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JANM Mourns the Passing of Raymond S. Uno

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) mourns the passing of the Honorable Raymond S. Uno. A nationally recognized civil rights and peace activist and retired Third District Court judge, Uno was the first person of color to ever serve as a judge in Utah. 

Born in Ogden, Utah, he and his family moved to El Monte, California, where he went to a segregated school. During World War II he and his family were incarcerated at the Heart Mountain concentration camp in Wyoming. When they were released Uno lived with his aunt in Ogden and volunteered for military service. He served as an interpreter, translator, and interrogator in the US Army’s 319th Military Intelligence Service and later, as a special agent in the 441st Counter Intelligence Corps in Tokyo, Japan. A veteran of the Korean War, he earned his bachelor’s and JD from the University of Utah. From 1970–1972 he was the national president of the Japanese American Citizens League. In 1976, he was appointed to the Salt Lake Court bench. Two years later, he served as presiding Fifth Circuit Court judge. In 1984 he was elected to the Third District Court where he retired in 1990 as Third District Court Senior Judge. In August 2012, Uno was awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendations from the Consul General of Japan in Denver for promoting mutual understanding between Japan and the US.

“We have lost a truly great man. His lifelong dedication to equality, justice, and to ensuring that the lessons of wartime incarceration were not forgotten was evident in his service to his country, his compassion in the courtroom, and his participation in camp pilgrimages including Heart Mountain and Crystal City. He also played a pivotal role in building the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation’s Interpretive Center and was a dedicated member of the foundation’s advisory council. His legacy and devotion to the Japanese American community, social justice, and civil rights will long be remembered. It was our privilege to host the Uno family reunion at JANM last year when they gathered to stamp the Ireichō. Our deepest condolences go to his family during this time of great sadness,” said Ann Burroughs, President and CEO of JANM.