Famed Bainbridge farmer Akio Suyematsu passes away
August 1, 2012 · Updated 6:01 AM
Legendary Bainbridge Island farmer Akio Suyematsu passed away Tuesday.
He was 90.
The famed raspberry farmer, a second-generation Japanese, or Nisei, was well-known in farming circles and well beyond Bainbridge. He was honored by Friends of the Farm in 2010, when the nonprofit established an annual award that carries his name.
Suyematsu's family came to the island in the 1920s, and he was born on the island in 1921.
Along with his five siblings and parents, he was taken from their 40-acre farm on Day Road and shipped off to an internment camp during World War II.
He was later drafted into the all-Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most highly decorated regiment in the U.S. Army. He finally came home to Bainbridge Island after the war in 1947.
Suyematsu continued to farm into his late 80s.
In 2008, he sold his 15-acre farm to the city of Bainbridge Island so the land could be preserved as open space.