ABOUT HIROSHI FUJIMOTO AWARD
“We miss you Hiroshi”
Hiroshi Fujimoto passed away peacefully on February 28, 2014 following a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born March 31, 1949 to Yasushi and Toshiko Fujimoto in Tokyo, Japan. At the age of 14 Hiroshi immigrated to San Diego to live with his aunt, Sue Harper and her family. In 1967, he graduated from Hollywood High School and went on to CSU Los Angeles where he was an outstanding gymnast.
In the early 1970s he came to Monterey and was hired by Dr. Gordon Schacher to teach and coach the Monterey Peninsula Gymnastics Club. In 1976 he founded the Monterey Gymnastics Center on Dela Vina Avenue in Monterey with Dr. Schacher, Rick Johnson and Gloria Elber. In the ensuing years, the Center became a dynamic force in the gymnastics world, teaching thousands of Monterey Peninsula young people, and coaching competitive gymnasts to local, state, regional and national championship levels. Hiroshi taught gymnastics classes at the Center and at Monterey Peninsula College, where his evening classes attracted beginning, and intermediate level students, many of whom went on to train and compete at the Center. Years later many of these early students returned to Monterey Peninsula Gymnastics Center to have their own children and grandchildren be coached by Hiroshi.
Hiroshi also was a force in the world of gymnastics competition throughout the Western United States. He was State Chair of the Northern California Boys Gymnastics Association and USA Gymnastics Region 1 Chairman. His expertise in coaching and distinctive quiet and calm demeanor were well recognized throughout the sport. Over the years, Monterey Gymnastics Center was a favorite spot for both national and international level gymnasts and Olympic athletes to visit and workout with Hiroshi.
After over 30 years at the Monterey location, Hiroshi moved the Center to its present location in Sand City. Along with Head Coach and Program Director, Jessica Rodriguez, the new center grew and continued its long legacy of excellence and commitment to Monterey Peninsula youth. It is now the oldest privately owned gymnastics center in the United States.
Hiroshi is survived by his parents, Yasushi and Toshiko Fujimoto; his sister, Yuki (Ararata) Kamochi; nephew, Ken and niece, Lisa, all of Tokyo; his beloved aunt, Sue Ruddy (Jim) of Palm Springs and his cousins (far more like brothers), Michael (Daria) Harper of Valencia and their children, Shane and Christen; Mark Harper (Chieko) and children, Erika, Ellena and Emma of Denver, Colorado; Scott Harper of Los Angeles; his longtime friends, Rick and Chris Johnson and their sons, Tyler and Oliver of Monterey; and Jessica Rodriquez and Edgar Marin and their young son, Maddox, who called him "Papa."
Hiroshi is also survived by the many gymnasts and their families, whose lives were forever changed by his goodness, quiet strength and commitment to others.