Thomas Shigemasa
1945 - 2020
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Thomas Shigemasa
September 23, 1945 - June 18, 2020
San Jose, CA
Thomas Ken Shigemasa passed away peacefully at his home in San Jose on June 18, 2020. He was born on September 23, 1945 in Waipahu, Hawaii to James and Ruth Shigemasa and loved the island life. He enjoyed swimming and fishing and always looked forward to returning to visit old haunts. He graduated from Waipahu High School, San Jose State University (Chi Pi Sigma, law enforcement fraternity), and the FBI National Academy. On June 24, 1967, he married his high school sweetheart Sue Nakasone and they made a life in San Jose with their two children and extended family. Tom retired as Assistant Police Chief of the San Jose Police Department after 31 years of exceptional service. A strong advocate of civil and human rights, he was active in various organizations including serving once as president of the San Jose Chapter of the Japanese-American Citizens League, co-founder and past chairman of the Coalition of Asian Americans for Public Safety, the first president of the National Association of Asian American Law Enforcement Commanders, and the first Asian-American Command Officer in the San Jose Police Department.
Tom took pride in his family, heritage, and contributions to the community and lived life to the fullest even when challenged with quadriplegia for 17 years. He was blessed to have the support of his family and many friends throughout. Among his many interests, he loved Hawaii, casinos, fishing, football (especially games with someone from Hawaii playing), and favorite foods like ribs and anything Hawaiian. Tom's trips with Sue to London and Japan are especially fond memories. He loved spending time with his grandkids, had a big heart, and was always welcoming to all. He had a major presence in life and a strong impact on those around him. He enjoyed his life and made the most of it. He will be greatly missed and was much loved.
Tom was predeceased by his parents James and Ruth Shigemasa, his brothers Robert, John and Herman, and his sister Arlene.
He is survived by his beloved wife Sue; daughters Lei (Andy) and Carie; grandchildren Cristina Diaz, Kenneth Diaz, Cynthia Diaz and Zachary Maxson; nieces Sheryl Shigemasa and Shanie Saldana; nephews Reid Shigemasa and Tom Curry; and many more close family and lifelong friends. Due to current circumstances, a memorial will be scheduled at a later date.


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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Jun. 26, 2020.
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4 entries
June 29, 2020
I had the pleasure and honor of working with Tom. He had a respect for others and those in turn respected him. He left a very positive impression on me and influenced my career. My salute to you. Rest In Peace
Roberto Gonzalez
Coworker
June 28, 2020
Chief, you were the best....a great leader, boss and friend. I will always remember your generosity and love of your family. Aloha, until we meet again.
Margie Thompson
Coworker
June 27, 2020
I met Tom many, many years ago when I was working in the defense industry on Coleman ave. Probably one of the most decent human beings I have ever met. Thanks for all your service years with the PD and may you rest in peace.
Glenn Hilpert
Acquaintance
June 23, 2020
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