Former County Supervisor Richard Yoshikawa Dies at 91


Richard Yoshikawa

STOCKTON — Former San Joaquin County Supervisor Richard Shizuo Yoshikawa, 91, a native Stocktonian, passed away peacefully at home on May 29.

Born on April 15, 1920 to Nisuke and Misaho Yoshikawa, he was the oldest son of five children. After attending Stockton schools, he attended Art Center School of Photography in Los Angeles.

In 1942, he was interned in the Stockton Assembly Center and Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas. He returned to Stockton in 1945 and married his wife, Helen, in 1947. They owned and operated Yoshikawa Studio. His photographs of camp life are now part of the University of the Pacific’s archives.

In 1964, Yoshikawa was appointed to the San Joaquin Delta College Board, where he served as a trustee for 10 years. In 1974, Gov. Ronald Reagan appointed Yoshikawa to fill a vacancy on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, where he represented District 1 for 10 years. He was elected in 1976 and re-elected in 1980. He was the first Japanese American to serve on both boards.

In 1981, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that Yoshikawa introduced in support of compensation for Japanese Americans who were interned. That same year, he testified before the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, whose recommendations became the basis for redress legislation that was signed into law by President Reagan in 1988.

Yoshikawa was in the Professional Photographers Guild, Stockton Optimist Club, Stockton Rotary Club, Masons, Stockton JACL, and the Shorties of Stockton, and was a member of Calvary Presbyterian Church.

Yoshikawa is survived by his wife, Helen; his daughters, Koko (Bob) Green of South Lake Tahoe and Aeko Yoshikawa of Stockton; his son, Richard (Becka) Yoshikawa of Honolulu; his brother, Ed of Stockton; his twin brothers, Tadao (Flo) Yoshikawa of Sunnyvale and Yukio (Kathy) Yoshikawa of Mountain View; six grandchildren, Jason (Karen) Yamamoto of Gardena, Kimi (Garrett) Majors of Chicago, Zachary (Michelle) Green of Atsugi Naval Base in Japan, Daniel Green of Boulder, Colo., and Jonathan and Matthew Yoshikawa of Honolulu; five great-grandchildren, Dominiq Tayco, Micah and Akio Green, Sam and Miya Majors; and many nieces and nephews.

Aeko Yoshikawa, 62, told the Stockton Record that although her father emphasized a strong work ethic and community service, he also had a sense of humor. “He had that twinkle in his eye, and he just loved life. He was a great dad.”

A memorial service will be held Thursday, June 16, at 4 p.m. at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 2343 Country Club Blvd., Stockton. Donations may be made to Calvary Presbyterian Church, Stockton JACL, or Hospice of San Joaquin County.


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