John Kashiwabara, first Japanese-American Harbor Commissioner, dies at 88

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john-kashiwabaraDr. John Kashiwabara, who served on the Port of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners from 1996 through 2002, has died. He was 88.

Dr. Kashiwabara was a family physician whose active civic involvement included Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach, the 49ers Athletic Association, Long Beach City College Foundation, Long Beach Century Club, the Downtown Long Beach Lions Club, The California Conference for Equality and Justice, the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the Long Beach-Yokkaichi Sister City Committee.

“Dr. John, as he was fondly known, was a remarkable man with remarkable qualities,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard D. Steinke. “He had a quiet and steady demeanor and took great care to understand the issues that impacted the Port and our community.”

Appointed to the Harbor Commission by then Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill, Dr. Kashiwabara was credited with helping the Port to attract commercial tenants after the U.S. Navy vacated its local facilities.

Dr. Kashiwabara, whose family was interned during World War II, was the first Japanese American to serve on the Harbor Commission. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early November and died at his home in Long Beach on Saturday, January 16.

He is survived by his brother Ken; sister-in-law Masako Kashiwabara and Mary Kashiwabara; brother-in-law George Ishimoto; nieces Annette Kashiwabara Isozaki, Michelle Farrell, Diane Ishimoto, Karen Bell and Linda Quan; and nephew Donald Ishimoto. The family has asked donations be made to the John Kashiwabara Endowment at the Long Beach Community Foundation, 400 Oceangate, Long Beach, CA 90802. Tel. (562)-435-9033.

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