It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Art Masao Nerio on June 2, 2023, in Huntington Beach, Calif., at the age of 98. He was predeceased by his wife of 59 years, Lily Yuriko. He is survived by his four children and three grandchildren. Art led a full life with humble beginnings in what was then rural Los Angeles. As the eldest son of immigrant parents, Tom Koichi and Toyo Nerio, he worked hard on the family farm. During WWII, the Nerio family was interned in Rohwer, Arkansas – Art was able to leave camp early to attend BYU – one of the few schools that welcomed him. Art often mentioned his camp adventures including sneaking out of the internment camp to go fishing or swimming. Or his college years at BYU where he learned to drink Coca-Cola but not coffee.
When the war was over, the family returned to farming as soon as possible. The Nerio family eventually farmed in Orange County for many years. In the middle of the night, Art drove his large red flatbed truck loaded with chives, red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, and other crops to downtown L.A. The family also owned a private Meadowlark Airport in Huntington Beach, with Art eventually becoming the face of the airport for more than 20 years. He made many lifelong friends here. His years of welcoming pilots as well as chasing after $2 landing fees on his bicycle places him amongst local HB folklore.
He and his wife Lily enjoyed traveling the world visiting countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Russia, and more.
On a personal level, Art was always cheerful and friendly. He was also known to be a bit frugal – repurposing cardboard boxes, reusing masking tape, and using the backs of envelopes for calculations. He enjoyed chocolate, sushi, and Coca-Cola.
Art was exceptionally focused and analytical with his work projects. He was continuously learning and applying his business school knowledge in a slow methodical and successful way. He represented the American dream through hard work, education, and perseverance.
He was a great father, husband, and brother, and always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes.
Services will be held on Saturday, June 23, 11 a.m. at Nichiren Buddhist Temple, 2801 E. Fourth St. L.A. 90033.
www.kubotamortuary.com (213) 749-1449