OBITUARY: Yutani, 102; Expert on SoCal Weeds

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Toshimasa (Tom) Yutani, one of the foremost experts on the subject of weeds, passed away on Jan. 8. He was 102. Born near Hilo, Hawai`i, in 1907 Yutani published his authoritative book, “Garden Weeds of Southern California,” in 1967. In Japan he received an elementary school teaching certificate and attended agriculture school, according to a 2007 interview with the Japanese American Naitonal Museum.

Yutani’s book on weeds, now in its ninth printing, contains over 300 drawings by Yutani, who meticulously cultivated each known weed before drawing it and explaining its characteristics and how best to eliminate it. He received numerous honors for his work, including a tribute in 2007 by the Southern California Garderners’ Federation.

“I collected 300 weeds in Southern California. So, they say weed killer doesn’t kill all the weeds. Certain family, it kill, certain family, doesn’t work. So, I know the weeds,” Yutani said in 2007.

Yutani is survived by his daughter Amy, sons, Fred (Sara); Ray(Marilyn); Dennis (Laurie); seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be held on Saturday Jan. 23, at 1 p.m. at Rose Hills in Whittier.

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