With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Richard Yasukichi Oshiro made a significant imprint on the hearts of those around him. He was filled with a spirit of generosity and was completely devoted to his family. Richard was no stranger to hard work and lived to inspire the youth of his community as a teacher for more than 30 years. He lived each day on purpose, never taking even one moment for granted. Although we will miss him deeply, his memory will remain forever near and dear to all our hearts.
The 1920s were a vibrant time of great transformation within the cultural fabric of our nation as innovation fueled countless changes all across our great land. Motion pictures became available in both color and sound while automobiles became more affordable for the average American thanks to the assembly line. Nestled within this colorful time was the year 1925 that was filled with great expectation as a young family in Hawaii, was eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby. Their wait was over on May 2nd of that year as the baby boy they named Richard Yasukichi made his arrival in Honokaa, Hawaii. He was the fourth of seven children born to his parents, Toku and Moshi (Uyehara) Oshiro, although one of his siblings died when he was four years old. Richard was raised in Kukuhaili, Hawaii, on a sugarcane plantation alongside his older siblings, Betty, Roy, and Ivy, and his younger siblings, Maureen and Bob. Both of his parents worked at the sugarcane plantation. Richard was in charge of chopping wood and heating the water used for baths. He also found the time to get in some playing with his siblings and the children of the other plantation workers. As a student Richard attended both a traditional English speaking school and a Japanese language school.
When he was 13 Richard moved with his family to Honolulu. There, he attended McKinley High School.
When WWII landed on his doorstep in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Richard was still in school, but he entered the Army later – on April 13, 1945. He received his basic training at Camp Livingston in Louisiana and was later transferred to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, where he studied at the Military Intelligence Service Language School. Richard served in the South Pacific as an interpreter of Japanese prisoners of War.
With his duty to his country fulfilled Richard later moved to Milwaukee to attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He later transferred to State Teachers College where he earned a degree in upper elementary education. With a love for learning and a drive to succeed, Richard continued his education to the equivalent of a master’s degree. With his education behind him he taught at an elementary school in Milwaukee for 34 years.
While he was busy establishing his career, Richard met and later married a woman who brought two children into his life – Anthony and Paul. Together they were also blessed with three children: Karen, Ingrid, and Eric. Although his marriage later ended in divorce Richard was always thankful for the children they shared.
New and exciting changes were in store for Richard when he met a woman named Nancy Lundgren-Phillips at Trowbridge School where they were both teaching. Some mutual friends insisted that they would be “perfect for each other,” and as the story goes they were right. Richard and Nancy were married on June 14, 1972. Nancy brought her son, Peter, into the family, and together they adopted their daughter, Lee Ann, in 1975 and the family was complete. Family was important to Richard, so when he became a grandfather, he felt especially blessed. He was so proud when he became a great-grandfather to Julie and Harlow.
There were so many things that enriched Richard’s life through the years. He loved to cook for others and regularly hosted company for fantastic meals. He enjoyed trips to Hawaii and Sweden, and he loved fishing, too. Richard looked forward to playing cards with his card club – he played sheepshead with the same group of friends for 60 years. He was an avid golfer who went out on the links every day the weather permitted, and he especially enjoyed his game with Wayne and Art. With a deep appreciation for the outdoors, Richard loved his flowers and trees – so much so that one of the last things he did was take a slow walk around the whole yard enjoying all of the many plantings.
When it came to sports he loved the Green Bay Packers and the Milwaukee Brewers, and he also enjoyed watching westerns on television. Richard was a huge history and geography buff who had an extensive collection of books on both topics. For many years he enjoyed the companionship of his cat, Gatto.
Life will never be the same without Richard Yasukichi Oshiro here as he touched our lives in such a special way. He was fun-loving, dependable, and had a great sense of humor, too. Richard was selfless and giving, the sort of man who would do whatever he could for his family and friends. He was a dear man to so many and will be greatly missed.
Richard Yasukichi Oshiro
Born May 2, 1925 in Honokaa, Hawaii. Died May 27, 2012 in Greenfield, WI. Beloved husband of Nancy (nee Lundgren-Phillips). Dear father of Anthony (Ellen), Paul, Karen (Paul) Swain, Ingrid Gomez, Eric (Sherry), and Lee Ann. Fond step-father of Peter Phillips. Cherished grandfather of David, Lauren, Andrea, Olivia, Justin, Alex, Josephine, and Stephanie. Proud great-grandfather of Julie and Harlow. Loving brother of Ivy Shiroma, Maureen Waiau, and Bob Oshiro. Further survived by nieces and nephews in Honolulu, Hawaii, other relatives and friends.
Richard proudly served in the Army as an interpreter in the South Pacific during WWII. He was an enthusiastic golfer and gardener.
Visitation at Ascension Lutheran Church, 1236 S. Layton Blvd. Miwlaukee, WI 53215 on Thurs., May 31, 2012 from 10:00 AM until time of Funeral Services at 12:00 Noon. Private inurnment Arlington Park Cemetery. If desired, memorials to Ascension Lutheran Church, appreciated.
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