Dean Hirabayashi left our world as quietly as he lived on November 16, 2018 at home with his wife, Christine, holding his hand and his fur friend, Mahlah, lying at his side. Dean was born on October 15, 1956 in Los Angeles, CA to Henry (Hank) Hirabayashi (deceased) and Misa Izumi Hirabayashi and was raised and attended school in Seattle, WA.
In Seattle, he pursued his passions for running and playing baseball and was an avid fan of Washington Huskies Football, the Seattle Mariners and the Seattle Seahawks. After years in rainy Seattle, he wanted a warm and dry retirement. Moving to Mesquite, NV brought Dean the joy of running long days, everyday. He ran the streets and desert and became recognized as “that guy that’s always running”. He was a member of the Mesquite Senior Softball League, playing for the Geezers. His team members paid him a beautiful tribute in the days before his death, coming to his home, they filed past his bed, greeting him with a hug, a handshake or words of encouragement. He was made an honorary member of this year’s team.
Dean was commended repeatedly during his thirty years with U.S. West for outstanding contributions and dedication to service as an employee. He was a team member and coach of the U.S. West National Corporate Track Team and was chosen to run in the National Corporate Track Championships. Dean received many “Volunteer of the Year” citations over the years from his employer and non-profits. As a Special Olympics South King County volunteer, he served on the board of directors, coached the athletes in volleyball, basketball and track and field, and served as a training coordinator for coaches. He coordinated relays and races to raise funds for Special Olympics and described his experience as a time of witnessing “so much joy, it’s just incredible”.
Dean was a founding member of the Interurban Runner’s Club in Seattle, WA. Over the years, he acquired the bragging rights for completing seventeen marathons, countless half marathons and 10k’s and had the shirts to prove it. He and fellow runner, Christine Gregorash, became friends and although each moved in different directions over the years they connected again in 2015 and their friendship blossomed into marriage on June 9, 2016.
Just as his care and dedication to his mom, Misa, when she joined him in Mesquite, was absolute. Dean embraced his new family with love and devotion. The feeling was mutual. We were forever his and he and Misa ours. He quickly became “Oji san” to his step kids and grandkids, Uncle Dean to nephews and nieces and Bro to his new in-laws.
Dean lived the virtues of the samurai warrior: integrity, respect, courage, honor, compassion, honesty, and loyalty. He battled his disease fiercely. To paraphrase a niece, although God broke our hearts to prove he only takes the best, we are incredibly thankful for Dean’s presence in our lives, for the love and joy he brought our family, the bonds he strengthened, the laughs we shared, the smiles he created, and the dance moves we’ll never be able to match. Fly high, Samurai and when the time comes we’ll meet you on the other side of the stars.
In French, “tu me manques.” You are missing from me. He will be missing from his wife, Christine, his mom, Misa. Family and friends; Lia, Zak, TJ, Debbie, Jason, Tanya, Kassidy, Kale, Brady, Siera, Bryce, Shane, Ryley, Lynn, Susan, Scott, Jody, Charysse, Craig, Nathan, Kyle, Aubre, Ayla, Abby, Kiyoko, Jim, Jody, Steve, Len, Sandy, Jim, and Ann. His Eureka and Casa friends, his fellow runners, ball players and his Huskies 5th quarter sports posse.
Dean will be celebrated in early Spring when the earth begins to warm and the sun shines. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Special Olympics, WA (online) in memory of Dean Hirabayashi, and/or to Barrow Neurological Foundation (124 West Thomas Rd., Ste 250, Phoenix, AZ 85013) where contributions in his name will be designated to Glioblastoma research. The family invites you to leave a message or memory in their Guest Book at www.virginvalleymortuary.com.
There will be a celebration of life for Dean on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at the home of the Hirabayashi's in Mesquite, NV from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Service/Memorial at 2:00 p.m. Please join the family to share memories, refreshments and beverages as they celebrate him.