SCREA Board President Kiyoshi Adachi Passes Away at 89

“A Final Visit”

By Mike DeBord

Kiyoshi conducted the SCREA Board of Directors meeting on May 2, 2016 in his typical friendly manner.  At the end of the meeting he commented about feeling exhausted over the last couple of weeks.  Three days later, he went to the doctor and was then taken to the hospital in an ambulance.  He died on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at the hospital around 5:30 p.m.

While at the hospital, Kiyoshi received medical reports about his condition and he made the decision to stop the intravenous medications.  He said he wanted no flowers, no candy, and no visits; he wanted his friends to remember him as he was prior to becoming ill.  Those restrictions were hard for all of us who loved and admired him as we wanted to do something to demonstrate how we felt.

I talked to him by phone a couple of times and on Friday, May 13th I said that I would really like to visit him, even if it was just to sit with him.  He said “Let’s do it” and told me to set it up with his niece Tracy.   I was at his room around 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and Kiyoshi was in good spirits and as always, he has a way of making people feel comfortable and welcome.  I had the opportunity, and used it, to let him know that I was there on behalf of all of the County retirees and SCREA Board Members to tell him how much we all loved him.  In typical Kiyoshi style, he returned those comments by saying how much he loved all of the retirees and that they were really good people.  (You always got more back from Kiyoshi than you gave.)

The nurses and his doctor were coming and going throughout the visit and Kiyoshi took the opportunity to introduce me to each of them and complimented them on the good care they were providing him.  At one point when I tried to step out of the room while they were doing their jobs, he asked me to stay with him which of course I did.

We talked over the next hour or so about many things, and I was trying not to let him say too much as his breathing was difficult.  He was open about dying and death, and we had a good conversation about it.  He was grateful that he was going to be able to die at the hospital without being moved to another place.

Kiyoshi had a visit with his brother the day before and another family member was planning to visit in early afternoon after my visit.  My time with Kiyoshi had gone by so quickly.  Before leaving, I told his primary nurse about Kiyoshi and how all the County retirees admired him as our long-term Association President, now at age 89.  She said that her parents had worked for Sacramento County and I asked her who they were.  Kiyoshi and I both knew her parents and the conversation then moved from patient/caretaker to a more personal level that we all enjoyed.  It was such a good way to end the visit and I said that we really have a great County family.  Kiyoshi had given me a couple of messages to communicate to his friends and he said he would write some more and give them to me on our next visit.  He then took my hand as we said goodbye he told me to tell my wife Kathie (who had also wanted to be there) how much he loved her too.

A few hours later, Kiyoshi’s niece Tracy called and said that Kiyoshi had passed away.  She said he talked about how much he enjoyed the visit and about the County connection to his nurse.  Tracy said that at the end, Kiyoshi told her that he was “ready to go” and then he died.

Sharing this story is important because even at the very end of his long life, Kiyoshi was exactly the same caring and wonderful person that we all got to know and love.

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