A Loss In The Family

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Hideo Yokoyama

Hideo Yokoyama 1943 - 2005 {style=”clear:both; margin-top:0px;”}

Akumi received a very tragic phone call yesterday afternoon from the San Diego county medical examiner’s office. Police had found her father, Hideo Yokoyama, pulled over to the side of the road with his windows down. While driving, he suffered a heart attack and died from cardiac arrest.

Only last weekend we had a great time with him down in San Diego. The fact that we saw him so recently has been good for Akumi. Though stunned and saddened, we both remember how happy he was, throwing back a beer together over fantastic food.

Akumi’s father loved to work, and spent nearly forty years doing so as an engineer at Sony. He is, in many ways partly responsible for all the Triniton televisions in the world. In the later parts of his career, he was challenged by a colleague who said to him…

We’ve sent all these Trinitrons out into the world. We now have a responsibility to do something about them when they return.

This was a turning point for Hideo, who then focused his energies on electronics recycling. He spoke at many conferences and worked hard within Sony to take a lead in recycling efforts. In many ways, Japan is way ahead of the US in this effort.

His efforts landed him a two year post as CEO of a joint venture between Sony, Panasonic, and several other electronics giants to research and promote recycling technologies. The member companies appointed an employee to this position for two years at a time on a revolving basis. He was a believer in sustainable modes of production.

After retiring from Sony, he took a position as President of a Japanese company with operations in Tijuana. Residing in Chula Vista, Akumi and I had the great privilege of seeing him once a month.

My fondest memory of him is that of my second or third trip to Japan with Akumi. We were staying with him at his apartment and we had just returned with some Yakitori. He had bought a bottle of Nigori (unfiltered) Sake (my favorite) for this occasion. He grabbed the bottle, looked at me with a mischevious grin, and said, “Phil. We are not leaving this table until this bottle is empty.” Suffice to say, I had to enlist the help of Akumi to get through it, but get through it we did.

On Tuesday, Akumi’s mom, brother and his wife will fly in from Japan. We will drive down to San Diego and take care of arrangements.

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8 responses

  1. Avatar for vgblog@thegillfamily.us (vern)
    vgblog@thegillfamily.us (vern) May 22nd, 2005


    I am terribly sorry for your loss, and for your wife's loss. Please extend my condolences to your wife.

    How fortunate that you saw him so recently. From personal experience, I know that it blunts some of the pain of a loss like this. For me, it was my grandfather.

    From the picture of him, your father-in-law looks like he was a happy person. He has the crinkles from smiling a lot. And, from your short tale of the trip to Japan, he knew how to enjoy life.

    I am sure he will be deeply missed.

  2. Avatar for Niels Hansen
    Niels Hansen May 22nd, 2005


    I am so sorry to hear this! A death in the family is not an easy thing! Please give my condolences to your wife and her family.

  3. Avatar for jayson knight
    jayson knight May 22nd, 2005

    condolences....tragic news. sounds like he lived a very good life though, if we could all be so blessed.

  4. Avatar for Colin
    Colin May 23rd, 2005


    I'm sorry to hear about your and Akumi's loss. I'm glad you both saw him so recently and I hope that your fond memories can help Akumi's family through this difficult time.


  5. Avatar for Carlos
    Carlos May 23rd, 2005


    I only recently started reading your blog, so I know you don't know me, but please accept my condolences from our family. It really does sound like he had a great life and I don't think there is anything to feel sad about it. He is in a better place now. Take care and please be there for your wife.


  6. Avatar for Thomas Wagner
    Thomas Wagner May 24th, 2005

    Ah man. It just gave me a really qeazy feeling in my stomach when I began to read this. I'm so very sorry o hear about your loss.

    A father has a very important role in a girls life and it sounds as though Akumi had a good relationship with him. Just hang in there. It'll be rough going for you as well. My prayers are with you both.

    All the best.


  7. Avatar for Mike
    Mike May 24th, 2005

    Very sorry to hear about your family's loss.

    Sounds like he had a great life. And that is what should be celebrated. His happy successful life, not that he is gone, because he will always live on in the great memories everyone has of him.

    all my thoughts are with you and your family as you get through this tought time.


  8. Avatar for Todd
    Todd May 28th, 2005

    Hey Phil,

    I am so sorry to hear of Akumi's dad. What a terrible loss it must be for Akumi, and you too. I want to give you both a big group hug.