Yoshitaka Mori

The Mori family sadly announces the passing of Yoshitaka on April 4th, 2012, in his 96th year. He died peacefully at home as was his wish.

He leaves behind his wife, Mariye; children: Setsuko, Richard (Judy), Jeanne (Bill), Hugh (Hiroko), Terry (Janice); 13 grandchildren: Lisa (Erik), Sandra, Sarah (Jonathan), Christine (Greg), Paul (Nadia), Amelia (Huw), Michael (Leslie), Richard (Candice), Tyler (Lauren), Aaron, Akemi (Dustin), Deni (Yannick) and Kelsey and 13 great-grandchildren; as well as sisters: Tayeko, Hisako, Mitsuko, and Sachiko. He was predeceased by his son Barrie, sister Fumiko, and brothers Takao and Yoshio. He is remembered also by former daughter-in-law Colleen and former son-in-law Gerald.

Yoshitaka was born on September 10th, 1915 in Whonnock, BC to Kuniyoshi and Misue Mori. At the age of three he was sent to Japan for his education in the care of his great aunt Cheena Sueno. He attended a boys’ school near Makurazaki, Japan until, at the age of fifteen, he was requested to return to the farm in Mission, BC.

He married Mariye Ikeda in 1939. When Japanese Internment was declared in 1942, they were allowed to relocate to Vernon as the Ikedas were already farming in the area. Later they established their own vegetable farm on Vernon’s east hill. He also worked in area sawmills to augment the farm income. In the 1960’s he began turning the farm into a fruit orchard.

In 1944, he co-founded the Vernon Judo Club which is today the longest, continuously run judo club in Canada. At that time martial arts were banned and Japanese Canadians even required a special permit to meet in groups. Mr. Mori was the first to obtain such a permit from the RCMP for judo. He was a thoughtful, respected and passionate sensei of Judo in its original traditions for more than 50 years. His continuing study of judo, even into his later years, earned him his 8th dan black belt from Judo Canada and induction into the Judo Canada Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame in 1983 as a builder and was recipient of a Most Valuable Person award from the City of Vernon in 1992.

The family expresses special thanks to his wonderful caregivers: Connie, Louise, Kelly, Nurse Next Door and East Hill Respite who made it possible for Dad to stay at home.

A Celebration of his Life will be held on Saturday, April 21st at 1:30 pm at the Schubert Centre (3505 – 30th Street). In remembrance of Yoshitaka and his life, donations may be made to the Yoshitaka Mori Judo Endowment Fund (cheques payable to Community Foundation of the North Okanagan). The family requests no “koden”.

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