Yone Kubo
Yone Kubo

KUBO, YONE, 95, a Santa Clara Valley resident for over 70 years, passed away peacefully in his sleep at home with his family by his side on August 29, 2016.

Born on October 22, 1920 in Parker, Washington to Yokichi and Shino (Sato) Kubo, Yone and sister Asako were raised in the Wapato Japanese farming community in rural Yakima Valley. His mother, upon contracting a serious disease, returned to Japan with the children when Yone was 5. She passed away there, leaving Yone and Asako to be raised by relatives in Kori, Japan, the Kubo’s hometown. Nine years later Yone and Asako rejoined their single father in Wapato.

With the evacuation of all Japanese Americans from the West Coast during WW2 in 1942, Yone, his father and sister were sent to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. There, Yone was able to take up his hobby and passion—photography—after the ban on cameras and films was lifted from the Heart Mountain Center. He photographed camp life and activities as well as friends and families. He later became a photographer for the Heart Mountain Sentinel, the camp newspaper, as well as the camp photographer for events such as graduations, yearbooks, weddings and funerals.

Yone’s photographs were later recognized for their unique and intimate look at the camp experience and he donated photos, negatives and photographic equipment to the Japanese American Museum of San Jose as well as the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center in Cody, Wyoming. His photographs have been part of the Interpretive Center’s several exhibitions of camp life. Last year the Interpretive Center accepted Yone’s photographic equipment (used in his under-the-barrack-floorboard darkroom) for use in the museum’s permanent exhibit.

At the end of WW2, Yone and his father moved to the Santa Clara Valley from where many Heart Mountain internees had come. Sister Asako went on to school in Chicago. He worked as a gardener for over 65 years, first as a live-in estate keeper and later as an independent gardener — a longtime member of the San Jose Landscape Gardeners Association.

Yone met and married Chizu Matsuura in 1948. Soon, Chizu and Yone settled down to family life in San Jose. Yone’s family was his focus and he was proud of his boys’ accomplishments in sports, community activities and in the classroom. He supported his family’s activities in school and school sports, the Community Youth Service, San Jose Buddhist Judo Club, San Jose Bonsai Club, Japanese Language School, and the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin as well as participated in many San Jose Landscape Gardeners Association activities including the building of the recently renovated Buddhist Church Annex and creation of the adjacent Japanese garden.

He was a steady presence, quiet supporter and ready giver of rides to the myriad practices, games and events of the many activities enjoyed by sons Duane and Larry.

Similarly, Yone received great joy in getting to know his grandchildren: Miasa, Darren, Kurtis and Justine. He and Chizu shared the love of supporting their grandchildren’s many activities, just as they had done a generation before with their own boys.

Chizu and Yone were also early enthusiasts of the RV movement, traveling cross-country throughout the United States including an epic road trip to Alaska. With the Idemoto, Itatani, and Sakino families, they often formed a traveling caravan linked together by CB radio.

Yone leaves his wife of 68 years, Chizu, sons Duane and Larry and their spouses Lucien and Karen, grandchildren Miasa(Chris) Wong, Darren, Kurtis(Brandee), Justine and many relatives and friends.

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