SACRAMENTO — Dean Malcolm Murakami passed away peacefully on Dec. 23, finally succumbing to the cancer he bravely fought for many years.
Born in 1952 to Chikashi and Marjorie Murakami in Los Angeles, he was a proud product of the Los Angeles Unified School District. After high school, he attended Harbor Junio College, CSU Long Beach and UC Riverside, where he earned a Ph.D. in psychology and met his future wife, Patricia.
Murakami’s achievements include serving as a scientific director of NASA mission STS-90, NeuroLab, on the space shuttle Columbia, publishing over 35 scientific articles about how the brain regulates the “on and off” rhythm organized around the day.
He served as vice president of the Sacramento Central Labor Council, northern vice president of community college for the California Federation of Teachers, president of the Faculty Association of California Community College, and president of Los Rios College Federation of Teachers.
The Murakamis married in 1985 and settled in Sacramento, where they remained. He held the position of research scientist in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at UC Davis, and then professor of psychology at American River College.
“Dean was fun and funny and made many close friends throughout his life,” his family said. “Dean loved to play golf, was an avid swimmer, photographer, fisherman, hiker and camper. He also enjoyed traveling with wife Patricia to numerous exotic destinations around the world. Their home was a cornerstone to many gatherings of family and friends. One of his greatest joys was spending time with his wife, four brothers and their families. Dean will be greatly missed. He is now reunited with his parents.”
In addition to his wife, he is survived by brothers Brian Murakami (wife Anita and son Kyle). Myron Murakami, Marvin Murakami and Darryl Murakami (wife Georgia, sons Tyler and Travis, daughter Taitlyn and step-daughter Tanya).
A private family service was held at Green Hills Cemetery, where he was laid to rest close to his parents. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.