At the age of 99 years old, Mitsuyoshi Ito passed away, leaving behind a legacy of resilience, perseverance, and a life dedicated to service and community. Born in Mission City, BC, Mitsuyoshi faced challenges from an early age with the loss of his mother, Tsugi, during the birth of a child. Despite the hardships, he was the embodiment of the adage "fall 6 times, get up 7," illustrating his indomitable spirit and refusal to give up.
Mitsuyoshi grew up working on the family strawberry farm, but the outbreak of war with Japan led to the government seizing their farm and internment in a work camp in Picture Butte, Alberta.
Determined to serve his country, he attempted to join the Canadian Army, but was denied. The family chose to move to Japan, where he later worked as an interpreter for the British SAS in Hiroshima, an experience that shaped his life and brought him to his future wife, Yoshimi. They were married in Hiroshima and, in 1956, Mitsuyoshi returned to Canada with only $15 to his name, grateful for the support of Rev Kawamura of the Toronto Buddhist Church during this challenging time. He found employment with Nelson Arthur Hyland and his sister Catherine as a chauffeur.
After coming to Toronto and experiencing the opportunities it offered, Mitsuyoshi encouraged his father and brothers in Japan to join him. Subsequently, his wife Yoshimi and their child came to Toronto to reunite with him and build a life together.
Throughout his life, Mitsuyoshi displayed a strong work ethic and resilience. After the passing of Nelson and Catherine, he transitioned to work for Globe Realty, part of the Royal Bank, in the security department, further exemplifying his adaptability and dedication to his career.
Later in life, he dedicated himself to charitable work and various foundation including the Nelson Arthur Hyland Foundation and the Salden Foundation, where he served as chair and remained associated for over 40 years.
Mitsuyoshi was preceded in death by his wife Yoshimi in 1986 and his son Dick in 2019, as well as his siblings Tsutao (Lefty), Tsugio (Joe), and Shigemi. He is survived by his son Arthur, and nieces Kim Yamasaki and Mary Ammendolia, who will cherish his memory and honour his legacy of determination and perseverance.
The family extends heartfelt gratitude to his PSWs Janet, Rose, Tina, Regat, Charmaine and Myrtle, and the expert care provided by wound care nurse June. Special thanks are also extended to his family physician, Dr. Phillip Wong, for his dedicated care over 35 years.
Mitsuyoshi Ito will be remembered for his enduring strength, kindness, and the mark he left on the lives of those he touched. May he rest in peace, having left an indelible impact on this world.
In lieu of flowers or koden, donations can be made to Toronto Buddhist Church or the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.
A visitation will be held on September 27, 2023, from 1pm-3pm and 4pm - 6pm. A funeral service will follow at 7pm. Both will be held at the Mount Pleasant Funeral Centre, 375 Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto, 416-485-5572. See their website for transit information.
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Centres
Info: The Funeral Service will be held in the Chapel at Mount Pleasant Funeral Centre. A link to livestream the Funeral Service will become available on Wednesday, September 27 at 6:50pm, and will be found at the top of this page.