Paul Kusuda

Madison last week lost another of its tireless community activists when Paul Kusuda died at the age of 95.

Kusuda, a Japanese-American who along with his family was interred in a California relocation camp during World War II, never held a grudge when it came to helping the country he loved. He has long been one of our city's most active volunteers, tirelessly advocating for senior citizens and promoting causes to make this a better place. It was the least he felt he could do.

He retired as a social worker in the state Department of Health and Human Services back in 1987, but never stopped working. In addition to his service on numerous boards and committees, he was active in the movement to have the federal government apologize and compensate the Japanese-Americans who were placed in relocation camps, considered one of America's most embarrassing human rights disasters. And when that effort finally succeeded in 1990, he turned around and donated the $20,000 that was due him to local charities.

He was a prolific contributor to the letters to the editor columns of both Madison newspapers and regularly appeared at governmental meetings to push the causes in which he believed.  During his retired years he received numerous awards and honors, including a Martin Luther King recognition award.

We at The Capital Times knew Paul Kusuda well. He would regularly visit the editorial board to push his causes and for a period served on the paper's citizens' advisory board.

Funeral services will be held Friday at 10 at the Lake Edge United Church of Christ, 4200 Buckeye Road. There are two visitations, one from 5 to 7 Thursday at the Gunderson Funeral Home at 5203 Monona Drive and the other from 9 until time of services Friday at the church.

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He'll be missed not only by his close-knit family, but by all of Madison. 

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