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Seikichi Tokuda

1930 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Seikichi Tokuda Obituary
Tokuda, Seikichi

Seikichi "Sei" Tokuda passed away peacefully on January 2, 2016 after a year-long battle with medical problems. Sei was married to Miyoko "May" Tokuda for 44 years until her passing in 1999. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Folsom (Albuquerque /VT); son David and partner Linda Jung (CA); son Ray (ABQ) and daughter Kathleen (GA); brothers Seiji "Bob" (ABQ) and Seiko "Sam" Tokuda (CA); niece Esther Churchwell; grand-nieces, Carla Walraven and Christy Davis (all ABQ), and other extended family members in CA, NV and HI.

Sei was born in Waipahu, Hawaii on August 17, 1930. The following excerpt of Sei's own words, when he was inducted into the Silver Horizons NM 2002 Senior Hall of Fame for "countless hours improving the community," recounts the highlights of his life.

My father left Okinawa in 1915 to work as a contract laborer on the sugarcane plantations of Hawaii. After paying off his debt for his transport and working conditions, he sent for my mother. They had eight children in Hawaii; I was the seventh of eight children. We were very poor … and my father probably paid very little taxes. So he paid very little, or zero practically for our education. So because of the very inexpensive education system in Hawaii, I was able to become the first member in our family's history to earn a college degree. That was during the Korean War, and I enlisted in the Army, and with the Korean War G.I. Bill and with the degree I had from the University of Hawaii, I went to the University of Washington, and with the help of state funding, I managed to complete my Ph. D. degree in 1959. The rest is history, and with the help from my wife (May) … I taught in two medical schools … I served on research review councils for the National Institutes of Health and the Fogarty International Center … I served on the editorial boards of two research journals … I even taught in Nicaragua for two weeks in 1992. I even became Chairman of the Department in the School of Medicine at the University of New Mexico … all of this opened the doors for me to become active in civic duties, and in 1998, I received the Frank J. Miranda Bridge Award from the Albuquerque Human Rights Board. So, it all started with the wonderful educational system that we have in the United States. Yes, I consider myself to have been very, very lucky to have been born in the then territory of Hawaii, USA.

Sei was very passionate about the human and civil rights of all individuals, and dedicated his life to various civil and human rights organizations.

He was extensively involved in protection and preservation of sanctuaries for birds and animals. He volunteered with the Central New Mexico Audubon Society, Rio Grande Nature Center, and supported Hawks Aloft since its inception.

Sei loved to travel. He enjoyed cultural and family festivals and reunions in Hawaii and Okinawa. His love of birds, nature, and native peoples led him to many places on his bucket list, including New Zealand, South Africa, Macchu Pichu, Galapagos, Central America, and Alaska.

The family extends its heartfelt thanks to all the physicians and staff of Presbyterian Hospital and Medical Groups, as well as Home Health, Palliative and Hospice Groups, who so lovingly cared for Sei during this past year.

A Memorial service celebrating Sei's life will be held at 9:00 a.m., Saturday, January 16, 2016 at the First Unitarian Church, 3701 Carlisle Blvd NE, Albuquerque. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Friends of the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, 2901 Candelaria NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107; New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League, 5010 Lomas Blvd NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87110; or the .
Published in Albuquerque Journal from Jan. 8 to Jan. 10, 2016
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