Monday, June 24, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Harry Fujita, 77, Trailblazer Of UW Records Management

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Harry Fujita remembered the lessons of his youth: Patience, perseverance and passion for nature.

At age 10, growing up on his parents' sharecropped farm in Hamilton, Calif., he caught typhoid fever and spent 30 days in the hospital.

Upon his release, he learned his mother had died.

In his early 20s, serving with Army military intelligence at Fort Lewis, Mr. Fujita was posted to Minnesota after the attack on Pearl Harbor, while relatives were interned in camps.

Yet he went on to earn master's degrees in business at Columbia University and in social administration at the University of Washington, rear a family, and streamline records-management at The Boeing Co., the UW and Metro.

He acted in community plays about the experience of the nisei, second-generation Japanese Americans.

"And he provided a focal point for the community," said his daughter Kai Fujita, of Jamaica Plain, Mass. "He had a little P-patch garden, and liked to give starters to people who came back years later to tell him how well his starters had done."

Mr. Fujita, a nisei, died of cancer Tuesday, June 18. He was 77.

"He was a very quiet, unassuming man, and did what needed to be done," said his daughter.

"He was the original `Just do it' without the `just,' " said his son, Byron Fujita of Silverton, Ore. "He wanted to get ahead, but . . . it couldn't be at someone else's expense. . . . He believed if you were good, it would contribute to the general goodness of the world."

Mr. Fujita, who settled in Seattle in 1950 and started his career in records-management a few years later, originated and headed the Records Management Department at the UW from 1964 to 1980.

"He organized all the schedules of all the departments on campus," said former UW Archives director Richard Berner. "Ours was the first combined record center and university archives center in the country."

Resistant to computer technology because he found it "too frenetic" and far removed from what it tried to represent, he reveled in nature and enjoyed mushrooming.

"He always replaced the divots," said his son. "He liked being in nature without stepping on it."

His other survivors include his wife of 52 years, Florence Fujita of Seattle; and sisters Sumi Raffen, Sunnyvale, Calif.; Hide Kanzaki and Miye Sano, Boulder, Colo.; and Ruth Uyeda, Pueblo, Colo.

Services were held. Remembrances may go to the Association of Record Managers and Administrators Scholarship Fund, Greater Seattle Chapter, P.O. Box 84224, Seattle, WA, 98124; Northwest Asian American Theatre, 409 Seventh Ave. S., Seattle, WA, 98104; or Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church, 14724 First Ave. N.E., Shoreline, WA, 98155.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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