Henry M. Yoshikai
November 6, 1926 - April 20, 2019
On Saturday, April 20th, Salem lost one of its most endearing native sons and ardent left-handed golfers. Henry "Chim" Michio Yoshikai passed away peacefully at his home, comforted by the kindness of his Senior Helper caregiver by his side. He will be remembered for his thoughtfulness, joyful nature and generous spirit. Henry was an endless source of happiness, laughter, and genuine smiles to those who had the good fortunate to know him.
Born on November 6, 1926, Henry grew up in the Labish area on his parent's farm. In 1942, 15 year old Henry and his family joined 122,000 other Japanese Americans who were forcibly evacuated from their homes on the West Coast. They spent 1 year at Tule Lake Relocation Center, eventually moving to a camp at Heart Mountain Wyoming.
While a teenager there, he met Alyce Wada who he remained in touch with after his graduation in 1944. After the end of World War Il when the Japanese were released from camp, Henry worked in farm labor camps until he was inducted into the Army, eventually joining the
Military Intelligence Service (MIS) for a year. Upon discharge, he returned to his hometown of Salem. The periodic letters with Alyce were enough to reconnect them for life after she landed a teaching position in Salem after college. They married in 1952.
For 40 years, Henry was a master dry cleaner at Model Cleaners in Salem while Alyce worked in elementary education and school administration. He was extremely devoted to and proud of Alyce. Without ego, Henry endlessly supported her numerous community activities including annual visits from sister city representatives from Kawagoe, Japan.
Before and after retiring in 1993, Henry enjoyed golfing, often competing in left-hander tournaments statewide. He loved steelhead fishing at the Elbow Hole and 6th Bridge as well as meeting buddies at the Cue Ball and at the Salem Golf Club. He and Alyce had a wonderful network of friends in the Salem area and remained very engaged in the sister city program that they helped to develop. Henry was involved in the Jr. Chamber of Commerce and served as the Chapter President. He received the JCI Senatorship #3413 in 1963. He was also the Assistant director of the Soap Box Derby in 1961.
After Alyce experienced a series of health setbacks and lost her mobility, Henry became her caregiver. He took her and her wheelchair on outings and enabled her to stay busy in the community and socially, sometimes driving hundreds of miles to visit relatives in Washington.
In 64 years of marriage, Henry remained deeply devoted to Alyce until her passing in 2016. Since then, he remained at their house thanks to the incredible Senior Helpers, Connie, Judy, and Sue who enabled him to live independently and with dignity.
Henry is preceded in death by his wife Alyce, parents Utaro and Tora, brother Tom, sisters Yoshie and Lillie. He is survived by sister-in-laws Georgette Yoshikai, Frances Yasunaga, Sara Hino, his brother—in-law Tad Wada, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Henry is also survived by many close friends and neighbors who were part of his lifelong family.
Family and friends will be gathering to celebrate Henry's life during a Memorial Service at 2:30 PM on Tuesday, April 30th at the Virgil T. Golden Funeral Home, 605 Commercial Street. SE, Salem, Oregon.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations towards a memorial fund to continue to develop the inside school courtyard at Yoshikai Elementary School. They will be adding tables for outdoor study and benches for reading. Checks can be made out to the school with "Yoshikai Memorial" noted and sent to Yoshikai Elementary, 4900 Jade Street NE, Salem, Oregon 97305.
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