Monday, June 10, 2013

Man who managed California orchards of Japanese Americans during WWII dies

The New York Times recently reported the May 23 death of Bob Fletcher, age 101.  Fletcher was an agriculture inspector for the state of California when several Japanese families forced into internment camps asked him to manage their fruit farms.  Here's an excerpt from William Yardley's story:
Near Sacramento, many of the Japanese who were relocated were farmers who had worked land around the town of Florin since at least the 1890s. Mr. Fletcher, who was single and in his early 30s at the time, knew many of them through his work inspecting fruit for the government. The farmers regarded him as honest, and he respected their operations.  
While Florin was a "town" then, it is now part of the Sacramento conurbation.  

My favorite line in the story is at the tail end.  It is from a 2010 interview, when the town of Florin was preparing to honor him.  Fletcher offered this self-deprecating perspective on what he had done during the war:
I don’t know about courage. It took a devil of a lot of work.

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