Bob Uchida

I know Ted was passionate about UCLA and its athletic teams, even if they were having a bad year. He and I attended many Presbytery meetings together, and even after I stopped attending the meetings ve years ago due to childcare responsibilities, he continued to attend, sometime as our church’s only representative. He was always attuned to what was going on in Presbytery, especially when it was discussing controversial subjects. One year — in 1994 — Ted had the honor of being selected as our Presbytery’s lay representative to the General Assembly in Wichita, the national meeting of the Presbyterian Church. This was a singular honor, one that Ted cherished.

It is redundant to note that Ted was the pillar of the church, not only because he edited the Clarion every week for 62 years but also because he served ably as a leader in so many capacities: high school church school teacher for many years, elder for many terms, choir member who carried the baritone section, historian (whenever the need arose, he was asked to write the history of our church to that particular date), chairperson of the church’s 75th anniversary celebration in 1988, member of two pastor nominating committees, trustee, etc., etc.

He was so revered as a layman that the Retired Nisei Ministers Association made him a member of their group. I can remember his attending a luncheon meeting with the group once a month — on Wednesdays. The group even made him the secretary.

I was amazed by his stamina — he did so many things that I became tired just thinking about what he did. I remember in the early days that as he and Sets were raising four daughters, he, naturally, had to provide for their well-being by working as a journalism teacher at Alhambra High School, where he had many award-winning newspapers produced by his students once a week, just as the Clarion newsletters were. Just his professional career and what he did in it was more than a full-time occupation. But he also taught a night-school class at Pasadena City College and during the winter break worked at the post office. All of this he did because the salary of a teacher was insufficient to raise a family of four daughters.

At the same time, he wrote articles and short stories for the Rafu Shimpo’s holiday issue; he even wrote several plays, which were performed by our Sunday School children and required many extra rehearsals. Of course, he also directed the plays. Add to this schedule — in the Christmas season, the choir, which sang every week, rehearsed and presented special Christmas music. Somehow, Ted squeezed in rehearsal time for the choir.

I think he carried on this hectic schedule for the duration of his teaching career. Luckily, I used to sit next to Ted in the choir — and I say lucky because I was able to ride on his “choir robe” (not coattails) because he carried the bass section, no matter how many basses there were. If I couldn’t hit a note, I would just follow Ted, and if I still couldn’t hit a certain note, I just faked it and let Ted provide the volume, because he had a strong voice also.

It was during these times when I sat next to Ted that I discovered his secret to doing so many things — he took short cat naps, even during a sermon! Sometimes, I became embarrassed for him because I didn’t want the congregation to see him asleep, so I tried to wake him. I would do this, however, not by nudging him with my elbow — that would have been too disrespectful — but by coughing quietly or pulling on his choir robe. These actions worked — he would wake up — but sometimes he would fall asleep again, and I would go through my routine again. The disconcerting part is that when I discussed a sermon with Ted — brilliant as he was — I discovered that he heard and understood the sermon more than I did, even though he was sleeping through half of it!

Having being a substitute editor for your father several times, I experienced the di culty of editing the Clarion, especially when news came in late. I am sure that is why Ted had to spend many sleepless (or near sleepless) nights editing the Clarion. Yet, in every report that he wrote for our annual church report, Ted was always gracious and thanked the people who helped him and the readers who supported the nancing of the Clarion. He was a true gentleman, who always put the needs of the church ahead of his own convenience.

I will miss him very much.

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