Kip Yoshio Tokuda|
Former State Legislator Kip Tokuda died of a heart attack while doing one of his favorite things- fishing on Deer Lake on Whidbey Island. We lost him on July 13, 2013; he was only 66.
Kip was born in Seattle in 1946, not long after his family was released from the Minidoka Relocation Center. That piece of family history shaped his core- he would spend his life fighting for the rights of minorities, abused children, the disabled, and the many voices unheard.
Kip was one of 5 children, one of whom, Floyd, was developmentally disabled. Eventually he was named Floyd's legal guardian. His compassion for the innocents and the abused started with this tender relationship.
Kip grew up in the inner city and never forgot it. His favorite job was representing the 37th district. Everywhere he went people knew him- at the grocery store, in restaurants or on the street. He would stop to chat, listen and share a laugh or two. He served for four terms and was most proud of the resolutions he passed making sure the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, and their service in the 442nd Regiment were never forgotten.
The International District was like a second home. He was a longtime leader in the Asian community. In 1998 he co-founded the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation to teach young people to lead. He loved mentoring young people and took pride in watching them grow. Later he was one of the key founders of the Japanese Community and Cultural Center.
When Kip retired officially from his city job, he took over the day-to-day duties of a father to his two beloved girls. So began one of the most joyful times of his life, driving his girls to school, picking them up from friends' homes, parenting 24/7 with his wife Barb.
He was pulled back into civic work but did only what he loved for people he respected. Most recently he was appointed to the Seattle Police Commission, and he was working to help diversify the force.
He had started a letter to his daughters, which read: "I hope you dedicate your lives to standing up for those, who for no fault of their own, are treated unfairly and unjustly. It is unacceptable that we treat anyone as less than we are...."
That was pure Kip.
Memorial Services will be held for Kip Tokuda, at 2PM, Sunday, July 21, at Kane Hall, Room 130, at the University of Washington.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be sent to the Kip Tokuda Legacy Fund, at the Seattle Foundation, IBM Bldg, #1300, Seattle, WA 98101. The funds will be used to support the causes Kip cared most about.
Published in The Seattle Times from July 19 to July 21, 2013