Roy Hiroshi Matsumoto
May 1, 1913 — April 21, 2014
Roy Matsumoto – “Ranger Roy” – passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on the morning of April 21, 2014.
He was less than two weeks away from his 101st birthday. Born in Los Angeles and educated in Japan and in the U.S., Roy volunteered for the U.S. military from one of the camps into which the U.S. government forced 110,000 people of Japanese descent in 1942.
He distinguished himself with many acts of heroism during his service with Merrill’s Marauders in Burma, and is credited by other members of his battalion with saving their lives – twice! He was awarded numerous medals, including the Legion of Merit.
He was also inducted in the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame, and the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame. In 2011, Roy received the Congressional Gold Medal along with other Nisei WWII veterans.
Roy had a life-long love of learning, and was an avid reader and collector of all kinds of books on science, history, and his favorite hobby, woodworking. He also loved fishing and the ocean, and enjoyed watching the ferries from his living room.
His was a familiar face in Friday Harbor, and he had many friends from all walks of life.
Aspects of Roy’s character seldom seen by others were his devotion to his family and his love of nature. He loved walking on his beach, collecting driftwood and rocks, and he supported many conservation causes. He also enjoyed visiting his daughter Fumi, and her family in Juneau, Alaska, where he liked to fish for salmon and halibut.
Roy is survived by his wife Kimiko, daughters Fumi (Richard Cormack) and Karen (John deChadenedes), and three grandchildren, Annie Matsumoto-Grah, Nik Matsumoto-Grah, and Bryan Cormack.
We will all miss Roy.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the San Juan Lions Club, c/o American Legion, Post 163, PO Box 163, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, or the Nisei Veterans Committee, 1212 S King St, Seattle, WA 98144, of which Roy was a life member.
A potluck memorial service will be held for Roy on Memorial Day, May 26 at the Brickworks, 150 Nichols Street, Friday Harbor, Wash., from noon to 3 p.m. All are welcome to help celebrate Roy’s life.
— Family of Roy Matsumoto