Yosh Hibino

Hibino, Yosh, 91, passed away on August 25, 2011 in Silver Spring, Md., two days shy of his 92nd birthday. Yosh, born in 1919, was raised in Berkeley, Calif., attended McKinley Grammar School, Willard Junior High School and Berkeley High. In high school he played football for the “Bees,” the “lightweight” team (maximum weight limit 145 lbs.). Yosh was captain his junior and senior years. The “Bees” were undefeated for 13 years and the first time they lost a football game was during Yosh’s senior year. The team made Ripley’s Believe It or Not! with their record of 100 wins. After high school, Yosh attended UC Berkeley and graduated in 1940.

Yosh and his family were interned in Topaz, Utah. Through the auspices of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council, he left camp to attend graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin. Upon receiving his master’s degree, he moved to New England and married his college sweetheart, Nobu Kumekawa, in Cambridge, Mass. in 1943. They relocated to Portland, Conn. in 1952, where Yosh owned a business and he and Nobu raised their family. Yosh was active in the Methodist Church and the Portland Organization of Protestant Youth (POPY). He helped form Portland’s Midget and Pony football programs, and Yosh coached the Pony team to the Connecticut state championship in 1959.

While still working full time, Yosh put himself through the University of Connecticut’s School of Law night program and graduated with his JD in 1971. He spent many years volunteering with Catholic Charities in Hartford; Middletown Legal Aid Services and the Portland Housing Authority. In his later years, Yosh volunteered with the Literacy Volunteers of Greater Middletown and delivered Meals on Wheels in Portland. He and Nobu loved to travel — taking 26 overseas trips in nearly as many years — gardening and the UCONN Huskies. Yosh moved from Portland in 2006. In 2007 he was very proud to be inducted into the Portland Sports Hall of Fame for his achievements with the town’s football program.

Yosh was a devoted and loving family man, and was predeceased by his wife and his only sibling, his brother Yuk. He leaves three children — Diane Hibino (Bethesda, Md.), Tom Hibino (Andover, Mass.) and Jean Hibino (Albuquerque, NM); six grandchildren; sisters-in-law; a brother-in-law and many nieces and nephews.

One response to “OBITUARY: Yosh Hibino”

  1. Ryozo Glenn Kumekawa Avatar
    Ryozo Glenn Kumekawa

    Yosh Hibino was in the “older Nisei” generation (college grads before the internment) who played such an important role model for those of us who followed. They assumed responsibilities for our Issei generation parents, breaking new grounds, making it possible for our successful return to the America we knew.

    He was my brother-in-law, but my respect for his integrity, his example and above all his care and compassion will always remain a legacy which we shall honor and remember with deep admiration and appreciation. We shall miss his presence and his influence in all of our lives.

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