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NVC Taps

May 2019, Volume 69, Issue 5


David H. Fukui, the award-winning Seattle architect and champion of diversity, died on Sunday, March 31 at age 79. The cause was complications from Parkinson’s disease, which he had been battling for nearly two decades.

David was born in Seattle to parents William O. and Mitsu Fukui. The family was forcibly removed to Idaho’s Minidoka Incarceration Camp in 1942 when David was still a toddler. After release from Minidoka in 1944, the family spent a year in Detroit before returning to Seattle in 1945, where David attended Horace Mann Elementary, Washington Junior High, and Garfield High School. He earned a degree in architecture from the University of Washington in 1964 and served in the Army Reserve. In 1965, he married Judy H. Mukai; they would later divorce, bur remained friends. He became a partner in Hobbs/Fukui Architects in 1968, then Decker/Fukui Architects in 1978, before opening his own firm, Fukui Architecture, in 1991.

Fukui was part of an avant garde Northwest scene that pushed and blurred boundaries in architecture and in the civic sphere. As a member of Seattle’s chapter of the AIA, Fukui advocated for more diversity, helping start the AIA Seattle Diversity Roundtable, which remains active to this day. He loved Miles Davis, cool cars, and Bombay martinis; he also liked to cook, and was good at it. He never lost his hipness, or his sense of humor…that carried him through his best and worst days.

He is survived by uncle Henry and aunt Rose Fukano, his aunt Michi Fukano, and several cousins. The family requests donations be made to: Mitsu and William O. Fukui Memorial Endowed Diversity Scholarship / College of Built Environments / University of Washington -OR- Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation -OR- Keiro Northwest.



Paul Hiyama, 95, died peacefully at St Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI on March 19, 2019. Born on March 9, 1924 in Mukilteo, WA. Paul’s life was interrupted when all Japanese Americans living on the West Coast were taken into custody by the U.S. government in the spring of 1942. Paul was a high school senior in Seattle when he and his family were removed for incarceration in the Puyallup Detention Center, where Paul received his high school diploma. They were later transferred and incarcerated at Minidoka Concentration Camp, ID. While at Puyallup, he met Grace Hagiwara, whom he would later marry.

Paul left Minidoka with the aid of the American Baptist Home Mission Society to attend Kalamazoo College, MI. In 1944 he was drafted into the U.S. Army and assigned to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Shortly after he completed basic training, however, the war in Europe ended. He was re-assigned to the Military Intelligence Service as part of the Allied occupation forces in Japan, where he served into late 1946.

Paul got his bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College in 1949 and married Grace in 1952 while both attended graduate school in New York City. They later moved to Chicago, where Paul received his divinity degree in 1956 and was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1957. Paul’s interest in sociology and then the priesthood was informed by his first-hand observation of Hiroshima in 1946 and his own personal experience, thinking of himself as a “marginal man” -- a Japanese American born into an American society steeped in anti-Japanese feeling.

Paul was preceded in death by his wife Grace and daughter Suzanne Ross. He is survived by son Stephen Hiyama and spouse Sarah Zearfoss with children Clare and Andrew; daughter Karen Hiyama and spouse Joseph Schodowski with children Ella, Jackson and Lucas; and son-in-law Kevin Ross (spouse of Suzanne) with children Katy and Cody. Memorial contributions may be made to: Breakfast Program at St. Andrew’s, 306 N Division Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 -OR- the Japanese American National Museum, 100 N Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012 | www.janm.org



Martin “Mich” Matsudaira was born in Seattle on November 12, 1937. On March 24th, 2019, Mich, a loving father of four children and an uncharacteristically large family, passed away at the age of 81. Mich was the eighth of 14 children born to Thomas Tokuhisa and Theresa Hotoru Matsudaira. At the age of five, Mich was incarcerated with his family in Camp Minidoka, Idaho, during World War II as part of President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which forced over 120,000 West Coast persons of Japanese ancestry (Nikkei) into one of ten incarceration centers spread across the nation because of their Japanese ethnicity. This experience would later fuel within Mich a desire to champion equal rights and diversity for the greater Asian community.

After returning to Seattle in 1945, Mich attended Immaculate Conception Elementary School and O’Dea High School before serving in the United States Air Force as an In-flight Refueling Specialist on tanker aircrafts. After receiving an Honorable Discharge in 1960, Mich went back to school and earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the University of Washington and his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Seattle University. After graduating, he went to work for Boeing as an Industrial Engineer Manager before taking the role of Executive Director on the Washington State Commission on Asian Affairs for the Office of the Governor. Mich later founded and operated his own men’s clothing store called “Mich’s” in Seattle and also established Walker Street Clothes. In 1990, he returned to Boeing as a Financial Analyst.

Mich was a strong advocate for human rights and equality, dedicating over 25 years of community service serving as Director, President, Trustee, and or Appointee on many local, state, and national boards and councils throughout his adult life. Mich’s long list of community service roles include working with the Seattle Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, Racial Audit Task Force for the Church Council of Greater Seattle, Indochinese Refugee Resettlement Programs, and the National Council for Japanese-American Redress, to name but a few.

During the final days of Mich’s life, he never lost his natural ability to make people smile. Whenever someone would come and visit, his face would light up while his eyes reflected genuine and contagious joy. He had the uncanny ability to make everyone’s concerns fade for a time as he projected this positive energy on other people in the room. Mich comforted his loved ones up until his last breath. On March 24, 2019, Mich passed away in his sleep with his family at his side. He lived a full life and left behind a vast empty space inside of everyone who knew him.

Mich is survived by his four children: Mark (Yuka), David (Judy), Melissa (Roddy), and Scott; Four grandsons: Bailey, Connor, Martin, and Nicholas; five granddaughters: Robin (Adam), Andrea, Amy, Hatsune, and Haley; and one great-grandson: Jackson. Mich’s surviving siblings include brothers Theo (Joyce), Vincent (Charlotte), Stephen (Linda) and sisters Pauline, Ida, Theresa (Wes), and sisters-in-law, Lillian, Barbara, Hisako, and Brenda. Mich is also survived by over 45 nieces and nephews.

Mark, David, Melissa, and Scott are incredibly grateful for the excellent care provided to Mich by Polyclinic Medical Oncology, Swedish Hospital, and Providence Hospice. They also consider themselves incredibly fortunate to have such amazing friends and family who showered them generously with so much love and support. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Mich’s memoriam to: NVC Foundation, 1212 South King Street, Seattle, WA 98144.


Sam Masami Mitsui passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones, on March 24, 2019. He was born on July 24, 1926 in Skykomish, WA to Minoru and Shime Mitsui. Sam had two older sisters, Shizuko and Kimiko, and two younger siblings, sister Sumiko and brother James. The Mitsui's lived in a small shack right next to the train tracks that ran through the small town (Minoru worked for the Great Northern Railroad). Young Sam, along with his best friend Tom Haji, grew up fishing and hiking in the local forests. He attended elementary through high school in the same building and was known as a good student and athlete as well as a good son and brother. However, on December 7, 1941 his world changed forever.

After the US entered WWII, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Because of this order, the Mitsui's were forcibly removed from their home and imprisoned in Tule Lake, California. He and his family were held in block 18. Sam later gained permission to leave Tule Lake and move to Spokane, where he finished high school at Lewis and Clark HS and briefly attended Gonzaga University before entering military service in 1944. Just as he completed basic training, he received word that his best friend Tom Haji had been killed in action in Italy while serving with the famed 442nd/100th Regimental Combat Team. Sam resolved from that point on to keep the memory of Tom and the Nisei vets alive. He was being trained to participate in the invasion of Japan when the war ended. He then served in counter intelligence in the 4th Infantry Division during the post-war Occupation.

After the Army, Sam attended the University of Washington where he met Tamaki "Tami" Inaba. They were married in 1952. He was later hired at Boeing, where he worked for 30 years as an aerospace engineer. He and Tami raised four children: Nancy, Jan, Mark and Glenn. In his spare time, Sam taught judo and was an active member of Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church and the Nisei Veterans Committee. He also co-founded Walk For Rice, a major fundraising event for the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) Food Bank. He and Tami also took up running. They both completed in several marathons and in 1987, Sam completed the Hawaii Iron Man at the age of 61. He also finished the Canadian Iron Man (two times!) while in his sixties!

In his later years, Sam kept his promise to honor Tom Haji's memory by becoming a volunteer speaker. His speech was titled "Good Things Grow From Horse Manure". The title came from a statement that an Issei father made when his son pointed out the manure still lying in the middle of a horse stall that was to be their living quarters in a hastily built "assembly center" or temporary prison. In his speech he spoke of the injustice no one else should experience ever again, the pre- and post-war racism experienced by Japanese-Americans, the sacrifice and bravery of the Nisei soldiers, and the standing ovation he received when he gave this speech to the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. He talked of the importance of remembering history in order to not repeat it.

And he walked his talk. He experienced a lot of adversity during his life and he always made good things grow from it.

Sam is survived by his sister Sumiko and brother James; wife of 66 years, Tami; children Nancy Frederick, Jan Davis, Mark Mitsui (and wife Melanie), Glenn Mitsui (and wife Arlene); grandchildren Naomi Armstrong, Derek Armstrong, Sammy Davis (and wife Jen), Hailey Mitsui-Davis (and husband Brad), Emma Mitsui, Preston Mitsui and Gibson Mitsui; great-grandchildren Kasen Armstrong and Kruz Dean Armstrong. In lieu of flowers please send donations to: acrs.walkforrice.org; nvcfoundation.org; blaineonline.org/donate-here/



Makoto “Mako” L. Yaguchi was born March 24, 1928 in Tacoma, WA and was 91 years young when he passed away on March 29, 2019. On the heels of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mako (the youngest), his parents, and seven siblings were incarcerated at Minidoka Incarceration Center until the end of WW II. While in the Army as a “Tanker” with 3rd Armor Division, he served as manager/player on the base baseball team in Germany. The team ended their season as European Theater baseball champions. He was a low handicap bowler and bowled in various Nisei leagues at Imperial Lanes for many years. He worked for many, many years in the produce department as a manager and eventually vice president within the grocery and retail industry. An avid sports fan, he enjoyed coaching the Seahawks and Mariners from the comfort of his favorite couch too.

He is proceeded in death by his daughter Stephanie; parents, Tsugio and Tamayo (Fujioki) Yaguchi; his brothers, Masao “Bill” Yaguchi, Hiroshi “Hiro” Yaguchi, and Frank Yaguchi; and sisters Haruko “Harko” Yaguchi, Masaye Yamane, and May Numoto. Mako is survived by his wife of 61 years, Pauline (Matsudaira) Yaguchi; sons: Lt Col Michael (Diane) Yaguchi, USAF (Ret); Patrick (Janice) Yaguchi; daughter Karen Yaguchi; grand-daughters Crystina “CC”, Megan, Allison, and Sophia; grandson Gavin; brother Kenji (Kazie) Yaguchi, sister Sue Mitani; and many nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Denshō (https://densho.org).



Dennis "Taka" Yamaguchi had that magical ability to make an everlasting imprint in the lives he touched. Taka wore many hats (although mostly his fishing hat) including husband, father, brother, uncle, grandpa, mentor, storyteller, and more. Born on July 30, 1944 to Jack and Dorothy Yamaguchi, there was never a dull moment when brothers Ken, Fred, Gordon, and sister Sue were all together.

Taka served in the National Guard and was a dedicated police officer with the Port of Seattle for decades. Over the past 52 years his wife Nancy has been his partner and love, with their daughter Stacy and grandson Blaine filling Taka's heart as his greatest pride and joy.



Bob Yoshihara was born on July 30, 1925 in Selleck, WA, the eldest child of Buichi and Kotoyo Yoshihara. The family moved to Beaverton, Oregon in 1940 to start strawberry farming. In May 1942, they were sent to the Portland Assembly Center. A few months later they were removed to the Minidoka Concentration Camp where they lived the next three and a half years. Bob graduated from Hunt High School in 1944 and entered the U.S. Army at Fort Shelby. He later trained at the Military Intelligence School at Fort Snelling. While there, he became ill and spent the next three years recovering in Walla Walla, WA.

After his recovery, Bob lived in Renton while earning a BA in accounting from the University of Washington. In 1954 he met Yaeko Sakai, whom he married in 1955. Bob was a CPA, a career IRS employee and retired in 1991. He loved the challenging work at the IRS and twice was honored as Employee of the Year. He was a longtime member of Japanese Baptist Church and Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. He loved gardening, golf, DIY projects, Japanese music and Japanese cultural events.

Bob passed away peacefully surrounded by family on April 2, 2019. He is survived by brothers Takeshi and John, sisters Emiko Ambo and Florence Fujiwara, his children Jean (John), Jim (Amy), Jan (Curtis), and Joe (Rita) and grandchildren: David Murakami (Valerie), Kristen and Lauren Munechika, Jeffrey, Justin, Jonathan, Matthew, Michelle, Kellie and Kyle Yoshihara. He was preceded in death by wife, Yaeko, sister Kay Abe and brothers George and Paul.