Carl Kiyoshi Otsuki passed away March 11, 2018 in Houston, TX surrounded by his beloved family. He was born June 24, 1927 to Frank Sentaro and Kofumi Abe Otsuki in Terry, TX as the youngest of nine siblings. His parents immigrated from Japan in 1908 and farmed in California before moving to Texas in 1920 subsequently settling in San Benito in 1927. After his Father died in 1941, Carl and his brother Frank were left with the care of their Mother and the farm.
In 1946, Carl joined the Army where he was stationed in American occupied Japan. In 2002, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to Nisei, second generation Japanese soldiers, who, according to Congressman Adam Schiff, House Sponsor of the Bill to award the medal, were “American heroes who defended the freedoms and ideals of our Country. Their true heroism lies in how they fought for the values of America-equality, justice and opportunity-even when those values were denied them at home.”
Later, Carl attended Brownsville Junior College (BJC), Texas Southmost College (TSC) and East Texas State University (ETSU) where playing football and running track were his passions. While attending BJC and TSC, he excelled in both sports, lettering all three years. As a sprinter, he consistently led BJC at the State Junior College Championship in College Station and qualified for the National Junior College Championship in Los Angeles where he was identified by the Los Angeles Times as the “outsider to watch”. While at ETSU, he was the Lone Star Conference Champion in the 100 and 200 yard dash and set a new individual conference record in the 200 yard dash.
Carl continued serving his community once his athletic career was over participating in the San Benito ISD School Board for nine years as President, Secretary and Trustee. He also officiated Valley high school football games for approximately 15 years during the 1970’s and 1980’s and was an active bowler, successfully competing in many State and National tournaments. In addition to education, Carl was an important part of the society of Japanese-American families who helped elevate farming in the Rio Grande Valley. His support for local farmers continued even after his retirement, with his annual deliveries of giant packs of Rio Grande Valley citrus and pecans bringing delight to family and friends all across the state.
He will be forever loved by his wife of 64 years, Faye, and his four children, Talynn Otsuki, Janelle Daniel (Lawry), Craig Otsuki (Julie) and Beth Otsuki, his nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His zest for life was only exceeded by his love for his family and friends. Carl lived life to the fullest, loved his wife, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and loved them hard.
Carl touched so many lives during his journey and his impact as a husband, father, friend, mentor to many of his nephews and a Paw Paw extraordinaire will live on forever. He will be greatly missed by his many family members and friends.
A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 4:00 PM at the San Benito Funeral Home, 1400 W. US Highway 77, San Benito, TX 78586, followed by a Reception at the facility where friends and family will have an opportunity to share memories and to celebrate Carl’s life well lived. The family is requesting contributions in lieu of flowers be sent to the Lower Laguna Madre Coastal Conservation Association of Texas, Attn: Ms. Amie Hoye, 6919 Portwest Dr., Suite 100, Houston, TX 77024.
Coastal Conservation Association of Texas
69191 Portwest Dr., Suite 100, Houston TX 77024