The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) is deeply saddened by the passing of Thomas Masami “Tom” Yuki, a member of the museum’s Board of Trustees. He passed away peacefully in his sleep on Dec. 10, 2022. He was 87 years old.
Tom Yuki was born on June 29, 1935, in Salinas, Calif., to Takeo and Miyoko Yuki. His grandfather emigrated from the town of Kaita in Hiroshima during the 1890s. He became a sharecropper and settled in Salinas with his family. He and several others formed an agricultural partnership as vegetable growers and shippers.
The Yuki family was incarcerated at the Poston concentration camp in Arizona. For the duration of the war, Takeo’s business partner tended to the family business, the Salinas Valley Vegetable Exchange. After the war, the family moved to Los Gatos, Calif.
Yuki graduated from Santa Clara University in 1957 with a degree in accounting as a member of ROTC, and immediately afterwards joined the military and was stationed in Germany for two years.
When Takeo died, Yuki took over the family business as the managing partner of Yuki Farms and the oversight of several commercial real estate enterprises. He was also a founding board member of American Bank and Trust.
Yuki served as a member of the JANM Board of Trustees from 1996 until his passing, and as its treasurer from 2009 to 2021. As a charter member of the museum and one its longest-tenured trustees, he and his family have been dedicated and generous supporters of long standing. The Yuki Family Board Room is named in honor of his family.
“We are exceedingly lucky to have known and worked with Tom,” said Bill Fujioka, chair of the JANM Board of Trustees. “He was a man of quiet charisma and great dignity and integrity, whose values helped to breathe life into our mission. His generosity, leadership, and kindness touched everyone at JANM. He was our trusted colleague and most importantly, our dear friend. His loss is felt throughout the Mmseum and the Japanese American community. We send our warmest condolences to his family and will think of him each time we meet in the boardroom.”
Yuki is survived by his wife, Carol Shibata Yuki; children, Cheryl Wells (Rick), Trisha Yuki-Richards (John), Karla Cabico (Carl), Mariko Yuki, and Jason Yuki; grandchildren, Douglas, Garrison, Veronica, Taylor, Kamryn, and Jared; siblings: Emie Yamate (Minoru), Penny Morimoto (Edward), and Herbert Yuki (Barbara); many cousins, nieces and nephews.