Competitive Runner Sam Hirabayashi Dies at 84


MILL VALLEY — Sam Hirabayashi, a long-time participant in Marin County’s century-old Dipsea Race, died on June 24 after a valiant fight against cancer. He was 84.

Born in Kent, Wash., on May 24, 1927, Hirabayashi was a Nisei interned with his family during World War II. He graduated from the University of Minnesota and was employed by the state Department of Labor. He married Betty Yahanda, with whom he had two sons, Carl and John.

After moving to Washington, D.C. to work for the U.S. Department of Labor for many years, he moved to San Francisco in 1983 to become regional commissioner for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The family lived in Marin County, where his wife died in 1999.

Hirabayashi became a notable competitive runner, winning many age-group titles; he finished the Boston Marathon at the age of 80. In 2008, he married Eve Pell, a member of the Dipsea Race Hall of Fame, and continued to run even after his cancer diagnosis.

He is survived by his sons; his four grandchildren, Ashley, Joseph, Jack and Michael; and his wife, Eve. In lieu of flowers, donations in Sam’s memory may be sent to Hospice by the Bay, 17 E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Larkspur, CA 94939.

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