Henry "Hank" Kusaba

Obituary: Henry Kusaba was a beloved postal carrier

Published: Friday, Jun. 22, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4B
Last Modified: Monday, Jun. 25, 2012 - 8:13 am

Mail carrier Hank Kusaba was beloved along his route

Henry "Hank" Kusaba, a retired postal carrier who delivered mail with a personal touch, died June 4 of hernia complications, his family said. He was 94.

Mr. Kusaba was a dedicated public servant who went out of his way to serve residents and merchants on his route along Broadway for almost 25 years. He stopped to chat with children, took stamps to elderly residents who could not get out and helped Vietnamese immigrants address letters properly.

At the New Helvetia housing project, low-income residents showered him with gifts at Christmas. When he retired in 1983, the neighborhood threw a huge party to say goodbye.

Mr. Kusaba made friends in all walks of life with happy-go-lucky charm and an unfailingly positive outlook. He shrugged off the loss of his left hand in a hunting accident at 21, telling The Bee in 1983 that his prosthetic hand "looks pretty much like the real thing … so why should I worry about it?" He harbored no anger about his Japanese American family being interned at Amache, Colo., during World War II.

"The way I look at it is, I probably never would have seen Colorado if they hadn't sent me there," he said.

Born April 17, 1918, in Sacramento, Mr. Kusaba grew up in Walnut Grove and graduated from Courtland High School in 1936. He moved to New York after World War II and married his wife of 62 years, Yae.

He returned to Sacramento in 1955. He lived in Grass Valley after retiring and moved to Folsom a few years ago.

Besides his wife, survivors include two sons, Henry Kusaba Jr. of Folsom and Dabo Kusaba of Sacramento; a sister, Helen Yakata of New York; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

A private service is planned.

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