James Saiki Obituary - Bakersfield, California | Greenlawn Funeral Home Southwest


James Saiki
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Obituary for James Kiyoshi Saiki

James Kiyoshi  Saiki
James Kiyoshi Saiki, M.D.
(1948 – 2023)

James Kiyoshi Saiki was ushered into heaven November 29, 2023 surrounded by his loving family after a beautiful 75-year life.

Jim was born on August 28, 1948 in Cleveland, Ohio, the eldest of George and Miyoko Saiki’s four children. A third generation Japanese American, Jim was a proud and humble Sansei. When he was four, the family moved to Seaside, California, where he spent his childhood capturing abalone and sand dabs and helping his father catch salmon in Monterey Bay. An outstanding student and decorated Boy Scout, Jim excelled at Seaside High, Monterey Peninsula College, and began a Pharmacy degree at UCSF prior to changing course and completing his Medical Degree in 1975. Jim finished with his residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Nephrology at UC Irvine in 1979.

While at UCI, Jim fell in love with Kathy Redinger. Married in 1977, Jim and Kathy relocated to Bakersfield in 1983 where they raised their four boys. In 1984, Jim joined Drs. Harold Baer and Robert Kopelman at Central Nephrology Medical Group, beginning a decades-long partnership. Jim was a caring physician, beloved by many patients and respected by his peers. He was dedicated to excellence in his profession, but his family was his greatest joy. Despite his demanding schedule, he was regularly found cheering for his sons at soccer games, cross country meets and swim competitions. His sons remember him crafting daily hot breakfasts, packing lunches throughout childhood, and passing on his love for the outdoors with camping and fishing trips in the Sierra Nevadas.

In 2004, Kathy passed away after a long battle with cancer. Jim’s strength and steadfast dedication to his sons and to his patients during the years that followed was truly inspirational. In the fall of 2008, Jim and Cheryl Huggs Sowers were introduced by their children and were married shortly after. Jim became the proud patriarch of a beautifully blended family including four sons and their wives, three step-daughters and their husbands, and fourteen grandchildren.

Jim and Cheryl shared an adventurous and remarkable 15 years together--traveling the world, witnessing the birth of their grandchildren, celebrating his retirement after 40 years of practicing medicine, and fostering large family gatherings in beautiful places like Yosemite and Hanalei Bay.

Jim valued his time spent in the fellowship of family, friends and his church family. He cherished hot cups of black coffee, crossword puzzles in the morning, fresh sushi, and good books. An avid reader and thinker, he was inspired and motivated by great writings. Jim exemplified one of his favorite Bible verses James 1:19: “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger”. Jim left a rich legacy for all who knew him by living out his life of faith in Jesus.

Jim’s passing was preceded by those of Kathy, his dad George, his brother, Tom and his brother in laws Ken and Brian. Jim’s Mother, Miyoko, passed just five days after Jim. He is survived by his beloved princess, Cheryl, his sons David (Sarah), Gregory, Timothy (Jen), Kevin (Charley), step-daughters Ellen Grover (Ed), Megan Pierce (Doug), Molly Rivera (Willie), fourteen grandchildren, his siblings Diane and Ken (Carolyn), along with numerous sister and brother in laws, cousins, nieces and nephews.

We would like to thank our wonderful friends for the outpouring of love during Jim’s illness and the days following his passing; you are appreciated more than words can express. We also wish to express our gratitude to three local health care professionals, Alan Cartmell, M.D., and Alan Thomas, PA-C; wonderful, loving caregivers in the last stages of Jim’s battle and Sarah Asbill of Hoffman Hospice.

A memorial service to celebrate Jim’s life will be held on January 13, 2024 at 2:00pm at Laurelglen Bible Church, 2800 Ashe Road, Bakersfield, CA. Reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, if you so desire, Jim would be honored by a donation to one of the local organizations he supported: www.itgfoundation.org, underhisumbrella.com, https://www.bakersfieldangels.org/donate.html

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Kiyoshi Saiki, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

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