Death of Henry Okamura

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Dear Judoka Everywhere,

It is a sad task indeed to have to relay that Sensei Henry K. Okamura passed
away yesterday evening at 9:25. He was experiencing difficulty breathing earlier
in the day and was taken to the hospital. His passing brought an end to his
valiant struggle to recover from his stroke of 12 years ago. Along the way
Sensei has overcome bouts of pneumonia, numerous infections and cancer, but
continued on with various therapies through the 24-7, loving care of his wife
Mitzi.

Originally the student of Murakami Sensei in California, Okamura Sensei was
a rising star player who became the 180 lb. national champion for four years
straight in the days before they had the narrow weight classes of today. Okamura
Sensei was one of the charter members of the Chicago Judo Yudansha-kai and
through his untiring leadership through the many years as its president, Chicago
Judo garnered worldwide recognition for the quality of its teachers and competitors.
One indicator of promotion time in Chicago was the increased attendance by
hopeful judoka at Sensei's numerous clubs, seeking to polish their knowledge
and technique before the exam. Sensei would always have time for anyone who
approached him, so much so that many judoka could claim to be a student of
Okamura Sensei.

We judoka everywhere owe a great debt of gratitude to Okamura Sensei for his
lifetime achievements: for the rich history of our beginnings in Chicago to
the quality of our sensei from whom we learn from today, and for the privilege
to be a part of one of the most respected yudansha-kais both nationally and
worldwide. This brief text cannot do justice in protraying Sensei's contribution
not only to the technical side of the sport of Judo, but to the countless
many young lives of students of Judo whose character and sportsmanship development
benefitted from the life teachings that would follow the exposure to his example.

Judoka everywhere send their sincere respect and condolences to Sensei's wife
Mitzi, Henry Okamura, Jr. (Leslie), daughter Bonnie, and grand children Mark,
William, Donna.

Service arrangements are as follows:

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Visitation: 5:00 - 7:00 PM Funeral: 7:30 PM

Lake View Funeral Home

1458 W. Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL 60657

773-472-6300

Gassho,

Gary T. Nakai

Category: News