February 10, 1930 - July 1, 2023
With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Shoichiro Kamimura on July 1st, 2023 in Vancouver, BC.
Predeceased by wife Masuko on January 1st, son Roland, parents Kahei and Mitsu Kamimura, siblings Atsue (Masaru), Yoshiko (Hayashi), Hideko (Tadashi), Nobuko (Masaharu), Keiko (Junkichi), and Koji (Eiko), he is survived by son Charles, daughter Marina (Maciek), grandchildren Eva and Lauren Kamimura and Alex and Sonia Kon, and a myriad of nephews, nieces and their families in Japan and Canada.
John was born in Abbotsford, BC, but raised by his mother and older sisters at the Kagoshima family home in southern Japan, while in Canada John's father brought relatives, friends and their extended families from Japan to live and work at his sawmills and logging operations around communities as widespread as Mission, Green Lake, and Lillooet.
As the first son in three generations, John was destined to head the large family and businesses spanning the Pacific. After graduating from Kagoshima's Kawanabe High School, John joined his father in Canada, spending a year at Mission High before enrolling at the University of BC in 1951.
As one of a handful of Japanese on campus, John introduced his peers to the ways of the Far East, while he embraced his new western life. John sowed lifelong friendships as he earned his BSc in Forestry, keeping in touch with classmates and Acadia Camp roommates through his final days.
UBC was also where John met Masuko Tanaka, a chatty university grad from Japan who would be his wife for 65 years.
John and Masuko settled first east of Hope at the former site of the Tashme internment camp, where John's father had established Allison Pass Sawmills. In 1964, Hope became home. Three children were raised and as owner and operator of Allison Pass, John continued his father's legacy of supporting the Japanese they had brought to Canada, the local Hope and First Nation communities, along with the family and business in Japan.
The house was a cultural melting pot - a place where relatives, friends, colleagues and overseas guests gathered over food and drinks, countless memories created and shared. A dedicated Rotarian, John was a founding member of the Hope Golf & Country Club and Hope Curling Club member.
A voracious reader, retirement brought time for his Japanese and English books, financial magazines and papers, and more time to garden and travel with Masuko, all between a steady stream of visitors, the occasional hunting or fishing trip and family trips afar.
Although they returned often to Hope, from 2016 Jiiji and Baaba settled into a comfortable life with their kids and beloved grandchildren in Vancouver, back to the neighbourhood where they first met.
Tall for a man of his era, among family in Japan, John was known as the gentle Canadian bear. For the rest of us, with his quiet strength and leadership, John was a bridge between multiple cultures and generations - the one so many turned to for guidance and support, the one always ready to give, the one always eager to share a dinner and a Scotch with you. He will be dearly missed.
The family would like to thank Dr. David Botha, Dr. Saul Isserow, Dr. Jacek Jastrzebski and all the other healthcare specialists and loved ones that kept John strong to the very end.
Kindly consider donations in his memory to the Fraser Valley Buddhist Temple, Nikkei Home, or SportsCardiologyBC at the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2pm on Tuesday, October 10th, 2023 at the University Golf Club, 5185 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC.