Victor Masao Matsui, of Williamsburg, Virginia, passed away suddenly from natural causes on Monday, March 26th, 2012 while on a trip to visit his son and family in Hong Kong. He was 88 years old.
Victor was born on June 2, 1923, and raised in Southern California. His UCLA education was interrupted in 1942 when he and his family were evacuated and interned in Arkansas. He received an honorary degree from UCLA in 2011. Although an American by birth, he was classified as an alien in 1942 for military service. However, in January 1945, he was reclassified and conscripted into the Army and received basic training at Camp Blanding, Florida. He became a staff cadre.
When the war in Europe ended, he was transferred to the Pacific theatre, Camp Ritchie, to study Japanese tactics and strategies. After VJ day, he was transferred to the CIC and shipped to Japan in November 1945. He served in SCAP, G-2 until June 1952. He received his field commission as Chief Warrant Officer II in 1946 and did parachute training with the 11th Airborne Division in Sendai, Japan. Subsequently, Victor received the Legion of Merit Medal for his service during the Korean War.
After an honorable discharge in July 1952, he joined the American diplomatic service where he served until 1985, in Cambodia, Egypt, Pakistan, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, and Zaire (now Congo). He was appointed director of operational training for Foreign Service officers from 1981 to 1984.
After retiring from government service, Victor became involved with the Williamsburg chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA.) In addition to serving as the President for the Williamsburg chapter of the HLAA, Victor was also the Virginia state chapter coordinator and the HLAA representative on the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation ADA Advisory Committee and Virginia Advisory Council for the Mental Health for the Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Late Deafened and Hard of Hearing People. He joined the HLAA Board of Trustees in 2005.
Victor was also involved with the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA). On November 2nd, 2011, he was one of many deserving recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal for his service with Military Intelligence Service during the Second World War.
When not travelling, Victor was an avid participant in water aerobics and spinning classes at the Williamsburg YMCA.
He was married to the late Teru Kamikawa Matsui, who received her Nursing degree from Johns Hopkins University. She accompanied him on his diplomatic assignments and served as the embassy nurse, while raising the family.
Their four children graduated from Brown University. The eldest, Vincent, is an investment professional in New York City. Victor’s second son, Martin, works for the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. His first daughter, Linda worked for Euro Disney in Paris and later founded a specialty construction firm with her husband in Orlando, Florida. Victor’s second daughter, Marcia, received a graduate fellowship to study Sociology at the University of Chicago and is currently stationed with her husband with the World Bank Group in Istanbul, Turkey.
Victor will be deeply missed by his five younger siblings Mitty Taniguchi, Walter Matsui, Sumi Masuda, Edward Matsui, and Nakako Takata and their families; his four children and their spouses Mary Stone, Christine Van, Craig Colodny and Akira Tanabe; and his eight grandchildren Victoria Matsui, Madeleine, Celeste & Matthias Matsui, Casey & Alex Colodny, and Kenzan & Kaison Tanabe.
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