OBITUARY: Hironobu Sato

Hironobu Sato

June 28, 1924 – Nov. 8, 2021

SATO, HIRONOBU passed away at the age of 97 on Nov 8, 2021 in Alameda, Ca.

He is survived by his daughter, Rosalind Winter, his granddaughter, Leslie Winter (Gavin Bishop), and his great-grandson, Ryan Bishop.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Genjiro and Fusa, his brothers, Jimmy and Kenji, and his sisters, Toshiko, Yoshiko, and Yae.

Hiro was born in Oakland, Ca on June 28, 1924.

Along with his family, and other Japanese-Americans, he was sent to an internment camp when he was 17. He received his high school diploma in camp, delivered by the staff at Oakland Tech High School.

After an interim stay living in the stables at Tanforan Race Track, they were sent to Topaz in Utah.

After a few years in camp, Hiro was able to secure a job in Chicago and was allowed to leave. It was in Chicago that he met his future wife, Helen Chizuko (Arita). Hiro was drafted into the US Army. He was assigned to work in military intelligence in Japan.

After the war, Hiro, Helen, and their daughter moved to Berkeley, Ca then eventually to Oakland.

Hiro worked as a gardener while attending Heald College where he obtained a degree and was licensed as a landscape contractor and designer. His clients were all over the SF Bay Area and as far as Lake Tahoe. He was given many awards for his work. He was also one of the owners of Coliseum Garden Supply. After the closure of the businesses, Hiro went to work at Evergreen Nursery where he was able to be with a wonderful staff and continue to share his expertise. He continued to work there well into his 80’s.

He was an active member of the Buddhist Church of Oakland for most of his life.

After 70 years of marriage, Helen passed away in 2015. Hiro continued to speak lovingly of her and missed her greatly until the end.

Hiro moved to the Water’s Edge Lodge in Alameda in 2016. He had a happy life there and made many new friends.

Hiro was a very kind and generous man. He was always thinking of ways to make others laugh and feel good. He was well-known for his endless supply of jokes and puns, and for his boundless good humor.

He was a beloved mentor to many. He is very much missed by those who were lucky enough to have him in their lives.

A private interment service was held at Mountain View Cemetery on April 23, 2022.

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