Douglas Iwamoto, Farmer and Past BCA President, Dies at 65

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SALINAS — The family of Douglas Shigeo Iwamoto (1949-2015) issued the following notice.

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A native of Salinas, Doug was surrounded by his family when he went home to the Lord on Monday, Feb. 23, 2015. Although he practiced Buddhism all of his life, he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior on Feb. 9, 2015 and was baptized on Feb. 15, 2015.

Doug’s optimistic and calm manner remained with him until the end. Ever the caregiver, he helped comfort his family and friends during his fight with cancer.

Doug was a thinker and tinkered with gadgets and machines as a young child. This curiosity led to his interest in everything mechanical and he became known for completing any task with perfection.

Douglas Iwamoto

Douglas Iwamoto

He left for college but returned to Salinas in 1971 when his father became ill. From that point, he continued farming green onions under the SEICO label, adding employment with Oshita Inc. and Matsui Nursery. He moved on to start Iwamoto Farms and grew for various companies throughout the Salinas Valley, including Tanimura & Antle.

Partnering with Mark Mitani, they joined in Summit Seeds, Commission Street and other various agriculture ventures in Salinas. Together, they formed MKM Farms Inc. with an opportunity to grow and process ready-to-eat vegetables.

Doug had many passions. As an active member of the Buddhist Temple of Salinas, he grew into leadership roles with the Buddhist Churches of America, where he served as president for two terms. Locally, he became active with the Wheel of Hope, Yamato Cemetery, Japanese American Citizens League, United Vegetable Growers Cooperative, and the City of Salinas Redevelopment Agency Downtown Vibrancy Plan.

Doug had a knack for impacting those around him. His ability to retain information always made him an interesting person to talk to since he seemed to know something about everything. He had a unique way of translating mistakes into teachable moments. Lastly, he had an altruistic way of lending a hand to others because it was “the right thing to do.”

Quite simply, Doug made the world better, and we can continue his legacy by personifying this generous manner.

Doug was preceded by his father, Saburo Eddie Iwamoto, and sister, Setsuko Iwamoto. He is survived by his mother, Mary Iwamoto of Salinas; wife, Joann; daughter, Staci (Manuel) Tapia of Garden Grove; grandchildren, Emily and Mateo Tapia; son, Scott (Carissa) of Encinitas; son, Jason Fukushima of Pasadena; and our beloved four-paw companion, Jack. Doug is also survived by his sisters, Caryl (Roy) Suzuki of Las Vegas, Barbara (Ken) Tanisawa of Burlingame, and sister-in-law, Janet (John) Lew of Tucson, Ariz.; numerous nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins, and countless friends.

A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at Calvary Monterey, 3001 Monterey-Salinas Highway, Monterey, with reception to follow. A private burial will be at Yamato Cemetery in Salinas.

The family would like to thank the following dedicated and caring professionals for their guidance and compassion along this journey: Dr. Craig Geiler, Pacific Cancer Care, Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula, Dr. Sandy Sirnivas, Stanford Hospital, and VNA Hospice. A special thank you to his sister-in-law, Janet Lew, for her compassionate care during his final days. Doug was loved by many and will be extremely missed during our time on Earth.

Arrangements by Struve and Laporte Funeral Home. Online condolences can be made at www.struveandlaporte.com.

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