The local youth basketball community has lost a tireless servant with the sudden passing of Tigers Youth Club Boys Athletic Director Tom Kawada.
A native of Illinois and a resident of Gardena, Kawada died unexpectedly on Oct. 26 at the age of 59.
Kawada first became involved with Tigers in 1998, when his son, Kenny, began playing in the organization. In 2002, he took on the post of parent representative of the Phantom Tigers, a position he held for a decade.
In 2005, his daughter Kaylin joined the Flying Tigers.
Kawada took on the duties of the Tigers’ boys athletic director in 2004, and represented the group in the Community Youth Council. His responsibilities included coordinating the CYC gyms on a weekly basis, the ordering of participation and award trophies for the PW1 through MB4 divisions, and assisting with the preparation of the CYC awards jamboree program booklet and awards jamboree.
In 2007 and 2008, Kawada served as head commissioner and also assisted incoming commissioners.
“It’s a big loss for all of us,” said Tigers Girls’ Athletic Director Kaz Kayoda. “He really gave a lot of his time to the organization, as well representing us to CYC.”
In 2011, Kawada was honored for his work with the Shig Kohashi/Kenji Taniguchi Award, given to an adult who has made outstanding contributions to local youth basketball. It was presented during the CYC’s annual Jamboree.
Kawada is survived by his wife, Nancy Kawada; children, Kenneth, Kaylin and Sharlene Kawada, and Shannon (Aaron) Belcher; grandchildren, Keimi Kawada-Santiago, Jacob and Emiko Belcher; and sister, Arlene Ikemoto. He is also survived by nieces, nephews and other relatives.
Funeral services were scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7, at Evergreen Baptist Church San Gabriel Valley in La Puente.