When Akio Yoshida passed away on October 14, 2014, Prince Rupert lost a first-class worker and friend; he was an educator at the workplace and a person of outstanding character. Akio made very significant contributions to those who knew him, but his professional achievements tell only part of the story; his many friends will also remember him as a man of remarkable kindness, generosity and integrity, with an invariably positive attitude.
Akio was born in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and spent his early years in Sunnyside Cannery. In 1981, he married Joanne (Adams), who would be his companion and best friend for the next 33 years. Akio worked with many of the fishermen, and cannery workers throughout his career. However, the cannery was where his devotion to his work shone. Although the Company that he worked for transferred names (From: Nelson Brothers to BC Packers to Canfisco), it was apparent that Akio had a permanent home in the warehouse personnel. He established a great crew of workers that he relied on. Akio was extraordinarily productive, often working with multiple duties on a daily basis.
Akio was a very careful and diligent charge-hand, and his work in the Shipping/Receiving warehouse from the early part of his career is of high quality and still was up to his passing. I met Akio in 1986; from the time that we first talked I knew that I had a friend for life. That was just the way he was. In particular, his sense of humor, and cheerful attitude helped take away the stress of working long shifts during the summer.
Akio was an excellent communicator at all levels. Of course, he had trained a lot of workers how to drive forklifts, but the key to his success was his respect for and genuine interest in others, along with his concern for the accuracy and relevance of the material that he handled. He was much loved both as a person and as a co-worker because of his enthusiasm, commitment, love of his family, and care for his fellow man. These traits, coupled with Akio’s attentive preparation for occasions big and small, whether work related, or a friend needed comforting; Akio always made himself available. He was a devout father, devoted great care to ensure his children had the tools to further their education. When visiting him during the summer you could find him in his garden, where he would proudly offer you a beautiful flower.
I have never had in my professional life, a more terrific supervisor, confidant, and friend who was so engaged and mindful of others and it was hard not to be inspired. Akio will be deeply missed.