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Reverend Dr. Hiraku Iwai
June 16, 1931 - October 27, 2014
The Rev. Dr. Hiraku Iwai
The Rev. Dr. Hiraku Iwai died peacefully on Monday, October 27, 2014. Hiraku was born on June 16, 1931 in Funabashi Japan to parents Kyozo and Harumi Iwai, who lost her eyesight while giving him birth.
He and Michiru shared ministry in various places both in Japan (Narimatsu, Kamojima) and Canada (Lethbridge, Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton (with regular trips to Chatham and London), Vancouver).
He loved being a minister, and saw himself as a bridge between Japan and Canada. In addition to ministry, he loved singing, bad puns, and not throwing anything away, turning all the lights out, keeping his pockets full and being prepared for “Just in case”.
In retirement Hiraku and Michiru moved to Saskatoon to be close to their daughter. In Saskatoon as well as attending Grace-Westminster United Church and singing in the choir, they began holding weekly prayer meetings which grew to be worship services and birthed the Japanese Saskatoon Mission in Grace-Westminster United Church. He last presided at worship on World Wide Communion Sunday on October 5, 2014. In his retirement Hiraku also worked with students at St. Andrew’s College, and on Saskatoon’s Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day Committee. He wrote a monthly newsletter called Prairie.
In the United Church he worked at all levels, co-chairing the Saskatchewan Conference Ethnic Ministries Committee, serving on planning and worship committees for several General Council meetings. He was the first chair of the Ethnic Ministries Committee under the then Division of World Mission. Along with former Moderator Stan McKay and others, he travelled to Japan with United Church folks when the Mission Study that year was Japan. He supervised former Moderator Sang Chul Lee. He did translation work for the national church. In 2006 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from St. Andrew’s College.
He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Sayuri Kushida, his sisters-in-law Shizuko Iwai and Hiroko Iwai, brother-in-law Kazuaki Takeshita.
He leaves to mourn his passing, his wife, Michiru, his daughter, Nobuko Iwai (Douglas Ponto), 4 brothers Kikuo; Kiyoshi; Ken (Asako); Mitsuru (Sayaka); brother-in-law Setsuo Kushida and many nieces, nephews, members of the Japanese Saskatoon Mission, and United Church Friends.
Visitation will be Thursday, October 30, 2014 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; and on Friday, October 31, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Park Funeral Chapel, 311 Third Avenue North, Saskatoon.
A celebration of his life and ministry will be held at Grace-Westminster United Church, 505 10th Street East, Saskatoon, SK on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. Interment will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Grace-Westminster United Church or the charity of your choice.
To send online condolences, visit www.parkfuneral.ca “Obituaries & Tributes”. Arrangements entrusted to Derryl Hildebrandt, Park Funeral Chapel, 306.244.2013.