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Dr. Thomas Toshio Yamashita August 5, 1947 - October 15, 2021

August 5, 1947 – October 15, 2021

Dr. Thomas Toshio Yamashita passed away on Friday, October 15th, 2021 at the age of 74.

Thomas was born in August of 1947 in Clarksburg, California. He grew up on his family’s strawberry farm and later moved with his family to Atwater where they started a peach and almond farm. He attended Livingston High School where he was an active member of the FFA, captain of his Basketball team and also excelled in baseball.

His passion for knowledge and agriculture led him to attending UC Davis where he earned his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology. Later he became a professor at CSU Fresno and also played baseball on the college team.

He married Kathleen Horton in April of 1983 and together they had one child, Tim.

In 1995 Dr. Tom opened Sunburst Plant Disease Clinic in Turlock, California. After developing a variety of products to help farmers he opened Fusion 360 in 1998. Dr. Tom’s passion for agriculture lead him to help many students, farmers all over the world, and people in his community.

His family, friends, colleagues, students, and all his loved ones who were fortunate enough to have known him, knew him as an intelligent, kind, humorous, and generous person.

In memory of Dr. Thomas Yamashita (more affectionately known as “Doc Tom”), help share his passion for knowledge, agriculture, and the advancement of plant pathology. 

Please consider donating to the following to continue his dream to feed and clothe a growing population:

University of California Davis Plant Pathology Student Support HTTPS://GIVE.UCDAVIS.EDU/APPA/PLPSTDG 

University of California Davis Plant Pathology General Support HTTPS://GIVE.UCDAVIS.EDU/APPA/2200298

A Celebration of Dr. Yamashita’s life will be held at 4pm on Friday, November 5th at Allen Mortuary, 247 N. Broadway in Turlock.

Those who wish to view Dr. Yamashita’s service may do so by clicking the following link: HTTPS://WWW.VIEWLOGIES.NET/ALLEN/RIXTSQPWN and entering the pin: 070-194

If you would like to post a message to your loved-one's family, please register/login here and post your message below.


  1. Nakisha smith says

    You are definitely dancing in the sky dr I will never forget you !! May you rest in paradise!!!!

  2. Nikki Zapien says

    I was a caregiver for Doc Tom or as I always called him “Doc.” I always looked forward to my shifts, Doc was more than a client to me he was my friend, probably one of the best very friends I’ve ever had in my life. He was so caring and he always made me laugh. I’ll always remember our breakfasts together, he loved oatmeal with fruit and coconut oil, and now that’s the only way I’ll eat my oatmeal. He taught me so much while I was caring for him. I learned about nutrition and how to eat when I or my family weren’t feeling well. He would make me a list of vitamins and foods to buy so I could feel better. He was such a selfless and giving person. I’ll never forget the time he invited me and my family to a Christmas program at the Gallo Center for the Arts, that will live in our memories forever Everywhere I took Doc, people always loved him. I enjoyed just sitting and watching movies with him. He was a blessing to me. I thank GOD I got to be a part of his life for a time and I will never forget him. He will always be in my heart and memories and he will forever be my best friend, I can’t wait to see him again someday.

  3. Jeannie Crawford says

    Our family sends condolences to Docs family and friends. It was an honor to meet Doc and to be his in home caretaker for awhile. He was a friend and the kindest man I’ve ever met. I treasure the chats we used to have on the days I spent with him. His sense of humor and compassion for all living things, especially tress are memories I will always remember. The world has lost a true angel, and I’m sure he will be missed by so many. I was sad I didn’t get to see him before we moved to South Carolina, but in packing our families things I remembered to carry with me the memories of my visits with Doc. Heather and I always share a laugh when we think of him.
    Thank you Doc, for all the wonderful stories and for your kindness.

  4. Chris Valdez says

    Today I learned of Tom’s passing from my cousin Ernie who lives in Merced. We both had the privilege of playing on the basketball team who defeated Los Banos
    who was the powerhouse for years.
    Tom’s tenacity on defense was one of the reasons we came away with the most spectacular win of our high school basketball team’s experience.
    His excelling in his field of study comes as no surprise.
    Rest in peace old friend.

  5. Laura Reis says

    Doc Tom had a heart of gold. He will be missed by many. May he rest in peace and my condolences to the family.

  6. byron kurosaki says

    Doc was a man ahead of the times on soil microbial technology i remember going to his seminars and trying to understand his data he was talking over the heads of most of us there
    his knowledge and wisdom will be missed
    i remember he enjoyed being out in the field and meeting with growers and having discussion’s with them asking questions about there issues and diagnosing them he missed being out in the field a lot May you rest in piece
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family

  7. Ed Foster says

    Dr. Tom opened my eyes to a new way of approaching agricultural challenges. His 360 approach to figuring out the root causes of the crops problems. and not just reacting to a problem after it showed up in the field. His approach to agriculture was new and refreshing that made my work more rewarding and enjoyable.
    He was ahead of his time and we are indebted to him for teaching us to think outside of the box. His extensive knowledge of all the facets of agriculture was the reason his insights were so helpful in solving Grower’s problems.
    I will always remember the time we spent together in the field and the wisdom of his insights of both agriculture and life.

  8. Jim Pingrey says

    Doc Tom was a man of great integrity and had great respect for what Mother Nature has given us. He was a teacher of such, he put me on the right track on how I should observe and practice as a crop consultant. He was a wealth of knowledge, well ahead of his time. I owe a lot to Doc Tom for educating and guiding me with a soft hand on how plant nutrition should be implemented. As I grow as a consultant I constantly look back at his teachings I realize how fortunate I was to have known such a great man. His influence on my life will always be with me and I’m sure his legacy has influenced many others. He will be missed in person but his spirit will always be with us.

  9. Melissa Abreu says

    Dr. Tom was an amazing man. To say he impacted my life is an understatement. I have learned not only about agriculture from him but the ways of life, generosity, kindness, hard work, and so much more. Simply put, I would not be the person I am today if I was not blessed to meet Dr. Tom some 17 years ago.

    Doc, your legacy lives on in our hearts and what we will continue to do each day here at Fusion. We will miss your sense of humor, your laugh and your infectious smile. Rest now, you deserve it.

  10. Shirley Leister says

    I had the great opportunity and pleasure to work with Doc for a few years as his Research Assistant, Dr Tom ,truly an extraordinary legend and human being!
    It was an honor to be able to work with you!

  11. Juan Armendariz says

    To a most dear friend & brilliant scientist of the highest caliber. I shall carry his teachings & treasure his friendship always.
    I will always be grateful to our Lord & his Family for sharing Doc with us.

  12. Christopher Freeberg says

    What a privilege to have met and befriended this grand gentleman- since 1995 in my case- and as I look back one can see how God has gifted us with Dr Tom / his quiet manner belied his passion and his focus to heal the damaged soils & ills of plants/ trees and provide an abundance of produce to feed the whole world; thereby uniting all peoples in serving one another out of love of neighbor. May God Bless him richly.

  13. Hector A. Rochin says

    Dr. Tom is one of the best person I meet in my life.
    Always in my memories.

  14. Aimee Guthrie says

    To say Doc was an amazing person is really an understatement. He was a genius, a agriculturalist, a leader and a true friend. He cared about so many people in the truest way. I learned so much from him and will miss him dearly. Fusion will always have Doc’s vision at heart.

    As a group we did so many things with Doc- company trips and celebrations. In my early days I even got to travel with Doc to visit growers and distributors. He always took great joy in sharing his knowledge and helping growers achieve more than they thought possible. This was Doc’s greatest gift. His love and respect for agriculture. He wanted to help feed and clothe the world.

    Although Doc worked virtually night and day he did make time for fun. My best and most cherished time with him was playing tennis on Sundays. He was awesome at any sport he played. We had so much fun just rallying. He never gave me a break- every Sunday come rain or shine we were out on the court. It was our peace and our US Open so to speak.

    Doc will always have a special place in my heart and that of my Husband’s. He gave so much of himself and without him our lives would not have been the same. We were truly blessed to have know him.

    May he Rest In Peace.

  15. Kathleen Horton says

    Thank you Doc Tom for bringing new and safe , chemical free technologies to all of agriculture. It was fun. May you be at peace catching big salmon in heaven with your dog Bear beside you. You are truly missed.

  16. Susan Sallee says

    Not only was he a great leader in agriculture but also a wonderful man. He taught me a lot over the years. I enjoyed working with him at Sunburst. He was a great friend and will be greatly missed.

  17. Robert Hodges says

    Such a great person! My family and I will never forget doc Tom. He will be missed!

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