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Rolly: Admirers pay tribute to retired Utah Judge Ray Uno, who became a legend in the Asian community

Published September 26, 2016 5:01 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

When former Salt Lake County officeholder and Democratic Party icon Randy Horiuchi died in November, he was memorialized in several ways.

County and party colleagues put together a program remembering him at the Salt Palace that attracted several hundred people and was laced with praises and humorous stories about the colorful politician.

The Utah Legislature honored him with a concurrent resolution sponsored by Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Holladay, and House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper. The County Council voted to name the county's public works building in Midvale after Horiuchi.



But it bugged Iwamoto that many of these ceremonial tributes came after Horiuchi's death so he was not around to hear them.

That's why Iwamoto and others assembled a surprise luncheon at the Cottonwood Club on Saturday to honor retired 3rd District Judge Raymond Uno — so he could feel the love while he still is here.

The luncheon attracted about 300 guests who paid $50 each for the privilege of honoring the Japanese-American stalwart. The money will be used to launch a social-justice lecture series in Uno's name administered through the Marriott Library's special collections division at the University of Utah.

Among the guests: Wat Misaka, who played on the University of Utah's 1944 national championship team and was the first person of color to play in the NBA.

"You deserve admiration, respect and every single award you receive because you are a true leader and trailblazer — opening the doors for others because of what you have done — but also because you have mentored, and continue to mentor, others and have inspired us to make our own mark on the world," Iwamoto told Uno in her remarks at the luncheon.

Other speakers included Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, Utah Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon and state Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City. In addition, a couple of former convicts talked about how Uno stayed interested in them after he sent them to prison and helped them when they got out.

Uno was surprised to find he was the special guest. He was lured to the Cottonwood Club by son Sean, owner of 5 Buck Pizza, who asked his 86-year-old father to help him deliver pizzas to a luncheon.

Uno was born in Ogden in 1930 and was sent with his family as a preteen to Heart Mountain, a barren location in Wyoming that served as a relocation camp for thousands of Japanese-Americans incarcerated after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Uno's father, Clarence, died in the camp.

After his release, Uno joined the military and served as a special intelligence agent. He later received four degrees at the U., including a master's in social work and a law degree.

He was a social worker and an attorney before becoming a judge. His greatest legacies, though, were his voluntarism and activism in the Asian community, say his admirers.

The Raymond S. Uno Legacy Reunion lecture series join others at the U. library's special collections division, including ones on technology, skiing and recreation and women (the latter named after Mormon women's leader Aileen Clyde).

prolly@sltrib.com —

 

 

 

 

 

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