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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 13, 2001

Community leader James Ohta of Maui dead at 92

By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

James Kimo Yoshito Ohta, longtime Maui resident and the nation's first Asian American to serve as a Boy Scouts of America executive, died May 8 in Honolulu.

James Ohta was instrumental in developing a camp for boys with Hansen's disease.

Photo courtesy of the Ohta family

Ohta, who was born July 1, 1908, in Waihe'e, Maui, worked with the Boy Scouts of America for 42 years, until his retirement in 1969.

He was instrumental in developing a camp for boys with Hansen's disease.

He led fund-raising efforts that led to the Pen Car Po, which later became Kepanikai Park, and Camp Maluhia. He was also involved in many other efforts throughout the years to benefit the Boy Scouts and community, including a program in which scouts introduced n«n« geese into Haleakala Crater.

Ohta also was active in or helped to establish Maui units of the March of Dimes and Easter Seals, as well as the Maui Cancer Society, the Maui Girl Scouts, Maui 4-H and several other community, government or church-based service organizations.

He served as trustee of Mauna'olu College for 10 years and was a longtime member of '?ao Congregational Church.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mary S.; son, James Y.; daughters, Charlotte M. Muraoka and Marilyn Johnson; sisters, Yoshiko Sentani, Shizue Okazaki and Hanako Fukunaga; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Two memorial services are planned.

On Thursday at 5:30 p.m., a service will be held at Kalihi Union Church, 2214 N. King St., Honolulu. The Rev. Dr. Peter Kamakawiwoole will officiate.

On Friday at 5 p.m., a service will be held at '?ao Congregational Church in Wailuku. The Rev. Kalani Wong will officiate.

Dress for both occasions will be casual. The family requests that flowers be omitted.