Jake (James Katsu) Kirihara was born in Turlock and passed on to his eternal rest peacefully at his home in Livingston. Jake proudly served his country — volunteering for the U.S. Army during his family and community’s internment in Amache, Colo. — serving in the historically noted 442nd Combat Infantry Group as a Staff Sergeant. Jake farmed and promoted agricultural issues for over six decades. He was a founding member of numerous regional agricultural concerns including the Livingston Farmers Assn., Big Tree Organic and Farm Land Preservation Org. He and Francis, a local public health nurse, helped mentor the Livingston Medical Clinic and sponsored many University of California students involved in rural assistance/development programs. Jake was a quiet gentleman of great integrity, a lifelong advocate for civil rights, and an active proponent of peace and justice issues locally and internationally. In the 1980s, he traveled to war-torn Nicaragua to discuss agricultural methods and support regional peace efforts. He actively supported many local groups fighting for causes he believed in including The Peace Life/Center of Modesto, Merced-Somoto Sister City Program, Day of Respect events, and Japanese American Citizens League. Furthermore, Jake served as Boy Scout leader, and Merced Irrigation District leader, member of the Sierra Club, and a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church of Livingston. Since his youth, as an avid traveler and wilderness enthusiast, Jake often hiked and fished vast areas of the Sierra Nevada. Additionally, over many years, he visited and explored internationally, including each of the 31 states of Mexico.
Jake’s wife of 61 years, Frances; his parents; brother, David; and only child, Mark preceded him in death. His sister, Ruth Noda; seven nieces and nephews; and many grandnephews and grandnieces survive him.
Arrangements are entrusted to Allen Mortuary. A memorial and celebration of his life will be held at 1 p.m. on Dec. 12 at Livingston United Methodist Church in Livingston.
Donations may be made to Sierra Club of Merced, . P.O. Box 387, Merced, CA 95341.