BOISE, Idaho — State Rep. Pat Takasugi, a second-term Republican from Wilder, died on Nov. 6 at a Boise hospital after a three-year battle with cancer.
Born in Brigham City, Utah, in 1949, Takasugi attended first through eighth grade at Wilder Holmes Elementary School and Wilder Holmes Junior High School. Following graduation from Vallivue High School, he attended and graduated from the College of Idaho, where he received a degree in political science. He also had post-graduate credits from the University of Idaho and Boise State University.
Upon graduation, he volunteered for the U.S. Army, where he served five years of active duty and another five years of reserve service. He achieved the rank of captain and qualified for Airborne wings, the Ranger tab, and the Special Forces Green Beret.
After his military service, he returned to Wilder, where he began farming on 32 acres. After 33 years, he farmed in excess of 1,500 acres near Wilder and Homedale. He was also a partner in an onion packing shed, Snake River Produce.
Throughout his career, Takasugi has combined full-time farming with work on behalf of diverse community, state and national organizations. His most noticeable role was as the secretary/director of agriculture for the State of Idaho for over 10 years, 1996 to 2006. Serving three governors, Phil Batt, Dirk Kempthorne and Jim Risch, he was also involved with Idaho’s award winning noxious weed program, the Idaho Preferred marketing program, the Idaho Smoke Management Program, the Idaho invasive species program and several other programs while at the State Department of Agriculture.
In November 2008, he was elected to the State Legislature, representing District 10. He was re-elected in 2010.
Takasugi was active in a number of organizations, including the Food Producers of Idaho, the Canyon County Farm Bureau, the Canyon County Deputy Sherriff Patrol Reserve, the school board, Boy Scout Troop 277, MADD, the Idaho-Oregon Fruit and Vegetable Association, Leadership Idaho Agriculture, and the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce.
Throughout his career, he always strived to improve organizational process and also to solve a myriad of problems through research, teamwork, and hard work.
In the spring of 2008, Takasugi was diagnosed with a rare appendiceal cancer and began to undergo surgery and chemotherapy. He missed the last legislative session due to his illness. He passed away surrounded by loved ones.
Takasugi is survived by his wife, Suzanne; their children, Taylor, 17, Cole, 16, and Paige, 13; his parents, Michio and Ayako Takasugi; his younger sister, Colleen Iwano; brothers-in-law, Andy Iwano and Alan Backes; nephew, David Iwano; sisters-in-law, Laurie Backes and Kathy Backes.
Funeral Mass was celebrated on Nov. 11 at Our Lady of the Valley Church. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family in his online tribute at www.dakanfuneralchapel.com.