Dr. Warren Minami was interviewed by Aryani Ong in February 2019 about his experiences as an incarceree at Gila River for StoryCorps.

The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) mourns the death of Dr. Warren Nori Minami, 83, who passed away in Bethesda, Md. on Jan. 9.

A retired senior executive with the International Monetary Fund, Minami served on JANM’s Board of Governors from 1998 to 2006. He is also the brother of Denny Minami, current JANM governor.

“On behalf of the trustees, governors, staff, and volunteers of the Japanese American National Museum, we are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Warren Minami,” said Norman Mineta, chair of the board of JANM. “Reflecting on his time and leadership as a JANM governor and as chair of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, we will not forget his dedication to bettering his community and country. We are deeply grateful, and wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to his family.”

A resident of Potomac, Md., Minami was a pillar of the Japanese American community, serving as a chair emeritus of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation and long-time member of Japanese American Citizens League and the Japanese American Veterans Association, among others. He was also appointed to the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.

Born in San Francisco in 1938, Minami was incarcerated during Wolrd War II at the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona. Following their release in 1943, his family moved to Detroit and then settled in Washington, D.C., in 1945. Minami served as an Air Force officer from 1962 to 1965 and held a Ph.D. in business administration from American University. He was a third-degree black belt in judo and an avid golfer.

He is survived by his wife, Carol A. Henry-Minami; his children, Wayde R. Minami (Christie), Kristine M. Minami (John Conger), W. Douglas Minami, Peter C. Puleio II, Stephanie M. Puleio (Aaron Whittier), Susan A. Puleio (Larry Shea), and Carla M. Minami; brothers, Wayne H. Minami (Arlene) and W.D. “Denny” Minami (Ida); granddaughters Peyton M. Elmendorf, Addison P. Puleio, and Emersyn A.G. Puleio; and grandsons Alexander R. Puleio, Gavin M. Puleio, and Conner J.F. Minami. He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Henry K. Minami and Claire F. Minami.

Minami shared the impact of the wartime incarceration on his life in an oral history in 2019, which is available on the StoryCorps website: https://archive.storycorps.org/interviews/dr-warren-minami-legacy-of-the-japanese-american-incarceration/

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