Ronnie Shoichi Uyeki

February 2, 1941________April 1, 1995

The late Ronnie Uyeki was born on February 2, 1941, the second child and only son of Willie Tadashi Uyeki and Jane Yuriko Simmons. His formative years were spent in the Rowher Relocation Camp until he was about four years old. Afterwards, the family, consisting of his mother, father, and two sisters, relocated to Compton, California. Most of his school years were spent in West Los Angeles, graduating from University High School in 1958. He spent a brief time at Santa Monica City College, trying to find his vocation in life.

Ron joined the Army in April, 1965, soon after receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from California State Universtiy at Northridge. He attended Basic Training and Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. He then graduated from Infantry Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Ft. Benning, Georgia in February, 1967. In February 1968, he was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam. He was very fond of the indigenous people of the Highlands, The Mountainyards, who thought very highly of Ron. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and the Bronze Star.

Ron was honorably discharged from the Army and returned to California in February, 1969, where he joined his friend, Bob Tribe on a one-month exploration of the back country of New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. Ron spent a year living on the G.I. Bill and reading classical literature. Following that he became a probation office with Los Angeles County. He was assigned to the youth probation camp at Malibu where he worked for five years.

Ron decided he had learned everything he could at Probation, so he quit. He bought a ticket on a tramp steamer and travelled to Japan. There he visited relatives and taught English. Soon after returning, Ron went to work for the LA Deparment of Children's Services. He made many friends there, and did many outdoor activities with them, including backpaking, running, camping, fishing, skiing, and travelling. Ron ran and completed the LA Marathon at the age of 50.

He maintained a close friendship with his friend Bob Tribe, whom he met while in the Army. He and Bob were best friends. They often backpacked, climbed mountains, motorcycled, cross-country skied, fished, rock climbed, and traveled together. His very favorite outdoor activity was backpacking. He also did many of these same things with his local friends, Fred, Jerry, Gary and Stu. Perla Borja was a very special friend with whom he frequently travelled and backpacked.

Most recently Ron was about to receive a Masters degree in Social Work from the California State University at Long Beach. He was well liked in his Department of Social Work, and his thesis advisor, Dr. Brown, took it upon himself to finish Ron's thesis. Ron did obtain his Masters Degree posthumously. Also, the Ron Uyeki Asian Pacific Scholarship was set up by the department and was awarded at the last graduation.

Ron loved Southern California, the beaches and all the activities available there; but he also loved the Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite, and travelling. The last four years he had decided to visit all the national parks west of the Mississippi River. Perla travelled with him on these trips. He had nearly completed that project.

Ron was very proud of his Japanese-American heritage. Through all of this, he remained a loving son, a wonderful brother and a constant friend to numerous people. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack Saturday, April 1st, 1995, leaving so many family and friends who loved him dearly. They will miss him, and they will never forget the endearing love, happiness, and joy he brought to their lives. Ron made a difference in this world.

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