Owner of La Sumida Nursery Passes Away
By edhat staff
The owner of La Sumida Nursery on Patterson Ave passed away unexpectedly last week. Hilton Masami Sumida died in his sleep of a heart attack on February 7, he was 73-years-old.
Born on March 23, 1944, in Cleveland, Ohio, Sumida was predeceased by his parents Harold Mitsugi and Ethel Ayako Sumida and sister Karen Leiko Weber. He is survived by nephew Travis Sumida Weber (Amy), their children Nicole, Madison, and Tyler; cousins Jane Taniguchi (Bob), Arlene ltou, Alice Yokoro, and Ruth Sakata.
Sumida's parents founded La Sumida Nursery on upper State Street in 1958. In 1972, they opened the Milpas Street branch and their current Patterson Avenue location was opened in 1978. In 2007, all locations were consolidated into Patterson Ave.
According to his obituary, Sumida was a horticulture graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and served in the Army Reserve. He enjoyed fishing, golf, water skiing, dogs and traveling.
A graveside service was held at the Santa Barbara Cemetary followed by a Celebration of Life luncheon on Thursday. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, to make a donation to a charity of your choice in Sumida's name.
Below is a tribute written by an edhat reader and La Sumida Nursery customer:
None of us would ever have been ready to say goodbye to Hilton Sumida. Maybe that’s why we didn’t get the chance. Hilton was one of those remarkable people who made each of us feel good about ourselves. At his service today it was clear that most of the people in attendance considered themselves his special friend. In fact, let’s be clear, we considered ourselves family. And how could you not?
Hilton greeted people with a twinkle in his eye and a welcoming smile. His nursery was home to beautiful plants, an incredible staff, and a community of people who sought out his knowledge. But more than that they sought out the way he made them feel. Often I would stop by the nursery just to say hello. Hilton could brighten my day just by seeing the delight on his face when my little red VW pulled into the driveway.
He had that grandfatherly wisdom that brought out the best in people around him. We wanted to be important in his eyes because he made us feel like we matter. I have a dull ache inside knowing that I won’t see him the next time I drive down Patterson Avenue to get spring flowers at La Sumida nursery. But I will see him in every new blossom that brightens the landscapes of my life. Hilton, Santa Barbara is more beautiful place because of you.
Thank you for the change you generated and the traces you leave behind.