Green River Star -

Arthur Saburo Kitagawa


Arthur Saburo Kitagawa, 95, passed away on July 19, 2016, in Warminster, Penn.

He was born on Feb. 28, 1921, in San Francisco, Calif., to Japanese immigrant parents Hiroshi and Misao Kitagawa. Raised in San Francisco’s Japan Town, Art graduated with an associate of arts degree from San Francisco Junior College in 1940.

On Mother’s Day, 1942, the Kitagawa family was evacuated to Tanforan Race Track, and then relocated to Topaz Internment Camp, Utah. Only later did the Army recognize that these American citizens could be US military intelligence assets and should be freed if they agreed to serve. In May 1943, Art enlisted in the US Army, with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, comprised of second generation Japanese who volunteered to serve in order to prove their loyalty to the US. He moved to Washington, D.C., where he married Yori Shimasaki and left the following day for boot camp in Camp Shelby, Miss., while Yori remained in Washington, D.C. He was honorably discharged in 1945.

He attended George Washington University on the GI Bill and graduated with an A.B. Degree from the School of Government in 1949. He then embarked on a career in Administration and Personnel Management with companies in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia before retiring in 1987.

Art was a lifelong Christian who served as a deacon and treasurer at St. James UCC in Havertown, Penn. He lived his faith, striving always to do the right thing, helping anyone in need, and believing in the Golden Rule. He instilled in his children perseverance and the importance of doing their best in all things. He was a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, and Boy Scouts of America.

His interests included deep sea fishing; playing bridge and poker; bowling; tennis; reading the Philadelphia Inquirer from cover to cover; crossword puzzles; cross-country driving trips; vegetable gardening; cooking and eating; doting on his pet cat Buster; cheering for the Phillies, Eagles, and Redskins; and attending classical music concerts—especially enjoying those of his granddaughter Rachel, a professional violinist with the Aeolus Quartet.

Art was preceded in death by his parents, five siblings, wife Yori, to whom he was married for 52 years until her passing in 1995.

Survivors include brother Mik Kitagawa and wife Rickie of San Francisco; sister-in-law June Kitagawa of San Francisco; daughter Katherine Mount and husband Lee of Green River; daughter Ellen Shapiro and husband John of Wyomissing, Penn.; son Martin Kitagawa and wife Carole of Philadelphia; son Ronald Kitagawa of Philadelphia; grandson Timothy Shapiro and wife Angel of Palo Alto, Calif.; granddaughter Rachel Shapiro of New York City; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A military service with inurnment was conducted Aug. 1 at Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown, Penn.

A memorial celebration of life will take place at a later date.


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