JACL Monterey Heritage Society

JACL Monterey Heritage Board Members

Carolyn McCombs is the current co-chairperson of the Heritage Project, JACL/HC.  She is a retired school administrator and has served as faculty advisor for Cal State Teach in Monterey and as faculty advisor for Educational Administration Credential Program at San Jose State University.  Currently residing in Sutter Creek, CA, she commutes to Monterey to help CJAH.  Carolyn has the distinction of being the last baby born in a WRA camp.

Tim Thomas
 a fourth-generation native of the Monterey Area, is co-chairperson of the JACL/HC and a JACL board member.  Tim has served as a researcher and lecturer on the history of Monterey’s fishing communities and is a former curator of the Monterey Maritime and History Museum.  Tim is author of Japanese on the Monterey Peninsula and another book titled The Abalone King of Monterey: “Pop” Ernest Doelter.  He is a historical consultant for the Monterey Bay Aquarium and involved in program development for Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and California state parks.

Ellie Hattori Currently serves as a committee member of the JACL/Heritage Center (JACL/HC).  Active in community affairs, Ellie has served for eight years as chair of the Monterey Peninsula Obon Festival.  Recently she organized and produced a Heritage Cookbook. Filled with wonderful recipes, the cookbook can be purchased by contacting any Heritage Committee member.  Ellie, an OD, is the optometrist and co-owner of Hattori Vision Optometry where she specializes in contact lens fittings.

Rick McCombs, MFT, is a Heritage Project committee member of the JACL/HC.  He recently retired after a career as marriage family therapist, a migrant pre-school mental and health consultant for Community Action Partnership, and a quality management consultant.  Rick resides in Sutter Creek where he serves as a board member of the Sutter Creek Community Benefit Foundation.

Larry Oda, a third-generation Monterey resident, is a current board member of the Monterey JACL, a former chapter president, and general chair for the 36th biennial national JACL convention.   In 2007, he was a member of a JACL Leadership Delegation to Japan. Larry was elected to serve two terms as president of the national JACL. Larry’s grandfather was the owner of Seapride Cannery on Cannery Row. Currently, He is employed as the maintenance superintendent for the City of Salinas, CA. Larry is the author of Seapride Canning Company and the Oda Family History.

Jeanne Nakagawa is a current board member of the Monterey JACL and a JACL/HC committee member.  She has been a community volunteer for eight years at the Marina Teen Center involved in a program called The Breakfast Club.  Jeanne is a godsend for working parents who drop off their children as early as 6:00 a.m. at the Center’s facility.  The Breakfast Club provides a free breakfast for as many as 190 high school and middle school students and a warm, trusting place to stay until allowed on their school grounds.  This program has helped to reduce student tardiness and truancy by 90%.  

Pam Yoshida is the current vice-president of events for the Monterey chapter of JACL and a current JACL/HC committee member.  For ten
years she served as co-chair for the popular El Estero Presbyterian Church annual salmon dinner.  Pam, currently retired, worked in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District for twenty-four years.

Jeff Uchida is a third-generation descendant of one of Monterey’s pioneer immigrant families.  He has served as chapter president of the Monterey Japanese American Citizens League since 2004. Among his many roles, he oversees the use and preservation of the JACL Hall as a historic landmark.  Jeff has capably served as an affable master of ceremony for many JACL events and special programs. Currently, He is an educator and former assistant principal in middle school and high school in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District.