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Yohosha Costello

Yohosha Costello at Hilltop House Retirement Community

Yohosha Costello, known to us as Yoshi, refers to himself as a card, a fool on purpose, one who tries to joke with people and does not always succeed. He also claims to have the ability to get one's goat easily. So, watch out!

He was born in Spokane, the oldest child in his family. He has a brother four years younger and a sister 12 years younger. Their father was employed by the SSI, forerunner of the CSI, in other words, he was a spy. He took secret trips and one in particular, Yoshi remembers when he was an Irish neutral, although really a U.S. citizen, to Greece when it was under Hitler before the U.S. entered the war. Yoshi never knew the reason for these trips, but he found out when he joined the military. He received a very quick clearance because his family had been under surveillance all of Yoshi's life.

His family moved to Wenatchee and then back to Spokane when Yoshi finished second grade which he had to repeat because he missed a lot of school while he was sick. He attended Spokane schools from third grade until he was a junior in high school. At that point, the family moved to Kellogg, Idaho where he attended his senior year of school and then matriculated at the University of Idaho where he majored in liberal arts with an emphasis on art. He received a full scholarship from his church because he was being groomed for the seminary. He became angry with the bishop and quit school, losing his scholarship.

The U. S. Air Force became the recipient of his services and he was employed by them for 11-1/2 years. He was on duty in Korea, Viet Nam, the Indian subcontinent and he saw most of Southeast Asia. His final assignment was Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix. After he terminated, he became a motorized patrol policeman in Glendale, Arizona.

While he was in Korea, he did not spend all of his time being a service man and there he met a wife. They had a son and when it came time to leave, she decided not to leave her home and they were divorced. Yoshi is still in contact with that son.

In 1963, he married a Japanese woman and they had three children, a son and two daughters. After they came to the states, he did odd jobs, cooking, owned a cleaning business and they moved around a lot. Those locations were Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Hillsborough, Oregon and to Walla Walla, Washington. It was there that he walked out on his family in 1979.

Yoshi's path led to Houston, Texas and it was there in 1981 that he became sober. A Salvation Army major asked him when he was going to stop running. He started attending A.A. and the Salvation Army treatment. In 1982, he started as a peer counselor in Drug and Alcohol Treatment. Sober and now a full-fledged counselor, he worked in Phoenix, Houston and then to Seattle where he was employed by Union Gospel Mission.

While he was working for them, he connected with his two daughters in Walla Walla. His wife (they were never divorced) had just moved there and lived with their eldest daughter. His daughters and their families took his wife and him out for a Spanish dinner. They arranged it so that Yoshi and Toyoko had a table to themselves. They started talking and the youngest daughter transported the rest of the family home. When she returned, her parents were closing down the restaurant and when they went back to the older daughter's home, the wife moved Yoshi's things into her room and they remained together until her death from a heart attack three years later.

He continued working for Union Gospel Mission and lived at the Union Gospel Lighthouse Apartments until it burned down a few months ago. That is when we were lucky that he decided to make Hilltop House a home for him and his books.

Yoshi's spiritual life has been as peripatetic as his physical life. He moved from Buddhism (Japan) in the 1960's to a Wicca in 1974 and then became an ordained evangelical minister. He studied Sikhism, Islam and Muslims and Animism. Now, he is "just a Jew."

His grandfather was a Messianic Rabbi. He studied in Germany and when he returned, he could not find a Messianic synagogue, so he sold Willies and horseless carriages and taught Hebrew at a German Lutheran Seminary. When Yoshi was born, his grandfather made sure that he was circumcised and received a Jewish name, Yohosha which means Joshua. He lived with his grandfather a couple of years and remembers that his grandfather always read the Bible at dinner - a Jewish trait. Yoshi did not understand the teachings then, but now he does.

Three years ago, he started practicing Judaism. He had always had it hidden from him because his father hated the religion. Yoshi found First Fruits of Zion, a publishing group, and became involved in weekly Torah study. His grandfather's teachings came back and he started understanding. He attends Biet Haushofer Synagogue in Tukwila. He has been shown that no matter how much he thinks he knows, he knows nothing. It sounds like Yoshi has come home spiritually and is grateful.

His parting comment was that although 1981 was his sobriety date, today is the day he has to worry about.

We are so happy you found your way to us, Yoshi, and appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness.


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