Saturday, November 20, 1999

Final Xerox
victims laid
to rest

Nearly a thousand people pay
last respects to Ron Kawamae,
54, a 'real nice guy'

John Sakamoto remembered

By Leila Fujimori


As with many fathers and sons, there had been a rift between Xerox employee Ron Kawamae and his son, Reid.

But that was changing and their bond was getting stronger, helped by Ron's 4-year-old grandson. "That was the catalyst," said Clement Goo, a longtime friend of Reid's, holding a funeral program showing a hand-print of the child and the words "Aloha Grandpa" scrawled on the cover.

"This says it all," Goo said.

Goo was among nearly a thousand people who went to Diamond Head Mortuary last night to pay respects to Ron Kawamae, 54, whose life was cut short when he was killed in the Nov. 2 shooting at the Xerox building on Nimitz Highway.

"The number of people there, I think, is a testimony to the kind of person he was," Goo said.

Many of those packed inside the chapel brushed tears from their eyes as Kawamae's son spoke.

The 34-year-old wished he could show his appreciation to his father, said friend Jason Mitsunaga. There were things he hadn't understood about his dad until after the shooting that ended his life.

Among those attending were a large number of co-workers of Kawamae, a senior customer service engineer and a 32-year employee of Xerox.

"He was well known because he's a specialist," said Edwin Rodriguez, a fellow technician. "He helps out everybody. If people get stuck on a copier, he'd be the man to call on. That's why everybody with Xerox knows the guy."

"The loss for us is great," said Xerox spokesman Ian Yee. He helped train new technicians, sharing with them his years of expertise.

"He was very good at what he did," Yee said.

Many golfing buddies also showed up. They remembered a "real nice guy" who loved to sing karaoke.

Glen Matsuda, a friend of more than 30 years, delivered the eulogy. He described Kawamae as "a very caring person, a person who did not know how to say no." He and Matsuda were as close as brothers, talking to each other every day for the last five years.

Old friends who had lost touch also attended. Kaimuki High School classmates Ronald Mau and Ray Yamamoto said they nicknamed Kawamae "Mousey" because he was small and didn't grow until after high school. They recalled a red '57 two-door Chevy that Kawamae raced.

"Those were happy days," Mau said.

Funeral services for another shooting victim, John Sakamoto, were to be held this morning at Central Union Church.

And on Monday at 6 p.m., an employee-customer public memorial service hosted by Xerox will be held at Central Union.

John Sakamoto, 36,
remembered as husband,
dad, avid fisherman

Star-Bulletin staff


About 1,000 people gathered at Central Union Church today for funeral services for John Keiji Sakamoto, the seventh and final Xerox shooting victim to be memorialized.

Visitation began at 8 a.m., and by about 8:30 a.m. there was a line of people outside waiting to enter the church. Hundreds of cars filled the side and front lots.

The services were private.

Sakamoto was described by friends and family as a wonderful husband, devoted father and avid fisherman who loved being on the ocean in his boat.

The 36-year-old is survived by his wife, Susan; daughter Brooke, 4; son Dane, 2; father Dr. Richard Tadashi Sakamoto; mother Charlotte; brother Ted; and sister Ann.

One of the readings said at the memorial was from First Corinthian 13.

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