TSUTOMU TOM MIYATA
Beloved father, cherished grandfather and loving husband; Tsutomu Tom Miyata passed away on Friday, February 19, 2021 after suffering a fall in his home of 64 years. Left behind in gratitude and thanksgiving is wife, Haruko; daughters, Tannis (Mark) and Christine (Robert); grandchildren, David, Colin and Dominic Miyata; Maxwell, Miya and Jack Steiman as well as great-grandson, Quinn Miyata-Ji. Waiting in paradise for him is is son Robert, mother Marion Shigeta and many friends and family.
Dad was born in Vancouver, B.C on May 6, 1928. After the bombing of Pearl Harbour, Canadians of Japanese ethnicity were wrongly labelled “enemy aliens”. Their property was confiscated, and they were incarcerated in internment camps in the B.C interior.
From 1943-1945, my father lived in camps in Sandon, Roseberry, BayFarm and Slocan, separated from his mother and sisters. These years would shape my father for the rest of his life. Always, ingratiating and kind, Dad’s motto was: “Never complain, never explain”. Also: “The nail that sticks out gets pounded first”. Despite his war -time experiences, my father’s positive spirit allowed him to find beauty and joy in his surroundings. He always said the Kootenay Valley and the nearby mountains were so beautiful.
After the war, my father and his family moved to Winnipeg. Dad sacrificed his own formal education to support his family. He was the most intelligent uneducated man that I know. He had a very strong work ethic and was able to put himself through night school and obtain his refrigeration credentials. Dad worked at Ante’s Foundry, Dominion Tanners and started his own small business called Crestwood Appliance. This led to many years working at the Hudson’s Bay Company. Together with his wife by his side, he was able to provide an idyllic home for his children.
Tom met my mother, Haruko Matsubara at a gathering of young people. He told me that he would see her going to her job downtown and thought that she was quite beautiful. (She is). Mom and Dad were married for close to 65 years and provided us with a loving home one only dreams of. We went camping all over Canada. His love of the outdoors led to him building a cabin at Auglen Park near Lac du Bonnet. We had many wonderful summers there with our family and friends. My father’s favourite past time was to farm the land and harvest fruit and vegetables. He also loved getting to the lake, getting on his riding mower and cutting the grass. The best part of his day was to sit down and enjoy a cold beer. Dad frequently raised his glass and said: “First one today”. This became somewhat humorous in his later years when he became very forgetful.
Dad loved to travel and make connections with people of all ethnicities and religions. Mom and Dad were blessed to be able to travel the world with many family and friends including Mexico and Hawaii, with the Allan’s and the Takada’s, and Europe with the Kudos. Mom and Dad also went to Florida, Alaska, the Caribbean, and Japan.
Dad’s years in the Kootenay’s helped develop a zest for cross country and downhill skiing. Dad loved to ski at Windsor Park Golf Course and often skied without using poles! After retiring from the Bay, Dad joined the Silver Streakers downhill ski club run out of Springhill and loved skiing with his newfound friends. As he grew older, Dad enjoyed attending the High Steppers group at the community club.
My father had a beautiful life and was deeply loved. He was a strong, intelligent, and a kind man who taught me to be loyal and treat everyone with respect.
He was grateful for his life and took joy in living. I loved him and will love him all the days of my life.
Goodbye Dad. Enjoy your beer.
Thank you to the neighbors, family and friends who provided so much love and support to Dad. A special thank you to Dr. Doan, Dr. Monica Dowhanik, Miyako Ogasawara and to my mother for her ever gentle and abiding love and care for Dad.
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