Joseph Haratani found freedom on December 6th, 2019, ninety-six years after his birth in Florin, California on October 27th, 1923. Although uprooted as a teen and forced into Amache internment camp with his parents and siblings, Joe served the public good his entire life. He began by volunteering in the US Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team during WWII, surviving combat in Italy and France. Joe earned degrees at both Stanford University and the University of California (Berkeley), probably so he could claim his football team always won the Big Game. Joe joined the USAID as a civil/sanitary engineer working in regions of Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, improving sanitation infrastructure and access to potable water.
Joe and his wife Amy – Ada (she prefers “Amy” from a typo in her FBI wartime file), successfully raised three sons, and he became a devoted grandfather in his seventies. When his grandchildren had a six-month relocation to Brussels, Joe (then 81) suffered such severe grand-withdrawal that he flew to Brussels to see them.
In 1988, the US government made monetary reparations to surviving WWII internees. Joe donated his to a trust for Sonora Elementary School with the stipulation that the interest be used for education about civil rights.
Joe had a keen sense of humor while exuding dignity, generosity and kindness. He will be greatly missed by his wife Amy-Ada, Guy and Joyce, Richard and Kathleen, Saji and Nicole, grandchildren Jazmine and Jean-Patrik, sisters Grace Aikawa, Irene Yamamoto, brother David and sister-in-law Dale, as well as his extended family and legions of friends. A celebration of Joe’s extraordinary life will be held in Spring of 2020.