Janus (Jan) Yoneo Kurahara was born Jan. 16, 1921, in Marysville, Calif. He died peacefully at home in the presence of his loving family on July 21, 2009.
Jan spent his childhood in Sacramento, Calif. In May 1942, Jan was interned in the Tule Lake Relocation Center. There he met and married his wife, Lillian. While in the internment camp, Jan was drafted into service for the U.S. Army. He became a soldier student in the Military Intelligence Corp.
After the war, Jan moved to Hood River, Ore., with his wife and children and worked as an orchardist with his father-in-law. He also sold mutual funds.
Jan’s education was carried on piecemeal, interrupted by World War II. He completed his AA degree in aeronautical engineering at Sacramento Junior College. He continued his studies at Drake University and Reed College. He completed his educational goals by going to Lewis and Clark University School of Law where he received his Juris Doctor degree at the age of 57.
After completing law school, Jan served as a Deputy District Court Judge for the city of The Dalles, Ore. Subsequently, he worked for the U.S. Corps of Engineers as a contract specialist on both the Bonneville Dam expansion project and the Mount St. Helens Sediment Retention Dam project and as a legal advisor for the Space Shuttle program at Vandenberg AFB.
After his official retirement, he worked for the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Jan was very active in the community and beyond. His involvement included serving on the County Agriculture and Conservation Board, the Hood River County School Board, Hood River County Board of Commissioners, Rotary Club, and the Hood River Chamber of Commerce.
He also served as the Director of Civil Defense for more than 20 years. For his outstanding community work, Jan was named Hood River County Citizen of the Year in 1959.
Jan chronicled his life in his autobiography, “Ganbatte: A Nisei’s Story,” published in 1999.
Jan is survived by Lillian, his wife of 66 years; Jan Jr. and his wife, Carole; Ron and his wife, Peggy; and Karen King and her husband, Larry. He is also survived by seven grandchildren: Kristi VanDooren, Ron Kurahara, Jon Kurahara, Stephanie Boehm, Melanie King, Melissa Nishio and Scott Kurahara; and many great-grandchildren.
At Jan’s request, a private family gathering was held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Heart of Hospice or the Asbury Methodist Church in care of Anderson’s.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals, Receptions, Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031; 541-386-1000. Please visit www.andersonstributecenter.com to sign the family guest book.
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