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An American Hero Celebrates 100th Birthday

Friends, family mark 100th birthday of a Florin hero

Published Monday, Jul. 25, 2011

More than 150 relatives, friends and neighbors filled Florin Community Center on Sunday to celebrate a true American war hero.

Bob Fletcher – who officially turns 100 on Tuesday – didn’t see combat in World War II. But he was shot at for being a Japanese sympathizer when he quit his job to save three local Japanese American farms whose owners were sent to internment camps.

Most of Sacramento’s 3,000 Japanese Americans who were shipped off to barbed-wire camps from 1942 to 1945 lost everything – even though most were U.S. citizens. Their farms and homes were stolen or foreclosed on by the banks.

But Fletcher, a UC Davis-trained agricultural inspector, knew many Japanese farmers throughout Northern California and hated to see their hard work and life savings disappear.

“They were the same as everybody else – it was obvious they had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor,” Fletcher said.

At his neighbors’ request, he agreed to work three farms – 90 acres of flame Tokay grapes on Florin-Perkins Road – while the Tsukamotos, Okamotos and Nittas were locked up.

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