandchildren, who adored him. He was always ready for a walk with his grandchildren and loved to spoil them with toys and treats.
Yutaka is survived by his wife, Takako; children, Jo (Kathy), Tomu (Delaney), and Emi (Brian); grandchildren, Hana, Ben, Kai, Kayden, Lena, Kashton, and Rio; and in Japan, his sister, Tamiko, and brother, Osamu.