Tom Yoshiki Kotow January 10, 1926 - January 7, 2019
Tom Yoshiki Kotow was born on January 10, 1926 in Layton, Utah. He had 4 brothers, Roy, Mike, George and Jim, along with 2 sisters, Kiyoko and Julia. Tom was the 4th child born to Tokuye and Bungoro Nakayama. His father Bungoro, passed away when Tom was 5 months old. Tom was 2 years old when he was sent to Wakayama, Japan with his sister, Kiyoko. It was a beautiful seaside town where they lived with their grandmother, Yoshi Ikeda. Tom stayed in Japan with his grandmother for 23 years, later attending Tokyo University. At this school, he majored in Mechanical Engineering and learned how to speak English.
Tom came back to the states by boat in October 1949. He wanted to be reunited with his mother, brothers and sister. He lived with his mother for 6 months at Zenshuji church in Downtown LA. It was at this time that Tom worked as a busboy in the Tea Room at Bullock's Wilshire department store in Downtown LA. After saving enough money, he was able to adventure out on his own.
Tom was drafted into the United States Army in 1950 and was first stationed in Fort Ord in Monterey, California. He was later stationed in Germany in 1954 at the Wiesbaden Air Force base where he was part of the AAA Gun Battalion. After the war, he stayed at Kobayakawa Boarding house in West Los Angeles. He met his wife to be, Hisae for the first time as a customer at the corner dime store called Yamaguchi's on Sawtelle. It was love at first sight!
Tom and Hisae formally met at Hisae's parents' house soon thereafter. One year later, in 1955, they married. She was the love of his life and they were together for nearly 64 years. The couple had their firstborn son, Perry, in 1956 and their youngest child, a daughter they named Wendy in 1962.
Tom was more than ecstatic when Wendy and her husband, Ian had his first grandchild, Tyler in 1993. Wendy and Ian would have another son, welcoming Kyle in 1996. Perry and his wife Monet welcomed their son, Jarid in 1998. The grandchildren meant the world to Tom and he couldn't be more proud of them. He taught the boys the meaning of respect, unconditional love and appreciation for the simple things in life. He also taught all of his children that "family" is the true treasure.
Tom was a Gardener in Bel-Air for over 55 years and appreciated all the things in nature. He loved to spend his time taking care of his Orchids and Bonsai plants, along with tending to his beautiful vegetable garden. He would always share everything he grew with family and friends.
As an avid lover of sports, Tom enjoyed watching his favorite teams, the Lakers and the Dodgers. On weekends, he loved to go fishing at any opportunity. Tom was a big animal lover and especially loved his cat, Emi. She kept him company at the foot of his bed every night.
Forever a gentle and kind man, Tom was the sweetest of souls by nature. He was quiet, but strong. He only asked for everyone to get along. Tom was a very loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather.
He is resting in peace now and will be greatly missed by his entire family and friends.
TOM YOSHIKI KOTOW
A private funeral service for Tom Yoshiki Kotow, 92 year-old, Layton, UT-born Nisei, Veteran of the Korean Conflict, who passed away on Monday, January 7, 2019 in Los Angeles was held on Friday, February 1, 2019 at West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Hisae Kotow; children, Perry (Monet) Kotow and Wendy (Ian) Coony; grandsons, Tyler and Kyle Coony, Jarid Kotow; sister, Julia Nakasone; also survived by nieces, nephews, and other relatives.