Throughout the great journey that is life, it's fortune that one should meet such remarkable people if even for a short period of time. We can say this of our dear departed friend Don Yamagami who passed away June 15, 2013 at the young age of 62. We met Don and his lovely wife Shelley three years ago through our Japanese Language class at the Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo. He was a funny guy and one of the nicest people you could ever meet. It was always a joy to have them in class. Always an optimist, he shared a wonderful life with his wife Shelley Yamagami who he married in 1981. Don & Shelley Yamagami were participants in our surprise baby shower for my wife Tina at the Koyasan Temple. It truly was a fun event and we were thankful for everyone at the Koyasan Temple who helped make that special day happen.
We will always remember such good memories with Don & Shelley. It came as a sudden shock to show up at this last month's Goma service to discover that he had already passed away and worse as unprepared as we were to discover his funeral would be taking place in two hours without hearing any prior notice. Our hearts go out to Shelley Yamagami and their daughter Noel. Rough day indeed but paled in comparison to that of his grieving widow who we pledged our support to. From his Bio we can share that Don was originally born Nisei in Colorado grew up in Los Angeles. His family has ties to the Koyasan Temple going back to 1937. Don was a successful Graphic Designer by trade who made the 100 Year Anniversary Logo for the Koyasan Temple. He was an avid volunteer in the Japanese-American Community and all around stand up guy who his friends say epitomized the wartime "Go for Broke" motto. He is survived by his loving family; wife, Shelley Yamagami; daughter, Noelle Yamagami; brother, Mark (Gail) Yamagami; sisters, Shirlee Yamagami and Julie Thompson. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and other relatives. We can't praise this man enough for whom we knew for such a short three years. He will be missed by so many including us.