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Rich in Heritage

Honeyville man proud of his roots

Ellen Cook

Leader Editor

Editor’s note:  Everyone has a story to tell.  The Leader wants to tell those stories through this monthly feature titled “Bios of Bear River.”  Each month we will feature a Valley resident chosen randomly from the phone book.  We hope you enjoy reading about your friends and neighbors – and be ready, yours might be the next number we call.

Richie Aoki will be the first to admit he is a product of his heritage.  Although he would be considered an All-American guy by most standards, this Honeyville man is also firmly rooted in his Japanese culture, bound by the Buddhist religion he readily embraces and tied to ancestors who left their native country to make a better life in America.

Born and raised in the community where he still resides and farms 300 acres of hay and grain, Richie is a staunch believer in long hours of hard work and dedication to the land.  He comes by those traits naturally.

Richie proudly bears the names of his grandfather, Riichi Aoki, who left Japan as a teenager in 1904, and originally settled in San Francsico.  In 1907, however, he joined a group of fellow Japanese who were headed to Wyoming to work in the coalmines.  Partway into their journey they were told the mines had nothing for them, but Utah had fertile ground just ready for the plow.

The group changed their destination and found a home – and work – in Honeyville.  Riichi lived with a host family for a time and worked for area farmers until he was able to purchase his own plot of ground in 1913, the very farm Richie now runs.  It will note 100 years of operation in 2013, a fact Richie is proud to share.

For more on this story pick up a copy of this week’s Leader.

Leader/Ellen Cook

Richie Aoki poses with his parents, Hub and Kiyo Aoki, at their home in Honeyville.  Richie is proud of his Japanese heritage and the Buddhist religion he embraces.


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