Rinks Atsushi Sano was born on Bacon Island in the Sacramento Delta to Suyehichi and Tsute Sano. He passed away on Friday afternoon at Mercy Medical Center in Merced. His father moved his family to Yerington, Nevada when Rinks was a toddler to work as a sharecropper. After living in Nevada for a few years, the family moved to Livingston to work in farming for the Kishi family. Rinks graduated from Livingston High School in 1940. In 1942, Executive Order 9066 forced Rinks and his family first to the Merced Assembly Center at the Merced Fairgrounds, and then on to a relocation camp at Amache, Colorado. In September of 1942 Rinks and his two brothers were allowed out on a work furlough to harvest sugar beets. After the harvest was completed, Rinks went to Detroit to work. He eventually found a job at the City of Detroit in the street car division. After the war ended, his family returned to Livingston to farm. He began farming on his own on 20 acres of rented land in Le Grand where he grew tomatoes and cotton. He married Helen Yamano in 1951 and they would move to the first 10 acres of his own property in Le Grand. He and his brother Tsugio began farming together on property they purchased in Le Grand and Merced. In the early 1970’s, Rinks moved his farming operations to Firebaugh. He was extremely proud of the diversified farming operation he developed and nurtured there. Rinks remained active, still visiting the Firebaugh ranch often and playing poker at the Turlock Poker Room until the week before his hospitalization. He was a member of the Livingston United Methodist Church.
Rinks was preceded in death by his wife, Helen in 2007. He is survived by four children: Julie Sano Burke of Turlock, Robert (Alice) Sano of Fresno, Alan Sano of Merced, and Laurie (Ray Muscat) Sano of Walnut Creek. He leaves three grandchildren, Maci Burke of Turlock and Ellen and Ryan Sano of Fresno, and his siblings Shink Sano of Livonia, Michigan, Tsugio Sano of Le Grand, and Marilyn Holman of Snelling. He also leaves his caregiver Jennett Foss and her husband, Eric and their children, Madison, Emily, and Jacob of Merced.
Services will be held at Turlock Funeral Home, 425 N. Soderquist Rd., on Saturday, January 31st at 11:00 a.m. Interment at Turlock Memorial Park will be private.
To honor Rinks, a scholarship fund for students entering college to study Agriculture has been established. Donations may be made to the Livingston United Methodist Church, 11695 Olive Avenue, Livingston, CA 95334. Please indicate your donation is for the Rinks Sano Scholarship Fund.