Obituary of Dr. Paul K. Morimoto , M.D.
Paul Kiyoshi Morimoto, M.D. passed away peacefully on May 1, 2017 with his family at his side.
On July 7, 1930 Senjiro and Florence Morimoto gave birth to their only child, Paul Kiyoshi, in Centralia, Washington. There he spent a typical happy childhood enjoying the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. After World War II broke out, Paul and his parents were evacuated to internment camps with tens of thousands of Japanese Americans living on the West Coast. The internment camps were either hastily constructed temporary structures with plywood walls, dirt floors, and tarpaper roofs or were vacant horse stables. There were 10 camps scattered throughout the barren windswept deserts of the West. Paul spent his adolescence from age 11 to 15 years at Camp Tule Lake, a misnomer, since this was located in the California desert; Camp Minidoka in Idaho; and lastly at Rohwer Camp in Arkansas. Paul learned that life has no guarantees and that circumstances may change at a minute's notice. He developed his calm resilience and ability to persevere under the harshest of conditions. Paul also learned his work ethic picking strawberries and watermelons in the humid Arkansas heat.
Leaving the last camp at Rohwer, Paul and his family re-located to Chicago, Illinois where he attended Lake View High School. Paul received his undergraduate education, majoring in Chemistry, at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. There he met his wife, Ruth. While working 3 jobs, Paul received his M.D. at the University of Illinois. During this time, his first son, Steve, was born. Paul then completed an Ophthalmology residency at Cook County Hospital and during that time also served as team physician for the Chicago Cubs. Following his residency, the family of 3 moved to Joliet, IL where Paul joined the Ophthalmology practice of Robert W. Lennon in 1960. Shortly thereafter, his second son, David, was born. While starting his practice in Joliet, Paul faithfully and proudly served in the Illinois National Guard Reserve for 7 years.
Paul embarked on a career spanning over 42 years, selflessly serving the greater Joliet community. His style of practice was one of compassion and empathy, all the while delivering the best care to his patients. He would often work until 10-11 PM, until the last patient was seen. During his career he served the community in ways extending beyond medicine. He was a member of the Rotary Club and instituted a Diabetes screening program to detect an often silent disease. Paul was a member of numerous professional societies and never missed furthering his education at the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Chicago Ophthalmological Society meetings during his entire career. Paul provided care at both Presence St. Joseph Medical Center and Silver Cross Hospital. While on staff at St. Joe's, he served as President of the Medical Staff and donated his honorarium to the hospital so that an operating microscope could be purchased.
Paul was an avid runner since the 1960's, even preceding the fitness craze. He competed in several Chicago Triathlons, finishing 1st or 2nd in his age group of 70 and older. He traveled the world, including the pyramids of Egypt and thesavannah of Africa, with Ruth at his side. Paul was a devoted husband to Ruth, father to Steve (Irene) and David (Celeste), and grandfather to Stephanie (Matthew King), Paul, Max, Emily and Sarah. He will be forever remembered and missed dearly.
A Memorial Gathering for Paul Morimoto will be held on Friday, May 5, 2017 from 2:00-7:00 p.m. at the Fred C. Dames Funeral Home, 3200 Black at Essington Rds., Joliet. Memorial Service on Saturday May 6, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, 1718 Avalon Ave, Joliet. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorials in his name to Grace United Methodist Church or Joliet Area Community Hospice would be appreciated. For more information, please call 815-741-5500 or visit his Memorial Tribute at www.fredcdames.com