Friday, July 26, 2013

A Life In Profile: Ernest Katsuyoshi - A Wise Man...A Gentleman...A True Father



Song:  Somewhere Over The Rainbow / What A Wonderful World

Artist:  Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole




A picture of Ernest Katsuyoshi and his second wife, Mylza Katsuyoshi...
 as it hangs on the wall in their bedroom
(Ernest and Mylza have been married for almost 3 years...
his first wife had passed on many years ago).

This picture was taken by their daughter.
I especially liked it, as it captured the essence of the man I have long admired.


Many years ago...
Ernest, and I, used to work together at varying times in our career.

However, I had heard of him years before I had worked with him.

He was known throughout the department as a very hard worker.
Whenever overtime was available...he was there...and as a result...
he was always one of the top earners in the department.

I had also seen him walking from afar.
What had struck me as unique, was in how quickly he had walked.
It wasn't rushed...he just naturally moved very efficiently...
 and he always walked with a purpose.
He just seemed to cover so much ground with ease.

I had asked some of the other officers who he was.
They said he was "Kat" (Katsuyoshi).

Ah...it made sense.
At that point...I had not yet met him.
However, I did know that it took a person
of tremendous energy to put in the amount of overtime 
for which he was so well known.

What I had not known at the time...was his age.
He started working in the department at the age of 50!
(I retired at age 51!).

Years later...
when I had the opportunity to work with him...
I had found out that he was 22 years older than I was.

He had, for years, out worked me.
Although I was also working overtime...
he almost doubled the amount I did...for years on end.

As a man...I could not help but greatly admire him
for his discipline, and for his capacity for work.

This is a man who always rock solid.

He always did his duty....
he never shied away when work needed to be done.

He was courageous...
he never backed down in the line of duty.

He was always honorable...
he carried himself with dignity...
and he performed his duties with professionalism.

He was never abusive or unnecessarily rude to people.
While he sometimes had to be firm...he was always fair.

As a result...
he was well respected, not only by all of the officers...
but by all of the inmates who were under his charge.

When we had worked together...
we had talked of many things for hours on end.

As his surname suggests...
he is of Japanese descent.

He was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii.

He told me of many things...
all of which had the lessons in life of someone who is wise.

That is just one of the reasons I love talking to my elders.
I always listen very carefully to their experiences...
as I always learn something from them.

However, what had impressed me most about him...
was his deep love for his children.

I could see the deep pride he had
when he talked of his children.

He was putting in all of the overtime to help 
his children go through University...
and to help them get started in life.

That is a true father...a true man.
A man's family comes first.
Sacrifice is not a burden to him...
it is an honor...borne of love for his family.

Being the new parent I was at the time...
I could not help but deeply admire this quality in him also.


Just a few days ago...
I had heard that Ernest was seriously ill
(although he is going to retire...
he was working at age 75!).

I have so greatly admired Ernest since I had first heard of him...
and even more so when I got the chance to work with him...
 I simply had to see him.

I arrived at his home and I was greeted at the door by his youngest son.

I was graciously invited in...
 whereupon I briefly met Ernest's eldest son...
his daughter, his brother, and his wife.

What I had immediately noticed in his children was the erect posture...
and the bright and focused eyes of ones who are highly intelligent
(although, there are many intelligent people who may not display
these attributes...all in my life who had...were highly intelligent).

I was also highly impressed by their excellent manners.
Each was very considerate to me...and made me feel welcome...
especially considering the situation at the time.

This told me right away what great parents Ernest and his first wife were
(I am sure his 2nd wife is also...good people naturally attract one another).

It also told me of the strong parenting skills of Ernest's parents.

Both, Ernest, and his brother 
(whom I had only met briefly...
but who had made a strong impression on me 
of someone who was very well raised)...
have the qualities of being true gentlemen.

It is also quite apparent that Ernest had passed on 
these qualities to his children.

Each of his children had demonstrated great
consideration and respect for others...
and I could see the great amount of self respect in each as well.

These qualities are quite rare in today's youth.
It was so refreshing to see...
but in retrospect...
not surprising, since these qualities 
are the same that Ernest displayed at work.

I am sure his children had learned much through the example he had set.

His wife is also a very nice person...
and although we had never before met...
she also made me feel very welcome.

Ernest and I had talked for a little over an hour...
and while it was so good to see him once again...
I was also very sad to hear of his condition.

He is such a good man...
I was honored that he remembered me
(it had been many years since I had last seen him).

Although he will be having Hospice visit several times a week...
true to his lineage extending to the Samurai in Japan...
he has courage and grace in the face of his own mortality.

Ernest had said that even though he doesn't know how much more time he has...
he is hoping to have the chance to do some traveling with his wife...
to see his children and grandchildren more...
and to help others who are ill.

That is so like him.

Ernest has always been a great humanitarian.

He has also always been a genuine person...
no pretentiousness.

He has lived his life with the natural humility 
of those who see life with their eyes wide open...
with honesty, and with honor.


I asked Ernest the meaning of his surname - Katsuyoshi.

He told me it means "To win".

Ernest has lived up to his name.

To have raised his children so well...
seeing them become successful and happy in life...
to have lived life putting his family first and foremost...
to have loved them the way he did...
to have found a great love in his life...
not once...but twice...
is to have no regrets in life.

Ernest has already won.


Ernest Katsuyoshi
has the Japanese fighting spirit...
and the calm grace in the face of adversity of the Samurai.


His actions as a father, and as a man...
does honor to his family...
his name...
and to himself.

These same qualities...
 I hope to instill in my son, Alex.







2 comments:

  1. I was very moved by your tribute.

    Ernest reminds me of other Nisei that I have known. I think those very admirable qualities you describe were found much more often in people of our parent's generation, particularly among Nisei, than they are today. Hopefully, I, too, can instill them in my son.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, he reminds me of the many very fine Nisei men I had known when I was a child.
      What I had found to be heartening, was that his children had these same qualities. Which means that parenting has much greater influence upon children than that of their peers. I will constantly strive to have my son grow up to be as well raised as Ernest's children have been.

      I will also remember Ernest's grace and his lack of regrets. It means he had lived his life well. I will also endeavor to do the same.

      Delete

Please feel free to comment on this article.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...