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12-31-08 - Shunryu Suzuki student Fred Stoeber has died. I talked to his partner Miyo today and came up with the following. - dc

Fred came to the Zen Center, to Sokoji on Bush Street in 1965. He was at the first practice period at Tassajara in 1967. In 1968 he went to Japan at the same time as fellow Suzuki student Carl Bielefeldt and they both studied Japanese at Waseda University in Tokyo. Fred was living with a Japanese family and became close friends with their daughter, Miyo Harumi, when she returned from the United States. Fred studied with Uchiyama Roshi at Antaiji in Kyoto. There he also became close friends with Uchiyama's right hand man, Tom Wright. In 1970 he returned to the Bay Area and built a cabin in Annapolis, a small settlement on the coast north of San Francisco in Sonoma County. There he taught Head Start. Miyo came to San Francisco in 1972 for a couple of years and their friendship continued. She says he missed being in a practice community. In 1988 Fred went to Hawaii to be with Miyo. They had an ice cream business in Hilo. He was involved for years there on the Big Island with Aitken Roshi in Kaimu. For many years he was host and ran the floor of Miyo's Restaurant in Hilo. Miyo says Fred was the anchor of the dining room and created a homey atmosphere. She also says Fred was a peace activist and sat with a Zen group every Friday in front of Federal Building to protest the war in Iraq. Miyo says that  Fred died three months after his thyroid cancer was detected.

A year ago Peggy Denial sat next to Fred at the Hilo Zen Circle during morning zazen. She told him about the Early Tassajara Alumni Reunion which he hadn't heard of. Soon he and I were on the phone. Here is a note he sent me, DC, when I contacted him. This story I posted in the Brief Memories section.  Here I include his opening and closing personal comments.


Really enjoyed talking with you, a voice from the past.  Please say "Hi" to Susan for me [that's my sister].  Here is an anecdote about Suzuki Roshi:

    We were sitting at the old Sokoji on Bush street one morning (1966 or 67), and I was thinking about having a private interview with Roshi to ask him a question.  I really didn't have a pressing question, but  thought I should, so I sort of made one up.
    As I sat before him, I came up with my question sounding as sincere as I could (I don't remember at all what it was).  He sat quietly for a while, then turned and took a stack of envelopes from his table, handed them to me, and said "Would you mail these for me?"

    Thanks for contacting me David.  I won't be there in San Francisco, but my thoughts will be with you.

Much Love,         Fred


Obituary from the Hawaii Tribune Herald
Published: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 11:43 AM HST -

Frederick V. Stoeber, 68, of Hilo died Dec. 19 at Hilo Medical Center. Born in Greenville, Pa., he worked as a waiter at Miyo's Restaurant in Hilo, had been a Head Start teacher in Hilo, was co-owner of Hilo Homemade Ice Cream, a Navy Veteran and member of the Taishoji Temple and the Hilo Zen Circle. Private services held. Survived by partner, Miyo Harumi; brother, J. Bernhard (Sharon) Stoeber, of North Carolina; sisters, Nancy (Edward) Murphy of New York, Joan Kline of Vermont; nieces and nephews. Arrangements by Borthwick Hawaii Funeral Home.


Thanks to Peggy Denial for letting us know about Fred's passing.

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