Janice M. LaMoree recently passed away at her home in Oregon at peace after a series of health challenges during the last year. She was 96.
She was the daughter of civil rights attorney J. Marion Wright, who joined forces with Issei civil rights leader Sei Fujii to overturn the California Alien Land Law in 1952. Wright was an active advocate for the Japanese American community from 1911 until his death in 1970. LaMoree was his biggest fan, and he was her biggest role model.
LaMoree continued to share Wright’s legacy by writing a book and by helping promote the little documented history of the Los Angeles Japanese Hospital, which was built in 1929 as a result of a major U.S. Supreme Court case win spearheaded by her father, his law partner Fujii, and five Issei doctors.
LaMoree spoke at the Japanese American National Museum in April 2010 on her experience as a 9-year-old girl going to the U.S. Supreme Court with her father.
She was a friend and supporter of the Little Tokyo Historical Society and an ally to the Japanese American community. The friendship between Fujii and Wright is shown in the dramatic short “Lil Tokyo Reporter,” sponsored by LTHS.
“She was a grandmother of five grandsons, several of whom pursued careers in law, and proud great-grandmother of two,” stated LTHS founder Bill Watanabe. “She will be greatly missed and always remembered for her warm and positive personality, and was a gift to all who knew her.”
LaMoree grew up in Glendale with her parents and her sister Virginia. She attended Glendale High School and graduated from Occidental College in 1940. In 1942, she married George LaMoree, a captain in the U.S. Army. Following his military duty, they built a home in Los Angeles, where they raised their two daughters, Alice and Donna. They moved to Oregon in 2006.
She was very active in her community as a longtime member of Wilshire Presbyterian Church and later Silver Lake Presbyterian Church. She was a member of Chapter DJ PEO in Glendale for over 60 years, a volunteer at the Shriners’ Children’s Hospital, a Girl Scout leader, and a participating member of the Southern California Historical Society.
LaMoree welcomed the computer age and enjoyed new friendships in her retirement community in Oregon, where she was an enthusiastic bridge player. In addition to her immediate family, she leaves many friends and relatives throughout the country.