Akira Ichikawa passed away at home on January 3, 2023 at the age of 84 years. Akira was born Feb. 1, 1938, in Seattle, WA, the third son and fifth child of Tatsuya and Yasashi Ichikawa. He is survived by a son, Andrew (Tahirih Rempel); and a daughter Maya (Marko Hilgersom); and six beloved grandchildren: Yuki, Sam, Asha, Lily, Akeo, and Seiji, all of Lethbridge. He was predeceased by the love of his life, his wife Lorita, whom he married on September 23, 1961, and who died March 28, 2020, and his first-born son, Michael Tatsuya, on Dec. 24, 1976 at the age of 8.
He also is survived by two brothers and their wives Kazuya and Fusako of Placentia, CA; and Shinya and Jayne of Durham, OR; three sisters, Etsuko Osaki (Herb, deceased) of Portland. OR; Noriko (Milnes) Kurashige of Culver City, CA; and Hiroko (Lockwood, deceased) Dennis of Boulder, CO; sister-in-law, Grace (Satoru, deceased) Ichikawa; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
When World War II broke out, his father was detained separately and incarcerated in various American-style concentration camps until reunited with the family at an alien family internment center in Crystal City, TX. Akira was detained with his family from 1942 in American-style concentration camps in Washington, Idaho and Texas, until March, 1946, at which time the family was allowed to return to Seattle.
He was graduated from Garfield High School in Seattle, received his B.A. from the University of Washington, Seattle, then served in the U.S. Army Reserve in California and Georgia. He received his M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, and moved to Lethbridge in 1968 to assume a position at the University of Lethbridge where he taught until his retirement in 1998. His favorite activity was being with his family and grandchildren. He also enjoyed coffee breaks with his close friend, Ron Yoshida.
He loved classical music and jazz, but it was in jazz which he listened to avidly from his teen-age years that he found the greatest joy and comfort. He was especially fond of the music of Count Basie and be-bop artists Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Among his prized possessions was his Canadian citizenship he received in 2007.
A Memorial Service with livestream will be held at THE BUDDHIST TEMPLE OF SOUTHERN ALBERTA on Saturday, January 14, 2023 at 2:00pm (MST).
The family gratefully declines koden and flowers. Those who wish, may offer a remembrance to the Buddhist Temple of Southern Alberta, 470 40 St S, Lethbridge, AB T1J 3Z5.
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