Last year I wrote a column about Frank Fukuhara, who had turned 100 years old. He was remarkable in that Frank was not only alert, but played golf twice a week.
In that column I told of how his wife of 37 years, Ihoko, 84, a retired nurse, has been key to his longevity. On Feb. 6 of this year, Frank and Ihoko hosted a birthday luncheon at the Los Verdes Golf Club restaurant in Palos Verdes. Attending were his family, which included his two daughters, Jeannie and Irene, as well as his brothers, Jimmy 94, and Willie, 89, who continue playing golf with Frank at the Los Verdes Golf Club. Ihoko plays with Frank on one of the two days during the week that Frank plays.
Three or four Caucasian men in attendance spoke about playing with Frank over the years. Frank’s knees require him to ride an electric cart, and because of his condition he is allowed to drive his cart close to the greens. They joked about how on occasion Frank would drive his cart into the sand traps.
Two or three of these men were seated at a table with Frank’s two brothers. At the end of the luncheon one of them stood up and said that he, along with one other gentleman, and including Frank’s brothers, will be hosting the birthday party next year when Frank turns 102! At this point Frank said he wanted this offer put in writing.
Towards the end of the luncheon Frank was presented with a poster with the inscription “Frank’s Highway 101.” The award was presented with loud applause, and was enthusiastically accepted by Frank.
Marion and I went to the lunch with Mas and Norma Jean Yamashita. A few years ago we were in a Nikkei Senior Club with Frank and Ihoko. On the way home we talked about what contributed to Frank’s long life. Frank seems to always be upbeat. His hobbies are gardening and writing letters These activities surely help to keep his mind and body active, and he expresses appreciation for all that Ihoko does for him. He says the 38 years of their marriage have been the best years of his life.
When I wrote my column about him last year he told me he was planning to have his 101st birthday party on Feb. 6, 2016, and he would invite me. True to his word, he did invite us, and we had a great time.
Phil Shigekuni writes from San Fernando Valley and can be contacted at [email protected] The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.