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In Memoriam: The Rev. Paul Takeichi Nakamura

The Rev. Paul Takeichi Nakamura

July 13, 1926 - November 11, 2021

Pastor Paul Nakamura passed away on November 11, 2021 in Long Beach.

Born in what was then the Territory of Hawaii, Paul Nakamura attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois and Gustavus Aldophus College in Minnesota. He was stationed in Okinawa and Japan with occupation and was ordained in 1955, the same year he married Kikuno.

His first call as to the United Lutheran Church of America's Board of American Missions. He was assigned to Los Angeles area to work with the Japanese-American community, and in 1957 was called to pastor St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Los Angeles, where he served over 15 years.

In 1965, he flew from Los Angeles to Montgomery, Alabama to join the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and Civil Rights protestors in their march to the Alabama State Capital building.

“My church, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, was in Los Angeles, across from, and I had African Americans in the congregation,” Pastor Paul said. “It was a multicultural church, and I was very much a part of the community, so it was normal for me to get involved in something like the Civil Rights Movement.”

After taking a year to take Clinical Pastoral Counseling Education at Santa Monica and California Hospitals, he served a year at Danish Lutheran in Los Angeles

In 1975, Pastor Nakamura received $5000 to fund outreach ministries in Gardena, leading services in a supporter's warehouse; in 1977 that worshiping community became Lutheran Oriental Church in Torrance, where Rev. Nakamura continued to serve as pastor until – and after – his retirement.

Pastor Paul was deeply involved with the Manzanar Committee and the Manzanar Pilgrimage, which commemorates the unjust incarceration of over 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry in American concentration camps, and also fought for redress and reparations for the survivors of the camps. He was honored by the Manzanar Committee at the 46th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage on April 25, 2015 as the recipient of the Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award.

Rev. Nakamura was buried in a private service with family present. He is survived by his wife, Kikuno Nakamura; children, David and Joy Nakamura; and many nieces, nephews and other relatives.