James Akinobu Nakano passed away on February 20 at the age of 87. He died unexpectedly but peacefully at home. James was born in Honolulu in 1933 to Minoru and Sugano Nakano and grew up with his siblings in Kahala. James' childhood was disrupted by the start of WWII which led to his incarceration with his mother and siblings in the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas. When the Center closed in 1944, the family was moved to the Tule Lake Segregation Center in California. At the war's end, James returned to Honolulu where he lost his mother at the age of 12. His older sister, Sumi, subsequently did her best to oversee his upbringing and education. He graduated from Mid-Pacific Institute and attended the University of Hawaii and the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. After serving in the Army, he attended law school; first at the University of Illinois, then Northwestern University, and finally, UCLA, where he was one of the school's first Asian- American students. Upon graduating, he worked in community outreach for Robert Finch, California's Lieutenant Governor at that time. James returned to Honolulu in 1969 where he practiced law at Devens, Nakano, Saito, Lee, Wong & Ching. In his spare time, he loved playing tennis and golf and studying history. He deeply treasured his family. James' favorite saying was that he had been lucky all his life, and he lived each day with wonder and appreciation at his good fortune. He is survived by his children Lynne and Erin (Michael); grandchildren Melia and Kilinahe; sister Joyce; and many extended family members. He was predeceased by his two older sisters and four older brothers whom he held close to his heart. A private funeral service will be held in April.
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