From the New Year’s Issue: Those We Lost in 2016

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Following are some of the notable individuals who died during the past year, in alphabetical order.

Victor Abe, 95, MIS veteran, early supporter of Go For Broke National Education Center, and structural engineer of Go For Broke Monument, Nakaoka Center and others landmarks, on April 7.

Muhammad Ali, 74, famed boxer who fought Japan’s Antonio Inoki in mixed martial arts match called The Bout of the Century in 1976 in Tokyo, on June 3.

Tatsuo Asamen, 88, who grew vegetables for 45 years and was the last Imperial Valley Nisei farmer who was descended from a local prewar pioneer family, on July 14.

Brian Asawa, 49, celebrated countertenor and winner of awards from the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, others, on April 18.

Mitsuhiro Bando (Kiyoko Taniguchi), 88, who taught classical Japanese dance in Southern California since 1969 and choreographed Nisei Week dances, on Aug. 2.

Freeman Beale, 68, a dedicated referee for generations of players and coaches for more than 40 years in Asian league basketball, on May 7.

Janet Mitsui Brown, 69, author of “Thanksgiving at Obaachan’s,” former administrator for East West Players, and founder of The Joy of Feng Shui, on Oct. 27.

Chiyonofuji, 61, former yokozuna and 31-time sumo champion, whose real name was Mitsugi Akimoto, on July 31.

Ronald Y. Doizaki, 74, JACCC board member, who bravely fought serious illnesses all his life, on Oct. 21.

Patty Duke, 69, noted actress who appeared in “If Tomorrow Comes,” a 1971 TV movie about the treatment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor, on March 29.

Rokusuke Ei, 83, lyricist for Kyu Sakamoto’s 1961 hit song “Ue o Muite Arukou” (released in the U.S. in 1963 as “Sukiyaki), on July 7.

Jerry Enomoto, 89, veteran civil rights advocate and first Asian American to head state Department of Corrections, on Jan. 17.

Harry Fujiwara, 82, a.k.a. Mr. Fuji, Hall of Fame former wrestling star known for his villainous alter ego and five-time World Tag Team champion with Mr. Saito, on Aug. 28.

Yoshiye Honda, 91, who served as president of Hollywood Buddhist Church and supported her husband Bob in all of his business endeavors in Little Tokyo, on Sept. 12.

Rev. Richard Russell Hoynes, 56, administrator/pastor of St. Francis Xavier Japanese Catholic Center (Maryknoll) and a priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for 27 years, on Aug. 2.

Kazu Ikeda, a gifted watercolor artist who received numerous recognitions for her paintings, on June 5.

Mitsuko “Mitzi” Ikeda, 94, who with her husband Kazuo were honored as Champions for Children in San Luis Obispo County and served as grandmarshals of the Arroyo Grande Harvest Festival, on Feb. 20.

Kentaro Inoue, 47, plant sciences professor at UC Davis, killed in collision with truck while riding bicycle in Sacramento on Aug. 31.

Jay Ishimoto, 48, who taught at Mission Middle School in Jurupa Unified School District, reported missing and found deceased in Barstow on July 30.

Frances Midori Kaji, 88, who was active in community affairs, served on the Gardena Human Relations Commission, was inducted into the Gardena Hall of Fame, and supported her husband Bruce’s projects, including the Japanese American National Museum, on Nov. 26.

George Kitagawa, 100, veteran who took part in the liberation of Dachau and owned and operated Master Automotive in Boyle Heights and Whittier, on Jan. 20.

Ben Tsutomu Koga 95, who opened Ben’s Café in Parlier and operated for it over 40 years with his wife and sister-in-law, on June 30.

Ryo Komae, 98, who owned and operated Gardena Pharmacy for many years and was involved in numerous community activities, on Dec. 19.

Tommy Kono, 85, gold medalist in weightlifting (1952, Helsinki; 1956, Melbourne) and silver medalist (1960, Rome) and head coach of U.S. Olympic weightlifting team, on April 24.

Tazuko Takasago Kusaka, 79, who taught U.S. history and world history at Inglewood High School and taught at Aloha Elementary in Lakewood, on Aug. 2.

Kazuko (Kakishita) Kuwabara, 97, who shared the story of her husband Masaaki, lead defendant in only wartime case in which a judge ruled in favor of Japanese American draft resisters, on June 20.

Janice LaMoree, 96, daughter of civil rights attorney J. Marion Wright, who wrote about her father’s work with Sei Fujii and helped promote the history of the Los Angeles Japanese Hospital.

Dr. Sammy Lee, 96, first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal for the U.S. and first man to win back-to-back gold medals in Olympic platform diving (1948, London; gold, 1952, Helsinki), on Dec. 2.

Lily Yuriko Masuda, 92, who lived and worked on her family farm in Talbert and produce stand from 1948 until farm was sold in 1975, on July 5.

Tsuyako Matsumoto, 94, of Hokkaido, who sent Japanese dolls to President John F. Kennedy in 1962 and decades later received a doll from his daughter, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, on Sept. 29.

Prince Mikasa, 100, uncle of Emperor Akihito, younger brother of Emperor Akihito and the oldest member of Japan’s imperial family, on Oct. 27.

Archie Miyatake, 92, patriarch and proprietor of Toyo Miyatake Studio in Little Tokyo since the passing of his father in 1979, who covered events for The Rafu, volunteered for Nisei Week and supported the preservation of Manzanar, on Dec. 20.

Rev. Keigo Morishita, 93, who served as head minister for 34 years at Tenrikyo Brotherhood Church in Boyle Heights and as a board member of Mission Headquarters in America, on Oct. 30.

Pierre Moulin, 67, author, historian and fixture at U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii, who dedicated his life to telling the story of the Nisei soldiers who liberated his hometown of Bruyeres, France, during World War II, on April 11.

Don Nakanishi, 66, professor emeritus and former director of UCLA Asian American Studies Center, who established Asian American studies as a viable and relevant field of scholarship, on March 21.

Ted Namba, 58, who maintained Gila River Monument, served as liaison with the Gila River Indian Council, and co-chaired of Arizona Matsuri, on July 24.

Shoso Nomura, 97, who served with the MIS, was assigned to China on the “Dixie Mission” to interrogate Japanese POWs, and received the Bronze Medal, on July 13.

Harunori “Harry” Oda, 91, who started Oda Nursery in Westminster and built it into a thriving business, on Dec. 14.

Toshiaki Ogasawara, 85, USC life trustee and publisher and former chairman of The Japan Times, on Nov. 30.

Rev. Fumio Okazaki, 80, who served as head minister of Tenrikyo Southern Pacific Church for 40 years, on Oct. 16.

Lt. Gen. Allen Kenji Ono (retired), 82, Korean War and Vietnam veteran and the first Japanese American to attain the rank of lieutenant general in the Army, where he served for 35 years, on Aug. 1.

Bill Rosendahl, 70, former Los Angeles city councilmember and early supporter of Venice Japanese American Memorial Marker, on March 30.

Joyce Michiko Sahara, 74, a teacher in Torrance, Davis and Winters, and volunteer at Asian Community Center and Sacramento Buddhist Church, on Nov. 27.

John Sakata, 87, leader of Arizona farming business after World War II and developer of the perfect turf for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ chase Field, on April 27.

Lewis Suzuki, 95, MIS veteran and Bay Area artist and peace activist, on Jan. 24.

Junko Tabei, 77, the first woman to conquer Mt. Everest in 1975 and the first woman to complete the Seven Summits (highest point on each continent) in 1992, on Oct. 20.

Joe Tachiki, 15, a member of Boy Scout Troop 764 (Venice Japanese Community Center) and the Venice High School football team, on Sept. 29.

Rep. Mark Takai (D-Hawaii), 49, who served 20 years in the Hawaii State House of Representatives and was serving his first term in Congress, on July 20.

Yoshiko Takai, who lived in the San Pedro Firm Building for over 60 years and helped to lobby to preserve the building as part of the historic core of Little Tokyo, on Dec. 29, 2015.

Dr. Paul Ichiro Terasaki, 86, pioneer in organ transplant medicine, founder of UCLA’s HLA Laboratory and Kidney Transplant Registry, and major benefactor to UCLA and numerous Japanese American community institutions, on Jan. 25.

May Tomikawa, 99, worked for decades as a florist at Flower View Gardens in Los Angeles, on Oct. 8.

Craig Toyota, 53, who worked as a computer programmer at American Airlines and manager at the L.A. County Public Health Department, Tuberculosis Control Program, on Aug. 22.

Sally Sayono Tsuneishi, 90, who was married to Rev. Arthur Makoto Tsuneishi of Evergreen Baptist Church and served with him at ministries in California, Hawaii and Texas, on Sept. 10.

Rev. Dr. Takeo Uesugi, 75, internationally renowned Japanese landscape architect, professor emeritus at Cal Poly Pomona, and Tenrikyo Church minister, on Jan. 26.

Eay “Jack” Watanabe, 90, who worked on the first satellite that transmitted live television from Europe and unmanned spacecraft that landed on the moon, paving the way for the Apollo space program, on May 8.

Keo Woolford, 49, actor and director known for his one-man show “I Land” at East West Players, the indie blockbuster “The Haumana” and a recurring role on “Hawaii Five-0,” on Nov. 28.

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