Wimpy has gone to the great newsroom in the sky. “Crossroads to Somewhere” will now be enjoyed by all those who passed before him.

I told him he should write a final article and I would keep it for him, but his response was “Dammit, at this rate I think I am going to live forever!”

I will do my best to pen this final column of CR2S for him as closure for his readers and myself.

You cannot do justice to a lifetime of work in 1,000 words, so instead I will do what he did every week — tell stories, move from serious to light-hearted subject matter, and hopefully get you to nod in agreement or reminisce about something in your life that comes to mind.

Everyone didn’t agree with what he wrote and that was OK. Whether he made you happy or sad, proud or ashamed, nostalgic or melancholy, he made you feelsomething, and that is what a good writer does.

Who Speaks at their own funeral? Apologies to readers who attended his service since some of my thoughts are repeated here. It was a very emotional day since my mom’s service was held at Centenary Church too.

Wimpy kept a running count of the number of eulogies he had given and told me, “People should say nice things to each other while they are alive to hear them instead of waiting for them to die.” He was not a touchy-feely guy but at least my brother and I got to say “I love you” numerous times before he passed.

People we hadn’t seen for decades came and traveled from Hawaii, Tennessee, New Jersey, Colorado, and Northern California. I had never met some but it was heartwarming to know they came out of love and respect for Wimpy.

The most incredible sight was a small group of women who called themselves “Wimpy’s Fan Club.” They never met him and only knew him through his writings, but they came to pay their respects anyway. He would be smiling right about now.

Rev. Mark came out of retirement to lead the service and did an excellent job combining thoughts and prayers with anecdotes since he knew Wimpy as a friend. It was tough trying to balance respect for the church with being real when chronicling Wimpy’s life without using his sometimes colorful language. But miraculously there were only a few inappropriate words used and definitely no F-bombs.

A plea was made for people to step up and continue the legacy of the Nisei to make sure their history and experiences, good and bad, are passed on to the next generations. Too many parents/grandparents did not share their stories and there are not many left who can continue the storytelling so that the memories can live on forever.  This was very important to Wimpy and hopefully someone will carry the torch forward.

A short video clip of him giving his words of wisdom at his 92nd birthday was played, and it granted Wimpy’s wish as he got to “speak” at his own service! Luckily we were able to get the entire service on video, so Wimpy can watch at his leisure in the future.

Wimpy the writer until the end. This is my construct of how I will remember Wimpy, my father, and both hero and anti-hero throughout my life. I will remember his style of writing, which ran the gamut between honoring the achievements of a whole generation to a plethora (where is your thesaurus?) of almost nonsensical thoughts involving everyday tasks that no one really thinks about.

He researched and reached out to others for his writings about pre/post-war times and wanted people to know the sacrifices and hardships this generation endured.

The off-the-wall musings were done using the tried-and-true method of “throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks.” He would constantly think of subjects to write about and jotted down notes whenever those thoughts came to him on his trusty notepads by his bed and on his desk. I found two notepads in his room after he passed away with scribbling on them, and it made me cry and miss him even more.

What goes around comes around. A saying that usually connotes karma or one’s comeuppance in life. But for Wimpy it was his own Circle of Life, starting with the initial love he had of the English language and writing that started him on his journey so long ago.

I just got an email from USC School of Journalism that verified he was one of the first JAs (if not the first) to get a journalism degree. A “brief” interruption ensued to make an “honest living” to support his family while working at Yamato’s restaurant and then as director of the Gardena Valley JCI. Finally, he completed the circle by writing his CR2S articles for The Rafu.

I gained even more respect for Wimpy while writing/rewriting this piece and marveling that he did this week in and week out for so many years. I am even more proud to realize how many people he touched through the written and spoken word.

He would often say that he had outlived his usefulness and all his friends were gone, so what was there to look forward to? Amazingly, he got his second wind and found his niche in life in his 80s.

Spreading the word to young and old alike on camp experiences gave him renewed energy and purpose. Sadly, he will never get to see where that journey ends, but I believe he will be watching from above and rooting for the next “voice” to step in.

Wimpy will be missed for his wit, big words, and most of all, for always trying to keep people connected to their past, present, and future. He was, as he would say, “far from perfect” but, in the words of his favorite singer, Frank Sinatra, “I did it My Way.”

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