Mary and Richard “Babe” Karasawa

The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles released the following statement on June 28.


The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) is deeply saddened by the passing of Mary Karasawa, a beloved volunteer and school tour docent at the museum. She and her husband, Richard “Babe” Karasawa, were JANM charter members. Together, they volunteered at least two Fridays each month. Their son, John, joined them in 2017.

She and Babe (who passed away on Dec. 8, 2020) were recipients of the museum’s Family Spirit Award and received their 30-year volunteer service pins in 2019. Mary was close to fellow volunteers Lily Yanagita and Mas Yamashita. Mary and Lily spoke every month or two during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On behalf of the JANM leadership, staff, and volunteers, I extend our deepest sympathies and our sincerest gratitude to the Karasawa family at the passing of Mary,” said Ann Burroughs, president and CEO of the museum. “We will miss her kindness, joy, and dedication to our mission that she brought to hundreds of JANM events, public programs, and conferences. Her smile and spirit will always be a part of us and the museum.”

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