4/24/1941 – 7/19/2020
Tom Koji Yanagihara passed away peacefully on July 19, 2020.
Tom was born in Torrance, California on April 24, 1941. Due to Executive Order 9066, Tom and his family were evacuated from Gardena in March 1942 to Kersey, Colorado. After the end of World War II the family remained in Colorado, but eventually returned to Gardena in 1957. In 1959, Tom graduated from Banning High School in Los Angeles. In 1963, he was drafted into the US Army, serving in the 6th Army Battery D 5th Battalion 16th Artillery at Fort Lewis, Washington until 1965, and later as a reserve until being honorably discharged in 1969.
Tom’s family moved to Carpinteria in 1968, establishing their nursery business before expanding and moving it to Oxnard in 1985. Tom and brother Harry ran The Plant Mine until their retirement in 2008, after which he spent his time volunteering his skills to the new owners of the nursery and delivering sea urchins for his friend’s business.
Through his adult life, Tom was an avid fisherman and active member of local bowling teams, even once bowling a near perfect 298. He joined the Carpinteria Lions Club in 1972 and was an active member for many years. He was recognized as the Carpinteria Lion of the Year in 1976-1977, served as Carpinteria president in 1980-1981, and District 4-A3 Zone Chairman in 1984-1985.
A gentle and kind soul, Tom became a father and grandfather figure and friend to many over the years, generously giving what resources he had to anyone in need. He was loved by family and friends alike with his cheery and easygoing demeanor, always loping around in his signature cowboy boots.
Tom was preceded in death by parents Keisuke and Sachiko, sisters Reiko, Jane and Irene, and brother Harry. He is survived by niece Wendy Yanagihara, nephews Jason Yanagihara and Scott Warren, a wide extended family, and dear friends. His steady, reliable presence will be missed by all.
Arrangements will be taken care of by Ivy Lawn Funeral Home in Ventura. Due to the current pandemic, the family will hold a small, private service but no public memorial.