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Thomas Nobuyuki Shigekuni


1929 - 2020
Thomas Nobuyuki Shigekuni Obituary
Thomas N. Shigekuni, born in Los Angeles on August 4, 1929, passed away on December 10, 2019, at the age of 90. A graduate of Pepperdine, Tom earned his degree thanks to a scholarship from George Pepperdine who attended the same Westside Church of Christ. Tom later served on the Pepperdine Alumni Board of Directors. While raising his family and operating the family business Centrose Nursery, he graduated from the USC School of Law in 1966, and opened his 45-year Torrance law practice. Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown, Tom was the first Japanese American on the State Board of Food and Agriculture. The legislature accepted his definitive report that the then-novel farmer's market concept should become permanent law, paving the way for today's certified markets. During the energy crisis in 2000 Tom served on the L.A. County Energy Commission. Active in civic organizations, he was president of the ACLU's South Bay chapter, president of the Gardena chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, director of the Torrance Rotary Club, president of the Centinela Chapter of the California Association of Nurserymen, and a trustee on the board of the South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes. As a result of being an internee in Colorado's Amache relocation center during WWII, Tom worked tirelessly to educate future generations about the frailty of our constitutional rights, always warning, "It could happen again." He served as incorporating attorney for the Amache Historical Society. On August 4th, 2019, in celebration of Tom's 90th birthday, a documentary "To Tell The Truth," was screened in Beverly Hills. The film is a personal journey of how injustice shaped his life, making him determined to always fight for the underdog. Tom was honored by family and friends as "a simple man," as he called himself, who made a difference. A long-time resident of Palos Verdes Estates and a member of the Redondo Beach Church of Christ, Tom is survived by his wife Ruth, daughters Vicki, Cindy and Leslie, and five grandchildren. He is pre-deceased by older brothers Tsuneo (Tunney), Masaaki (Henry) and sister Fumiko. A private family memorial will be held. Per Tom's wishes, so that future generations "do not forget", donations can be made to the Amache Preservation Society, P.O. Box 259, Granada, Colorado 81041-0259
Published in Daily Breeze on Feb. 2, 2020
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