By GEORGE TAKEI
I knew Irene had been ill for some time, but, nevertheless, I was shocked and devastated when I learned of her passing. She was still so young at 71. Yet she had accomplished so much and served so many diverse constituencies.
I was a trustee of the Japanese American National Museum when she was hired as our first president and CEO in 1988. I was impressed by her boundless energy and initiative-taking. Opening the first JANM in the old Nishi Hongwanji building on the same day as the outbreak of the Rodney King riot was a nightmare. But she did it with controlled competence.