Edward Arinobu

If you are always awed by the beauty of the orchids and amaryllis blooms displayed at the entrance to the cafeteria, then you have Ed to thank for that. Best known as the LSCO’s volunteer “Green Thumb” gardener, he is the main reason the plants in the dining room atrium look so healthy.

Ed was born in B.C. to parents of Japanese descent, who were also born in Canada. He was raised in the Fraser Valley where his parents farmed strawberries and also had chickens.

This family of five children, the eldest two born before, were sent to an internment camp in Slocan, B.C. and were residents there from 1942-46 where he and one of his siblings were born; all of the family’s property was confiscated by the government. After the war, the family was exiled to Japan where the youngest of his siblings was born.

Ed returned to Canada in 1962 and briefly resided with an uncle and aunt. He then became a ‘houseboy’ for a Canadian family of non-Japanese descent in the Vancouver area for the next five years where he did household chores and childcare. He looks upon these years of his youth as relatively positive and says the female parent of this family was an “excellent influence” on him. He had to pay for his high school tuition, so the family he was living with/working for, allowed him to take paying summer jobs doing gardening. He attributes these experiences to his “green thumb”.

While in High School, he took English as a Second Language classes before he proceeded to the BC Institute of Technology. As a youth, Ed always had an interest in carpentry and construction thus he enrolled in the BCIT Building Technology program. After completing the program, he obtained employment in Winnipeg before he ended up moving back to Vancouver where he found a job.

This was where he married “Suni” and they decided to raise their family on the west coast. He worked for architectural and engineering firms as an ‘engineering technologist’ his whole adult life before he retired from paid work about 12 years ago. Ed and Suni then moved to southern Alberta in 2011 to be closer to Suni’s mother.

For a period of time, he and Suni were involved in the Lethbridge Japanese Canadian Christian Fellowship where they did traditional churchwork and took leadership roles until it folded. They have since become active at the Evangelical Free Church volunteering as ‘lay servants’. Ed also volunteers at the Soup Kitchen with his church.

He defines himself as a Christian and tries to act accordingly. He enjoys interacting with people and says he might have changed his career to the human service field, if he had had the opportunity. He is also passionate about playing a part in seeking solutions to the ‘houseless’ crisis in Lethbridge.

He enjoys playing table tennis and also likes swimming. He also likes cooking and tries not to tie himself down to the cuisine of any specific ethnicity. He also enjoys woodworking. He is not a musician, but he greatly enjoys listening to Classical music and is a big fan of the Lethbridge Symphony. Ed also has a small greenhouse where he starts seedlings and tries his hand at vegetable gardening.

The most significant book he recently read was the autobiography of Nelson Mandela. The concepts of truth and reconciliation really inspired him as it especially made him ponder on its contrasts to the notion of revenge.

Ed strikes this writer as a thoughtful, thinking man. He seems like the plants he cares for, that is, given the proper resources, he continues to grow and contribute with a full heart.

If you happen to see Ed quietly carrying watering cans to the plants in the atrium, please acknowledge his volunteerism, it will
nourish you and him.

Thanks Ed!

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