Takeshi Watanabe, known as Terry, who worked at our TWF San Francisco location was killed at work on Monday, October 17, while trying to stop a thief stealing wooden pallets from the back of the facility. The thief ran over Terry with his pickup truck as Terry tried to stop him from stealing the pallets.
Terry was 54 years old and is survived by his wife Kimie, and three sons; Masazmi 22, Toshiki 20 and Kent 18, as well as his 86-year-old father who lives in Japan.
Terry, born in Japan, was in the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force where he served as an aircraft mechanic. After completing his military service, Terry joined the Unification Church in Nagoya in 1984, and worked as a missionary in Japan until he immigrated to the United States in 1985. Terry continued his missionary work in the United States in New York City, Atlanta, Georgia, and Mississippi in a wholesale fish company, Master Marine.
Terry then went back to New York to work in construction at The New Yorker and New Hope Farms. Terry then moved to Las Vegas to work at a Japanese restaurant after which he moved to Los Angeles where he continued his work with Master Marine and then joined True World Foods. In 1997, Terry transferred to San Francisco and continued his work with True World Foods, where he most recently held the position of Dispatch Assistant and Production and warehouse manager.
Terry was a strong willed man who gave 110 percent toward everything he did, and never resisted to working hard. Terry was very loyal to TWF and was always there to step up and take on responsibility.
Terry was a family man who loved going on outdoor hikes with his wife and three children. He was active in his church community and was a boy scout leader. He would joyfully share his knowledge about the beautiful local hiking trails, flowers, and birds. Terry seriously planned great hiking trips, and he and Kimie would regularly visit hiking areas to pre-plan the best trails and parks that were suitable for families and children of all ages. His love of nature inspired and encouraged others to hike, experience, and appreciate the beauty the Bay Area has to offer.
He would regularly organize church outings and boy scout events.
Terry was a good hearted strong will man who cared about people and will be remembered as a good man.
Mr. Yoshida, Robert Bleu have flown to San Leandro to pay their respects to the family. TWF is working with Mrs. Watanabe to assure that she has easy access to all benefits and insurance available, and TWG has offered to assist where needed.
A fund has also been set up to support the family. Below is a link if you would like to donate to help support Terry's family through this difficult time.
True World Foods, LLC, has confirmed that the individual who died following a hit-and-run incident at their San Leandro, CA, distribution center on Monday, October 17, 2016, was a True World Foods employee. Takeshi Watanabe, age 54, was a warehouse and distribution laborer hired by True World Foods in Los Angeles in the early 1990's and then moved to San Leandro, CA in 1997. According to witnesses on the scene and surveillance video, Watanabe was killed when he tried to stop the driver of a pick-up truck from stealing wood pallets.
"We grieve with his widow and three sons. Personally, I am tremendously moved by Takeshi's desire to stop what he saw as a violation of the company," said Robert Bleu, president of True World Group. "I respect his courage, yet deeply regret that it cost him his life."
The incident is being treated as a homicide by the San Leandro police department. True World Foods is cooperating with the investigation. Surveillance video and eyewitness cooperation have already helped police secure an arrest.
Representatives from True World Foods met with Watanabe's family after the incident. To protect their privacy, True World Foods agreed to delay confirming his identity until his circle of extended family and friends could be notified.
"This is a tragic loss. Takeshi was a valuable part of our team. He was best known for being a truly good-hearted person. He cared about his co-workers and they cared about him," said Sebastian Doroski, True World Foods HR operations manager. "Outside of work, he volunteered in the community and was active in youth programs. He will be missed by many."
True World Foods employees who want to talk with a grief or trauma counselor have been encouraged to utilize the company's employee assistance program.
"Our hearts are heavy today. Our condolences are with his family and, of course, and with all those who knew him and cared about him," Doroski said.