Yoshiro Philip Hayasaka, known as Philip, passed away peacefully on Sept. 3. He was 94.
In 1942, his family, like many others, were incarcerated at Camp Minidoka in Idaho. At the end of the war, the family relocated to Philadelphia, where Hayasaka worked as an auto mechanic for two years before returning to Seattle to join his parents. He attended the University of Washington and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the School of Business Administration.
After serving in the U.S. Army, Hayasaka volunteered at the Jackson Street Community Council. In 1959, he became director of the Council, and in 1960, served as president of the Seattle Japanese American Citizens League. In 1963, he was appointed by Mayor Gordon Clinton of Seattle to be the director of the newly created Seattle Human Rights Commission, which later became a department.
He helped to form the Asian Coalition for Equality around 1968, and in 1972, Hayasaka was appointed by Governor Dan Evans as the first chairperson of the Washington State Asian Advisory Council.
Out of deference to the virus, there will be a small, private burial. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation, Northwest Harvest, or a charity of your choice.
Hayasaka is survived by his wife, Lois, his sons David (Terry) Hayasaka and Dean Hayasaka, stepchildren Debbie Flores, Greg Fleming, and Mark Fleming, and grandchildren Jason Flores and Jenni Flores, along with many nieces and nephews.
In his obituary, his family wrote, “We think he is now on a well-deserved golfing vacation with all of his golfing buddies.”