Noboru “Nobi” Akiyama of Hood River, Ore., passed away on Nov. 16, 2017. Nobi was diagnosed with B-cell Lymphoma two years earlier and was living at Parkhurst Place, recovering from a bone fracture from a fall, until his passing. Nobi was born in Hood River on May 20, 1922, to Tomeshichi and Itsu Ono Akiyama. Nobi was the third born of five children.
Preceding him in death were his brothers, George, Sab and Henry; and sister, Kiyoko. Nobi is survived by his wife, Florence Akiyama, of Hood River; sisters-in-law, Ruth Akiyama of Hood River, Lori Sohler of Yuma, Ariz., Thelma Austin of Sparks, Nev. and Audrey Bartorelli (Gene) of Elko, Nev.; numerous nieces and nephews; and poodles Vermillion and Harmony.
Nobi graduated from Hood River High School in 1941. Also in 1941, after the breakout of the war, Nobi and his family were taken to internment camps in Tule Lake and Minidoka, where they were held until after the war. Nobi and his brothers enlisted in the Army from camp and his older brother, George, was part of the famous 442 Combat Team and was awarded the Bronze Star and Silver Star.
After the war, Nobi returned to Hood River and went to college for two years of mechanics school. Upon graduation, he went to work for Knoll Motors in Hood River. In 1957, Nobi began his own business on 12th Street, known as Nobi’s Richfield Station. Nobi was always known to have his 20 cup percolator full of coffee and a nice warm oil stove going for those cold days.
In 1964, Nobi and Florence began their life together. Florence continued to do all the business work while Nobi did what he loved, fixing cars, tractors and equipment for their many customers and operating his pear farm. In 1976, they started their new business and gas station, Nobi’s, on Tucker Road, where it stands today.
Many people ask the correct pronunciation of his name. Is it Nobi, like Bobby, or Nobi, like Toby? To Nobi, it was both. Nobi, like Toby, at home, and Nobi, like Bobby, at work. He said all of his friends called him Nobi, like Bobby, at the fishing holes, indicating that’s where it’s important. He answered the phone at the shop as Nobi’s, as in Bobby’s.
There are so many more stories and memories to tell in the life of Nobi Akiyama. A memorial celebration of life will be held Saturday, Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. at Riverside Community Church, 317 State St., Hood River. In lieu of flowers, please give donations to Parkhurst Place Residents Fund, 2450 W. May Street, Hood River, OR 97031, or Providence Hospice of the Gorge, 1630 Woods Court, Hood River, OR 97031.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center, Hood River. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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