Fumio Ralph Fujimoto

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Fumio Ralph

Tribute by James Fujimoto and Jeanne Fujimoto

Fumio Ralph Fujimoto was born on August 4, 1923, to Matsunosuke and Konoyo Fujimoto, and grew up on a farm in Buena Park, California. When Ralph was 14, his father died of lung cancer. Ralph, a student at Fullerton Union High School, proceeded to balance his studies with farm work to support his mother and two younger sisters (Pearl Misayo and Bessie Tatsuko) until the family was incarcerated in Poston, Arizona.

In May, 1943, he was allowed to leave camp and came to Chicago where he found employment, first as a chauffeur and later in a grocery store. He then worked to save enough money for train and bus fare in order to return to Poston and bring his mother and sisters out to resettle in Chicago before he enlisted in the Army.

After the death of his mother in 1946, he returned to Chicago where he met Masuko Margaret Tomioka, whom he married the following year. He and Margaret supported his sisters and her parents while he attended business school to obtain his CPA degree. In 1969, he became a partner in the accounting firm Gale, Takahashi & Channon where he was responsible for pioneering and then greatly expanding their Japanese client base. In 1983, he spearheaded the merger of his firm into Arthur Young, where he led the Japan Business Group.

After retiring from the partnership in 1988, Ralph continued to serve as Senior Advisor to the firm. For his efforts, he received numerous honors and awards, including the Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Japanese government and an invitation to attend the Enthronement Ceremony for Emperor Akihito of Japan. Ralph has also served on countless business, arts, and community organizations, most recently as President of the Chicago Japanese Chamber of Commerce. However, we are most proud of him because he has overcome so many obstacles, including cancer, while selflessly putting the needs of his loved ones before his own. His perseverance is an inspiration to us all.

With love to our Dad, James and Jeanne