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This memorial website was created in memory of father, brother, son, friend, mentor, co-worker, port agent of our cargo, and the original bad poet, Greg Kimura, who was born on November 17, 1956 and passed away on April 3, 2017.

CaringBridge for updates and ways to help.

"A soul cannot reach the other world except on a river of tears." -- Dagara saying

April 3
Dear Greg - we think of you all the time. I was just telling a friend the other day about your heroic attendance at our son Gregory's memorial shortly before you left this world. It is a moment in time that we will never ever forget. I will also never forget visiting you in February 2017 with homemade soup and how you savored and discussed every spoonful with us. We miss our Gregs every day and hope you are taking care of each other wherever your energies are. XO
April 3
April 3
It seems like yesterday that my world turned upside down when I was told of your passing.   My best friend was forever gone on this earth to another place.  I choose to believe your in heaven looking down on all of us. Which is how I deal with your death! 

I love you Greggy and miss you everyday. Alls fine with us! You were the best.  RIP. 
November 17, 2023
November 17, 2023
To my Messy Marvin,
Hope you are celebrating big today, eating dinosaur cake, and sharing your wisdom with anyone who’ll listen. What I wouldn’t give for a long lunch with you, Judy, and Betty D. Cheers, my friend.
November 17, 2023
November 17, 2023
Happy Heavenly Birthday Greggy! I Miss everything about you! You will always be loved and missed by so many people. You touched this world ! I still talk to you in silent. I hope you can hear me!

Dance with angels.!
November 17, 2023
November 17, 2023
Hey Gregasaurus! Happy Birthday!! I trust that you are celebrating BIG today. My daughter just turned 28 on November 15th… 28!!! How does the time pass so quickly? I used to be 28 and you used to be 35. That’s the age you’ll always be to me… running after that tennis ball, kicking around that hacky sack, tossing in that soccer ball. Enjoy!!!
April 3, 2023
April 3, 2023
Missing you so much Greg! Six years goes by fast. It seems like yesterday when I last heard your laugh! RIP my friend. Until we meet again.

With Love
November 17, 2022
November 17, 2022
HBD Gregorius! Hopefully they have your mom’s famous fudge in the middle chocolate cake up there!
November 17, 2022
November 17, 2022
My Dearest Greggy,

Wishing you a very heavenly, peaceful birthday. I miss you so much. I’ve been talking to you a lot lately!  Can you hear me? I choose to believe you can mainly because I wake up with so much peace over me.  That was exactly what you brought to many…. Peace! Your words of comfort that only a poet could give !  You were my everything !  I was so blessed having you in my life.  
Happy Birthday Greg!❤️❤️❤️
April 3, 2022
April 3, 2022
Five short years since you’ve been gone. It seems like yesterday that I was talking to you. The ones the departed leaves behind are forever changed with a death. I’m still waiting and searching for my laugh again, but my heart still aches. I talk to you all the time! Do you hear me? You always said if you died before me you would send me a sign. I’m still looking for you! You said you would come back as a frog! Don’t you know that there are no frogs In Palm Springs? I’ll keep searching though! Lol.

Joe is 22 now and amazingly doing very well! You’d be so proud of him. He often speaks of you too! Yes, you impacted his life in a positive way.

Dance Greggy! I love you always! ❤️
November 17, 2021
November 17, 2021
Happy 65th BD!
We drove through Pinnacles National Park the other day. It brought back lots of memories of us scurrying up those "sustained" climbs like Discovery. Feed the beast brah. I miss you.
November 17, 2021
November 17, 2021
Heavenly Birthday Greg! Miss calling you on this special day to tell you Happy Birthday. But rejoice in Gods Hone ! You are forever loved and missed. Besties forever!
April 4, 2021
April 4, 2021
Four years today, you left this world to be in a better place !  I know you had to go, but I miss you so much! I still hear your voice and laugh. You were the most amazing child that grew up to be this beautiful, creative man!!

Your teachings of life has made me see the word in a different way! I now live with move love for people and understanding ! Thank you Greg for your love, friendship, devotion and respect!

Rest In Peace and keep on teaching. My love is always with you!
April 3, 2021
April 3, 2021
I was holding my newborn granddaughter Liav in my arms for the first time when I felt my phone buzz in my pocket. After handing the baby to the nurse, I read the message from Camden, telling me that Greg was gone. Cycle of life in a flash. I reeled with the news, and headed down to the Spiritual Cares Department at Stanford Hospital to find some solace. Liav, a fountain of exuberant life turns four today. I rejoice in all that she is and all that I see for her ahead. Still, there is a piece of my heart reserved for cherishing Greg, and mourning the longevity that was not his to receive. His memory will always be a blessing. This date will always be a mixed blessing.
November 17, 2020
November 17, 2020
Happy Birthday Greggy! You are missed every single day! The memories you have left me is a lifetime of joy! Thank you for each and every one of them.

Always and Forever My Best Friend!  Love you forever!

Until we meet again!!

November 17, 2020
November 17, 2020
Happy Birthday Greg.

I remember when we started Kamikaze Mutual. This was our shared investment account that was created with the "go for it" strategy. We would invest in anything that had a potential to skyrocket or bust. Mostly, it was bust. Precious metals mining, futures on the Yen, new technologies, basically "sure things." I learned a lot about investing, leverage and what it means to be "too good to be true." 

I miss you old friend.
April 4, 2020
April 4, 2020
Hey Greg! I know you're drumming, singing, writing poetry, and having a great time wherever you are. I know I have said it before but I'll say it again because it means a lot to me. Thanks for always including me in family gatherings and making sure there was a veggie burger or two for me.
Keep smiling up there!
-Kyleosaurus :)
April 3, 2020
April 3, 2020
I was thinking about you the other day and wondering what words of wisdom you would have for us all in this new world we’re currently living in. Miss you, Messy Marvin.❤️
April 3, 2020
April 3, 2020
My dearest Greg,

I think of you daily, you are forever missed, loved and cherished! My heart is so broken without you in this world. My best friend and mentor! RIP until we meet again. Pam and Mandy.
November 18, 2019
November 18, 2019
Greg Kimura.
I woke up today and tried the tennis stunts you taught me. Thinking of your always brings back good memories about tennis and church. The drums at the church remind us of you. You will always be remembered for the good things you gave to all of the people who knew you.
Sarah Mkhonza
November 17, 2019
November 17, 2019
So often things come up that remind me of you. Judy and I still share our funny Greg stories when we’re together. Miss you, Messy Marvin.
November 17, 2019
November 17, 2019
Been thinking about you, my dear friend. Miss you. Hope you are having a blast on the other side! Love you, Valerie
November 5, 2019
November 5, 2019
I met Greg and his poetry at Medicino 2014, and I have been sharing Cargo ever since, most recently at the fall 2019 Yavapai College student leadership retreat. I buy it in bulk and give it to anyone with a heart.
April 4, 2019
April 4, 2019
The best friend I have ever had. I am who I am today because of you, your teachings, your devotions, your stories, your laughter and your love. I miss you Greggy with all my heart. Sometimes I call your cell phone, but someone now has your number..... Crazy me, I still morn your loss! Peace be with you... Give mom my love!
April 3, 2019
April 3, 2019
Greg, I learned so much from you. You made the world a better place, dear friend, and I'm a better person for having known you. You faced your illness with tremendous courage, dignity, and positive energy... and still gave solace to all around you. Love you, Greg. What a beautiful soul you have. :-)
April 3, 2019
April 3, 2019
I remember the Humanities class that we took as Freshmen at UCSD; it was a class taught by a very dull professor who droned on about medieval literature. One particular work, by Boethius, "On the Consolation of Philosophy," (read with heavy German accent) was written for one "Gregorius of Genoa." We all got such a droll academic kick out of that and branded you Gregorius for the rest of the year. I don't remember much about that year except for our never ending antics. I miss you every day, my friend. RIP Gregorius, the king; 2 years, too long.
November 17, 2018
November 17, 2018
Happy Birthday friend wherever you are. We think of you often and miss your passions, your urgency, and your silliness.
November 17, 2018
November 17, 2018
Happy Birthday, Greg!
I know you're celebrating.
xoxo Kyle
April 3, 2018
April 3, 2018
A year ago the world lost a man full of laughter, love, and life. Although he is no longer of this earth, he has made an indelible mark that will forever live with us all.
April 3, 2018
April 3, 2018
It's been a year now since you left this earth to be in another place so close, but so far away. It feels as if you are still alive. I hear you laugh at some of the stupid things I do. I feel your presence and I see your smile. I hope that you are whole again and in no pain. I miss my best friend! Until we meet again. Watch us all ! Love you Greggy!
November 21, 2017
November 21, 2017
He Himself bestows life and death.

He is with us, within and beyond.

Nanak seeks Sanctuary of The One

The Ruler of all hearts.

    [Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Book]

I heard from a friend yesterday that Greg has passed away. I almost missed a heartbeat upon hearing this. We had been friends since 1984. He worked for me as a Tech Writing contractor around that time. He used to play soccer those days in a league called Kickers. Once he invited me to his soccer game in a stadium on the corner of HW101 and HWY680 in San Jose. He was very fit and he played very hard. He was friendly and unassuming. We met again several years later at Sun where we worked together for several years.

Our standard greeting was, "Hey Man!" whenever we met or communicated with each other via phone or email. Last we communicated was on LinkedIn on January 26, 2016.

Greg was very open-minded. About 20 years ago, he told me that he wants to visit the Sikh place of worship (Sikh Gurdwara) in San Jose. I told him to come anytime because it is open to all and that it would be our great pleasure to see him. He came over there on one Sunday with several children from his Church and we were very happy to receive them. They really enjoyed it.

My sincere condolences to Greg's family.

Hey Man! you will certainly be missed in this world, but I know you will be happy wherever you are. Stay happy!
November 17, 2017
November 17, 2017
Happy Birthday, or as he would say to me: Happy Birthday you old fool!

I met Greg in 1974 when we were first year students at UCSD. We had a suite of 10 guys who lived in 5 rooms and each of us was paired by the most unlikely (and incompatible) roommates that could be conceived. Greg’s roommate was a pseudo intellectual high-energy premed wannabe who only spoke in EMT/Medtech jargon and eventually ended up being a mall cop. He was kind of like the pompous character from the sitcom, Mash, Major Charles Winchester III, played by David Ogden Stiers. His roommate mistreated everyone including Greg, but Greg let that abuse bounce off of him in his typical magnanimous way. I do think Greg questioned his own qualifications to be at UCSD, but ironically was much more capable than most of our collective roommates; I often wondered if he left UCSD because of that, or if he just thought it wasn’t for him.

This was, of course long before the Internet, digital photography and recorded history. We spent many long hours pondering everything from the meaning of war, according to Thucydides, to the meaning of life, according to Greg Socrates. He kept a little book and recorded everything he though was profound, even quoting me on occasion: “hey, you once said,…” I wonder where that book is.

Greg had the ability to break things down into very simple ideas. And his “do it now” attitude was in sharp contrast to my, wait until tomorrow inclinations. I remember once, having “quit” playing tennis after some frustrating play, he went out and bought me a new racquet to encourage me to start playing again. How do you say “no” to that sheepish smile?

Shortly after college, Greg had this idea of going up to Tahoe and getting “rich” by playing blackjack. He taught me how to count cards, wrote a program modeling our betting scheme and convinced me that it was a “sure thing”. We would go up there every few weeks and one of us would sit at the table while the other would watch the play and give the signal “ok, let’s go” if mistakes started happening. I remember one time, he was sitting and I was watching and I detected his “count” was off by his play. I told him, “ok, let’s go” and he said, “no wait, I just ordered an OJ”. He played two more hands, lost $40 and got his OJ and with a big smile, said, “Ok, now we can go”. I told him, he just spent $40 on a glass of juice. He looked horrified, and in his patent surprise, acknowledged, “wow, you’re right”. He had other such “get rich quick” schemes including one year betting on the NFL playoffs with a “contrarian” tilt. The more convinced “we” were that a team would win, we would bet heavily against that team. We also pondered a few, not-so-legal ideas, but fortunately these were never consummated. 

I remember the first time I went skiing with Greg. He had the Kamikazi approach; he would bomb the mountain and crash at the bottom, get up, repeat. Interestingly, we had a joint stock-trading account he called “Kamikazi Mutual”; same idea, very aggressive trade, crash at the bottom, repeat. 

Those were great times, and I will miss them, but certainly shaped who I am today. I wonder what schemes, the two Gregs are up to now. I am quite sure, whatever is going on now, is the best of times.

Cheers, Brotha!
November 17, 2017
November 17, 2017
Today's meditation fro Steve Garnass Holmes seems to fit with something Greg might say or do, a subtext to "Cargo".

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
        “I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground.”
         —Matthew 25.25

Whoever you meet
probably has treasure
hidden within,

riches from God
they have buried
in fear.

Those of whom you disapprove—
you notice their annoying,
self-serving behavior,

but do you notice
the treasure? Do you
notice the fear?

Fear of what is demanded,
fear of being inadequate,
of being judged, of being used?

Everyone you meet
is a nervous treasure chest
searching for their own key.

What can you do
to treasure the treasure,
to steady their hand?

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve
Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
May 31, 2017
May 31, 2017
Greg and I both went to Blackford High School. I didn't know him well, even back then. I'm sad to hear of his passing, and happy to hear he lived a fulfilled life.
April 21, 2017
April 21, 2017
If you could emulate the Greg Kimura outlook on life, imagine how happy you would be. Every day is a learning experience. Joy and celebration. Everybody is a friend.
April 18, 2017
April 18, 2017
I might not have known Greg as well as some people did, but we had a very close bond, he and I, the sort of bond between two people that transcended the years and which would allow me to constantly badger him to lend me $400 to buy an '83 Subaru hatchback with bad hydraulics. That kind of closeness is really rare these days. 

But although I perhaps didn't share in Greg's life as much as some--I'd known him for about 12 years before I found out his name was "Greg"--he was a very special guy to me. I'm not very spiritual, or evolved, but that never mattered to Greg. He gently pushed me toward being a more open, transcendent, and fully realized person. I gently pushed him to loan me the $400, because once I got new hoses in, I really think I could have gotten another 50,000 miles out of that thing. 

I'm not much given to self-examination, or self-actualization, or self-cleaning, but when I needed sound advice from a sage friend, I turned to Greg, because he was as wise and perceptive and understanding as anyone I've ever met. If he'd only been Kate Beckinsale, it would have been perfect. 

But he wasn't just wise and perceptive and understand. He was damn funny, too, and irreverent as hell, and bawdy, and a lot of fun. 

I miss that guy. 

Goodbye, old friend, and thanks.
April 14, 2017
April 14, 2017
Greg and I worked together in the late 80's, early 90's. He the tech writer, me the tech illustrator. At Intersil and Sun Microsystems. We became close friends and would go out for Indian food in Sunnyvale frequently. The other day I was listening to this song, sung by Michael Jackson and I thought of Greg.

Like a comet
Blazing 'cross the evening sky
Gone too soon

Like a rainbow
Fading in the twinkling of an eye
Gone too soon

Shiny and sparkly
And splendidly bright
Here one day
Gone one night

Like the loss of sunlight
On a cloudy afternoon
Gone too soon

Like a castle
Built upon a sandy beach
Gone too soon

Like a perfect flower
That is just beyond your reach
Gone too soon

Born to amuse, to inspire, to delight
Here one day
Gone one night

Like a sunset
Dying with the rising of the moon
Gone too soon

Gone too soon

Written by Larry Grossman, Alan "buz" Kohan • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc
April 13, 2017
April 13, 2017
I have put off writing this, not knowing exactly what to say. Greg is on my mind every day. He has a place in my heart. I have lost track of how many years we met each other, once-a-year, at Maya & Barry Spector’s Grief Ritual. We were fellow drummers and I could count on him to keep the steady beat for hours. He was in the small group I facilitated before he facilitated his own. He shared his poems. We welcomed each other on returning from the Water Shrine with shining faces softened by tears. His presence and open sharing of his sorrow and joy along with his poems were and remain palpable. Although my contact with him was, in the scheme of things, so limited, contained and brief – just one day a year – his impact was profound. His raft will be carried by full river waters, unlike that other raft sitting, waiting in the dry riverbed that he described in his poem American Funeral. Greg, you will be called into the circle of Ancestors next November. You will always be remembered by me.
April 11, 2017
April 11, 2017
Greg called me “brother” – not because we socialized together, but because the time we spent together was in ritual space. There, everyone who could stand the heat, stay in the room and laugh or weep together was either a brother or a sister. We shared these spaces for five years in our weekly men’s group, ten years at men’s retreats in Mendocino and perhaps fifteen years of poetry salons and grief rituals.

Greg was “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” And for that reason he was full of joy. Does that sound strange? I’m reminded of a mutual friend who visited a West African village and asked a particular woman why, despite her poverty, she seemed so happy. She responded, “Because I cry a lot.”

Greg was rock solid. At these rituals he could always be counted on to be one of the drummers. And that’s no simple or easy thing. It means to maintain the beat for up to two hours, to hold the container while others release their pent-up feelings in the sacred work of grief. It’s one of the countless ways in which Greg served the beauty and the terror of this world.

Because of this, Greg’s humor was inseparable from both his pain and his compassion. His Caring Bridge website said, “Hi. I’m Greg and I’m dying. And so are you!” I’d like to think that this crazy insight came from his knowledge of Rumi, who wrote:

Until you become a rebirth you won’t know what life is.
It’s the same with anything:
You don’t understand something
Until you are what you’re trying to understand.
Become reason and you will know it perfectly.
Become love and be a burning wick at the center of yourself.
Listen, I would make this very plain
If someone were ready to hear what I have to tell:
Everybody in this world is dying.
Everybody is already in their death agony.
So listen to what anyone says as though it were
The last words of a dying father to his son.
Listen with that much compassion, and you’ll
Never feel jealousy or simple anger again.
People say everything that’s coming will come.
Understand this: It’s all here right now.
And me? I’ve been so woven into the mesh of my trivial errands
That only now do I begin to hear the mystery of dying everywhere.

Greg had done much difficult interior work, and so (depending on your point of view) he was a real Christian, a real Buddhist and/or a real Pagan. Perhaps I’m idealizing here – the family knows far better than I – but it seemed that he achieved a profound sense of peace with his own death, an ability to be in the moment. He was lucky in those last nine months to be surrounded by so much love, appreciation and music. When we visited for the last time and I asked him “How you doing?” he responded, without a trace of irony, couldn’t be better!”

So finally he was a teacher, who left me with a spontaneous Zen koan that I’ll be working with for a long time. We recited some favorite poems together, including this one of his:

Sacred Wine

Sit with the pain in your heart, he said.
Hold it like a sacred wine in a golden cup.
The wine may break you and if it does, let it.
To be human is to be broken,
and only from brokenness can one be healed.
The ancestors say: the world is full of pain,
and each is allotted a portion.
If you do not carry your share, then others are forced to carry it for you,
And the suffering you bring to the world is your sin,
But the suffering you bring to yourself will be your hell.
Sit with the pain in your heart, he said.
Hold it there like a sacred wine in a golden cup.

When we got to the third from the last line, he interrupted me:

… the suffering you bring to yourself will be your salvation.
April 11, 2017
April 11, 2017
A Brotherly Relationship

My relationship with Greg came about from our mutual association with Wesley United Methodist Church in Palo Alto, CA. That relationship goes back to the late 1980’s and included many of the activities in the church - but the principal one was our attempt to provide an anchor quality to the bass section of the church choir. We often struggled to find the correct note but, between the two of us, we generally succeeded. 

In more recent years, during the “time of greeting” at the start of the church service, I started greeting Greg by saying something like “Hey Brother, peace be with you.” Age-wise we were not of the same generation where we could be considered “blood brothers” - I was old enough to potentially be Greg’s father. But our Brotherly Relationship was one of a spiritual quality and I think we both felt that same affinity towards each other. In Greg’s case, it was that unique quality that he possessed and which endeared him to so many others, as evidenced by the many messages that have appeared on these sites dedicated to him.

My analytical engineer’s mind it not capable of generating the elegant words that can match many of the eloquent tributes that have appeared from Greg’s many friends on both the CaringBridge site and on this one. But my analytical mind can understand why there have been so many people that have added their messages of tribute to these sites honoring Greg - it is because of the caring, loving, and understanding qualities that he had - the same qualities that endeared him to me. Rest in peace Brother.
April 11, 2017
April 11, 2017
Wow. I am so amazed at all of these tributes--Greg touched so many of us in similar ways. I was especially touched by the note left by Mike Sinz. How well I remember Greg's tilt of the head. :-) 
When my mother passed away after a long illness a couple of years ago, I assumed she joined my father. I woke up on the third day to find two young bobcats in my backyard. I looked up bobcat symbolism and this is what I read: "Bobcat totem meaning teaches that one is never alone, but in the wilderness one is always surrounded by spirit, ancestors, and cosmic energies." I consider Greg an ancestor now. Thank you, old friend, for all you did for so many.
April 11, 2017
April 11, 2017
When Greg passed on we were left wondering what we would do without him. He was a friend, fellow tennis player and poet. I played games with him on the tennis court near Newell. I will miss the couching and laughs we had. The Thursday before he passed I felt compelled to return the racket he had lent me. It gave me a chance to share and do some tennis talk.
I also shared a passion for poetry with him. He had told me that there was a poetry group at the church on Saturday mornings. I never made it to that group.

He gave me his book Cargo Poems. I read his poetry to him the Thursday before he passed on. We enjoyed the reading because I was also asking him why he wrote certain poems. I will always remember the poem, Celebrate Me, as words that reflect what he would constantly wish us to do for him. As a poet,I wanted to remember this day and wrote a poem entitled, When A Poet Is Sick. I did not want to end the day without penning down the experience of reading poetry we shared. I wanted the experience to last both for me and for him. I felt that I missed Gregs giving and wanted to thank Providence for blessing me by giving me a chance to know someone who had the kind of humility I pray for. We at Wesley Palo Alto will miss the drumming he did and his life enhancing prayers. When I was sick and admitted, he came to pray with me on my sick bed with all the other friends such as Joan Moses, Harry, Carla and students from way back in my Cornell days, like Happiness and Jess from Stanford. I wished for Greg recovery the way he did for me. I thank God that he gave us a chance to be with him the day before he passed on. To Gregs family, we pray for healing as you reflect on what he meant to you. We thank you for giving us time to come and see him. The love you shared with us made us feel that you knew we were also troubled by his sickness. Thank you for the feeling of love we saw you giving him. He was a gift like no other. May his soul RIP.
April 10, 2017
April 10, 2017
I was privileged to see Greg every year at Barry and Maya Spector's Day of the Dead Grief Ritual. It was always a joy to reconnect with him. We shared drumming together for many years. I will always remember the poignancy and significance of his annual poetry contribution to the day: "The American Way of Grief".... I hope, in contrast, that his soul has been sent on its own journey to the ancestors by a great "river of tears"... I am saddened that he has left us too soon, and I will miss him greatly.
April 10, 2017
April 10, 2017
Greg was always warm and welcoming to me, which I appreciated when I was new to Palo Alto. He was a damn fine poet too. I've been honouring him by reading his poems to my classes at CIIS. I'm sad that he's gone, and I'll remember him fondly. -- Rachael Vaughan
April 10, 2017
April 10, 2017
I really got to know Greg through Jumpstart - all those early Saturday mornings when we gathered to write. Greg made it so much fun, and I always felt that he managed to pull the best out of us. He set it up in such a way that it was supportive, provocative, and free of pressure or stress. I'm thinking now about the time Jumpstart took a trip to Mono Lake, hanging out and writing - so great! Jumpstart was one of the things I missed the most when we moved to Oakland.

I will always treasure that Greg asked me to review/edit his poems before the book came out. It was an honor to touch those words. He sure had a way with them!

We continued to see Greg at our poetry salons, and he was a regular at the grief ritual we hold yearly around the time of Day of the Dead. He not only participated but always helped out by leading a small group, drumming, and staying until the bitter end when everything was cleaned up. Greg was reliable. That sounds boring, but I don't mean it to. His wit, his sense of humor, his friendship, his ability to make you feel good - all of those things - were gifts to those of us who knew him and loved him.

I just read a poem by Gregory Orr that made me think of Greg:

"Why should the grave be final?
Why should death be everything?
Isn't the world wonderful?
Don't we want more of it?
And in poems, life goes on

I think Greg would agree. As is always said in the pagan Spiral Dance ritual, "What is remembered lives." Greg's poems will live on, he will certainly live on in my memory, and I will miss him.
April 9, 2017
April 9, 2017
Greg Kimura was a wonderful human being who was also a poet extraordinaire and an old soul. He was my friend for at least 15 years as part of the Mosaic Men's Conference in Mendocino, which I've been poetry teacher for 22 years. What brought us together was poetry. This would allow our stories to intertwine. I will miss his voice, his gentle heart, his generosity, his patience, and his steadiness in the face of adversity. Greg is now an ancestor. I'll call on you brother. Your energy, your words, your presence, will live on.
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April 3
Dear Greg - we think of you all the time. I was just telling a friend the other day about your heroic attendance at our son Gregory's memorial shortly before you left this world. It is a moment in time that we will never ever forget. I will also never forget visiting you in February 2017 with homemade soup and how you savored and discussed every spoonful with us. We miss our Gregs every day and hope you are taking care of each other wherever your energies are. XO
April 3
April 3
It seems like yesterday that my world turned upside down when I was told of your passing.   My best friend was forever gone on this earth to another place.  I choose to believe your in heaven looking down on all of us. Which is how I deal with your death! 

I love you Greggy and miss you everyday. Alls fine with us! You were the best.  RIP. 
November 17, 2023
November 17, 2023
To my Messy Marvin,
Hope you are celebrating big today, eating dinosaur cake, and sharing your wisdom with anyone who’ll listen. What I wouldn’t give for a long lunch with you, Judy, and Betty D. Cheers, my friend.
Recent stories

From Cheryl Weaver:

May 31, 2017

This is from Cheryl Weaver, a friend of Greg's from church titled "Where Strangers Become Friends":

The motto of the church long ago was Where Strangers become Friends.

Greg was a stranger who became a friend to many at church.

I, like some others (Becki, Cyndi, Gale, Harry, Tom, Liz, and a bunch of young people), knew Greg at church.  Greg shared himself in many ways, so I will mention a few of them.  He sang in the choir.  He used to write a column called “Heard in the Pews” for the church newsletter.  He would call up folks, find out what was going on in their lives, then write the column to share the news.  It helped make the newsletter like a small town newspaper.  He taught Sunday School and loved working with the kids.   He would find or write original plays for the kids to do at special services like Christmas Eve.  He was also in an adult staged presentation of “Living Last Supper” done on Maundy Thursday of Holy Week.  A major undertaking of the church is to host Hotel de Zink, an overnight homeless shelter, in the church hall for a full month each year.  For many years Greg, Ted, and others were the leaders.  They made the calendar and got sign ups for all the help needed to welcome and provide dinner for the guests.  Greg was always present and welcoming.  We knew that Greg was sick in February 2016 when he could no longer be there.  Others will carry on, but we will always miss Greg when it is time to welcome Hotel de Zink to the church hall.  Another example of Greg’s welcoming of all was his full support for our Tongan church members.  A few years ago, in planning our way forward as a congregation, Greg was the one to encourage us all to join together as “one heart.”   Greg was also the church drummer.  I’m not sure the last time he was there to play drums, but it has probably been a year.

So I/we will miss Greg in all these ways.  On Sunday morning I miss him sitting on the drum throne.  In February I miss him encouraging everyone to sign up for Hotel de Zink.  And at fellowship time I miss checking in with him, asking him about Camden and Bryn and telling him what my daughter is doing.  He kept up with other young folks and I could ask him, what do you hear from so-and-so.

Last June in his e-mail he said he had been at Wesley for 28 years.  He received back some of the caring and love which he had shown to others over those years.  In the next few months he was upheld with prayer, visits, food, and song.  In March when my daughter and I visited, he had a big smile and was happy to see us.  Greg, you will be ForeverMissed.


May 26, 2017

When death finds you, may it find you alive.

                                                          African Proverb


Texas Hill Country. Enchanted Rock. A huge grayish granite dome rising from the limestone. The climb up is gradual with occasional trills of the canyon wren. People going up and down like columns of ants.

On a steeper stretch my frontal vision is limited – a false horizon of rock; and a vulture flies out almost at eye level before veering upward. A sudden reminder that death waits just beyond our vision. My mind skips to a steaming day in Bombay almost 50 years ago when I had a partial day’s reprieve from my job on a passenger liner. My guide had taken me to the Tower of Silence, an open valley on the far reaches of town where the Parsis took their dead to be laid out to be consumed by the vultures. It seemed quite exotic to that 20 year old boy who had seen little death in his life. But once the initial shock wore off, there was a feeling of what I can only call now, rightness. Flesh literally returning to the natural world, its elements again being recycled into life.

Five days ago my adopted brother, Greg Kimura, died after a prolonged decline caused by a brain stem tumor. It was not diagnosed for almost two years, and Greg gradually went from an athletic and physically vital man to a husk of his former self. Although puzzled by what was happening and losing strength, he continued to play tennis, hike and kayak. We did two strenuous trips together in the southwest canyon country. Greg was a little slower and tired more easily, but was holding his own no matter what we did.

When I saw him last August he has lost more than fifty pounds and needed hiking poles to walk. We had talked and I knew he was losing weight, but it took me aback to see how much he had declined. His diagnosis came a few days later and we knew that death was imminent.

2001 Mendocino Woodlands Camp. Dusty sunbeams making their way through redwood cover. A cool breeze with the slightest tinge of salt. One hundred men are arriving for a weeklong conference and milling about. Some greet friends from past years. Others introduce themselves to strangers. One man sits at a picnic table, alone, totally focused on maniacally writing. Strange, but “Oh, well.”

Six days later, our paths still not having crossed, he stands up during a session and reads a poem he has written, It is called Cargo and it changes my life.

I had just retired from thirty years of teaching sixth graders and had used the ideas found in Greg’s poem to change my role from an instructor focused on getting students to spew out facts to an educator that wanted to expand their world by leading them out (the literal meaning of education) of their world view and into one that stretched beyond anything they could imagine.

I had been inspired by Malidoma Some’, an African teacher from Burkina Faso. Cargo was dedicated to Malidoma. I approached Greg to thank him for his words and share a bit of how I too had benefitted from Malidoma’s teachings. We both continued to attend the annual event and over the next couple of years formed a strong bond. I invited him to Power of Poetry, a local festival I had begun in 2002. He came, read and conquered, totally captivating the audience and making many new friends. He returned to the festival two more times as a presenter, and almost every year to just be there to support the event.

On one of these occasions he helped me do the final edit on a poem I was presenting. I sit here today receiving consolation from its message – that the antidote for tragedy is putting beauty into the world, a basic part of what was Greg Kimura:

The Cellist of Sarajevo


Tomazo Albinoni could never have imagined Sarajevo

as he crafted the notes of his Adagio.

The son of a wealthy man, he had no cares,

and devoted himself to music.

A self proclaimed dilettante,

indulging himself in beauty.


The Adagio enfolds the listener,

seven minutes of deliberate playing,

slowing the breath as the bow strokes the strings,

the cello’s voice, so human,

words murmured behind a secret door.


In the Hell of Sarajevo rumors of fresh bread,

a connection to a normal world, now so far away.

They stood in anticipation, the smell so tantalizing,

as the bakery disappeared in the blast of mortar shell.


For twenty two days, one for each of these neighbors,

he carried his cello to the crater,

clad in black and white, music on the stand.

Amidst the snipers and the rubble,

playing Albinoni’s Adagio for them, and for himself.

Like Orpheus, ascending on the music

from the underworld of despair.


Tomazo wrote music for the pure simple joy of it,

but Vedran descending the Adagio’s minor chords,

to find the steady pulse

A precise and stately dance on

the path leading out of Hell.

Dipping into the wells of practice.

The waters of beauty seeping into his, and our, being.

Every stroke a conscious vote to return.

Each note a step on the shattered path to life.


                                                                            April 2005


Over the years our friendship continued to deepen, although sometimes I wondered how well he really knew me. He once called me for sartorial advice about what to wear for a wedding. Wrong number!

 Or when we had this conversation:

G: I have a problem.

A: (concerned voice) What is it?

G: I just met a really amazing woman named Sharol.

A: So? Why is this a problem?

G: Because I have to tell all the other women I can’t see them any more.

A: Fuck you.

And so it went – trading poems, having adventures, laughing, philosophizing, learning more and more about each other. He called me his ‘sixth grade teacher’, and many a time I had to threaten him with missing recess to get him to turn his work in on time. We began the Cargo Project, providing free posters of the Cargo poem with Evie’s illustration to anyone wishing to have it, especially schools. We were close as brothers and sometimes to me it felt like more, as we had chosen to do this. I could count on Greg for support and honest criticism when needed. And his quiet wisdom continued to amaze me.

On one of the occasions he presented at Power of Poetry a phone rang during one of his poems. I was pissed, as were many audience members. How could someone be so inconsiderate? The guilty woman slunk out of the presentation space. A few minutes later she returned and during a lull stood to explain herself. She was awaiting word about a sick relative and received a message that her mother had just died. Greg immediately read his poem of tears creating the river needed to send a deceased friend on his way. The tears that filled the room  validated the truth of the poem.  

As Greg’s body faded, he stayed present, receiving and generating love. I never heard a complaint. Only gratitude and appreciation for every moment. Long term memories were evanescent wisps of smoke, and then even short term ones became wobbly. But he reveled to be here and now, time a string of forever moments to be savored then gracefully released.

When we stop to think how much we have taken from the world during our life, we see what an immense gift we have received. The only way to even slightly repay our debt is to give ourselves as fully as we are able, sharing the cargo we carry with those who need it. If echoes of our deeds and ideas resound outward, they can reach those whose lives can be enriched from them, and it can be said that we walked well on this earth.

Greg, my brother, your gifts are now part of me. I will do my best to perpetuate them, share them, and in doing so, keep your spirit alive.

From Gale Johnson:

April 8, 2017

This is from Gale Johnson, a friend of Greg's from Wesley Church, titled "His Drums Fell Silent":

Greg’s death hit me very hard even tho I knew it was coming within a short period of time, tucked in there somewhere within the 6 month window usually ascribed as the guideline for hospice care. He died on a Sunday, the Sunday before I had planned to visit him later that week. It would have been my third visit while he was in home hospice care. And of course I had also planned on making my famous chicken and ham tetrazzini casserole. I combined food with my previous visits. It was much appreciated by Greg and his family, and their appreciation was reciprocated by my appreciation. He would have loved it.

Thanks to Apple for their iPads. I bought mine just a few months before my wife, Garnet, died in June of 2014. I had recorded her playing her harmonica, and granddaughter, Liz, playing her flute with grandma, and later when Liz and grandma played harmonicas together. Sometimes they did the dueling harmonica routine, with Liz leading, and grandma following up by playing the same thing, but with added embellishments, and that set the scene for friendly competition. And more recently I recorded a lady friend, Dona Smith Powers, playing on our piano, the medley of familiar church songs Garnet arranged and that we sang with Dorothy and Seward McCain back in the 70’s. The medley included “Give Me That Old Time Religion”, “Shall We Gather At The River”, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”, “Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling”, and “The Little Brown Church In The Wildwood”. We called our quartet the Grateful Living. When I visited Greg I took my iPad and played some of those videos as well as other music and songs that I ‘googled’ and found on YouTube. One was a song written to poetry by Leonard Cohen. Of course Greg knew about Leonard Cohen, his poetry, and his music written for his poetry. Greg mentioned one, ‘Hallelujah’, probably the most popular of Cohen’s songs, and sung by many artists, but he hadn’t heard of the one I wanted him to hear, “Anthem”. I hadn’t heard it either before I saw our former choir director, Lisa Forkish on Facebook, playing the piano and singing the song. I was touched by it, and the words and emotion she put into singing it. Greg loved it. The words are powerful and I could just imagine Greg writing them. Here are just a few words that are repeated in the song…

“Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack, a crack, in everything,
That’s how the light gets in, that’s how the light gets in”…

Of course a percussionist would love that part.

I also played, from Facebook, a video of Karen Ragsdale Wolf playing the piano and her two young daughters singing the ‘Star Star’ song written as poetry by Greg, but put to music by Karen. It was created for a Christmas program at our church, Wesley Methodist Church, in Palo Alto, many years ago. He was thrilled.

He knew he was surrounded by many friends at the end and that just made him feel more comfortable and accepting of his fate, I think. I never got the feeling that he was resentful or bitter or blamed God for his condition. I’m not sure how I would, or will, react in a similar situation…a hard pill to swallow. It always tests my faith when things like this happen. Where was God? I might go back and reread a book about “why to do bad things happen to good people?”, popular in the 80’s. I didn’t like it or agree with it then, so I doubt that a second reading will help.

I could write many pages about Greg’s contributions to our church, but I’ll just add a few now. I remember his and Bea Fanning’s early years here. Richard Lyons, was our pastor then, and he performed their wedding ceremony as well as the wedding ceremony for our daughter, Susan, and husband, Albert Yeh, in that same timeframe, in the mid-80’s.

Greg and Tom Sharp co-authored and produced the Wesley newsletter that we all anxiously awaited to be printed. Greg came to our ‘work days’. He helped out wherever he could, or was needed, under the direction of Hal Walker or Bee Kavinoky. He eventually joined the choir in the bass section, and was a welcome addition. He had a good voice. He also taught Sunday school with Cyndi Gyugyi and Becki Wright for many years and worked with youth on many activities and outings. He took young people under his wing, many from homes of single mothers. He was one of the main speakers at a church meeting led by our district superintendent, Christie Olah, to discuss the future of our church and how the Tongan fellowship and us Palongis (those of us not from Polynesian ancestry) would work together. He drove home his message of unity and that we should be ‘of one heart’.

In his early years at Wesley he took it upon himself to invite candidates from both political parties, running for an open US House of Representatives seat, to come and speak to us. That was a bold move in our church at that time because our biggest givers and most influential members with the loudest voices, were staunch Republicans. I went to both meetings. The first one was for the Democrat candidate, running for her first time, Anna Eshoo. There were probably 10 of us there. That’s the first and last time I met her personally and shook her hand. I often wondered if she thought that was a waste of her time to speak to such a small audience. She won and now speaks to crowds of hundreds. She continues to serve our district very well. I went to the second meeting with the Republican candidate (I don’t remember his name), but there were only 3 of us there, and none of the big givers and staunch Republicans I referred to earlier.

Greg was a selfless caring person. For years he was one of the main organizers and coordinators of Hotel de Zinc, a program for the homeless in our community. Wesley Church hosts, every year, during the month of February, a group of homeless, usually around 15 of them. Our volunteers prepare a dinner meal for them and then they sleep overnight in Byrd Hall.

Greg led a writing group in an upstairs classroom every Saturday morning at Wesley. He asked me to join them, but I never did. I have since joined a “Life Stories” writing class at Avenidas, our downtown senior center. I have written over sixty stories. I worry that I might run out of life before I can write all my life stories. One of my stories deals with the topic of death.

Greg was also involved in many groups outside of Wesley Church. I don’t know how many and what I do know is anecdotal. He went to retreats with other men, someplace on the coast in Mendocino County. It was a time of deep meditation and unloading their ‘cargo’ as I understand it, nothing like the Bohemian Grove conclave where the richest, most powerful, and influential men in this country meet. They could use a little meditation therapy like Greg’s group offers, I think. I know Greg would agree.

At one point he was involved in jail ministry. His faith was strong and even tho he was a Christian, he studied many other religions and drew knowledge from them. His character and his calmness reminded me of Buddhism. In his eulogy for Garnet he used words from other languages and a phrase from an African tribe. That showed me that he had studied a lot about them.

I really only knew Greg thru the church and the events and the gatherings at the church, with a few exceptions.

During Advent in 2013, our Tongan caregiver for the day, Sa, our daughter, Susan, and I, took Garnet to the coast for lunch. It was at Barbara’s Fish Trap at Pillar Point, just north of Half Moon Bay. When we got home there was a message on our phone, from Greg. That was the day the mixed unofficial choir (Tongans and Polangis) was making the rounds to sing carols and other songs for those who couldn’t make it to church anymore. I responded to his message and said we were home and would be happy to have them come by and sing. They did, and it cheered Garnet up immensely. Daughter Susan recorded it on her camera and she mentioned recently that she remembers Greg sitting down right next to mom and helping her out in singing the songs. That was so characteristic of Greg, just doing his thing…taking care of his friend, Garnet.

What a great eulogist. I remember when he gave Kathe Hammond’s eulogy, at the request of her husband, Don. I told him afterwards, keep the day job, but consider going to seminary and becoming an ordained minister. And of course, when Garnet died, he and Carol Love were my ‘go to’ persons to ask to be eulogists for her service. They both did great jobs of describing Garnet and her life. Greg and I prepared for it by my invitation to come to my house for pizza and beer and discuss what should or could go into his eulogy. I told him a lot about Garnet and then suggested he call two of her friends, neighbor Rosemarie Bednar, and a good friend thru AAUW, Marie Wolbach. He did that and wove their input into his great eulogy. The entire service was video recorded by David Garloff, husband of Garnet’s sister, Beryl. One of Greg’s greatest assets was his slow and deliberate delivery. He never rushed it. He would pause, sometimes looking up at the ceiling, maybe pleading with God, in both a reflective and contemplative way, before continuing. He would have made one of those great ancient Greek philosophers and orators.

He played the role of Judas, in a presentation at our church during Holy Week…”The Living Last Supper”, directed by Jeanie Forte, now Jeanie Smith. I don’t want to make a fuss about the type casting of characters, and Greg played the role so well, but in real life we all know he was no Judas.

Losing my wife, Garnet, was tough, but it took a long extended time of suffering from dementia and related problems. That made it even tougher. Greg was alive and alert less than three years ago when he delivered the eulogy for Garnet. There was no inkling or clue of what his condition would be two years later. Then it happened…wham…it smacks you in the face and it could happen to any of us. So, if there is a message in this…hug everyone you know now, unload your ‘cargo’…stealing from Greg’s great poem by the same title…and enjoy the rest of your life.

Oh, and one more thing…write about it. We all have stories to tell. Don’t be reluctant in telling them, but it’s up to you. Nobody else will do it for you

Thanks to Camden and the rest of the family and friends. Greg had so many friends, as you can see from the Caring Bridge and Facebook comments. I don’t recognize most of their names so they must be friends he made outside of Wesley. Hundreds…maybe thousands. I have many friends but I’ve been a little picky about whom I wanted to be my friend. That was never a deterrent for Greg. Everyone he met he considered a friend, or if it took a little work to become a friend, he put in the effort from his end. He walked the walk.

Camden has been the main contact, but there have been so many others who have also contributed to Greg’s care. Bea has been by his side, as well as Sharol, Greg’s lady friend of several years. Many of Bea’s Peninsula Women’s Chorus members came to sing to Greg. He smiled and enjoyed their company. On one of their last visits they sang the Abba Dabba Dabba Honeymoon song. His friend, Claire, video recorded it. Greg was in his hospital bed at home with a finger shaker on one finger, and he kept the beat going with the song, and at the end he gave sustained vigorous shakes. Bea played her hand held harpsichord on many of her visits.

For my first visit I made a copy of Garnet’s medley with words. Sharol was there and I played the iPad recording of Dona Smith Powers playing it on our piano and we sang along at Greg’s bedside. He joined us in singing. When I first went to the house that day Matt greeted me at the door. Sharol was sitting next to Greg in his hospital bed. Bryn also greeted me and called out to Greg, “You have a visitor”. Greg asked, “Who is it?” “Gale Johnson” she replied. Greg said, “Hey, brother!”. That made me feel a little special, although I know he gives that same greeting to many of his ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’.

When I visited, I saw so much love in that family. A beautiful home on Barrymore Avenue in San Jose, his mother, Gladys’s, home. I saw Bryn when she was home from Finland on school break. Both brothers, Steve and Matt, were there on my first visit, but just Steve on my second one. Greg’s mom is such a sweet, kind, and gentle person. He inherited that trait. I can’t imagine an unkind word ever coming out of their mouths.

Camden gave me a copy of Greg’s book of poetry, “Cargo”. It’s his life story in poetry form, beautifully written and putting it all out there. He got naked, figuratively speaking, exposing and baring all of himself for us to see, when he wrote that. I could take a lesson from it and unburden my life by unloading all of my cargo.

My great plan. I had one…and only one…but a great one. You can call it Plan A if you want, but there was no Plan B, so Plan A was the only one. It was my memorial service plan. Greg would deliver the eulogy and Bea would sing. Perfect, I thought, and it was, until Greg died. I had already gotten Bea’s commitment, but I didn’t think to ask Greg because there was so much time left. I could do that on my deathbed, right?

The drums fell silent…then the finger shaker did too. That’s when we knew that our friend, Greg, the guy with a big heart, percussionist to the end, was gone.

Thanks Greg, for coming into my life and making it so much richer.

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