A Picture Walk Through Dedication Events



Greeting part of the Tanaka family as they arrive for dedication events at the Juneau International Airport. Left to Right: Mary Tanaka Abo, Margie Shackelford, Roger Grummett, Karleen Grummett, Joe Abo, Aiko Abo Dominguez, Dixie Belcher, Maya Abo Dominguez and Julie Abo Dominguez.

 Community Support


One of the signs placed in windows of Juneau businesses by the Juneau Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.


Display in Juneau Downtown Library featuring photos, documents, books and information about local families who were incarcerated at Minidoka.


The Empty Chair exhibit introduction at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.

July 9 – Dedication Practice


Practicing in the rain for the removal of the cranes adorning the chair on dedication day. Left to Right: Gabryel Kito, Maya & Aiko Abo Dominguez, Tessa Garnett, Clare Homan  and Koen Schultz.

July 11 – Premiere of the Empty Chair documentary at the 20th Century Theatre.


An easel outside the 20th Century Theatre announcing the premiere of the Empty Chair documentary by filmmaker Greg Chaney.


“Next showing” above the an aisle entrance inside the theatre.


People lining up inside the theatre to watch the movie.


Greg Chaney introducing his movie, “The Empty Chair.” His documentary eloquently illuminates the story of the Empty Chair with many voices from both the past and the present.

Reception following the documentary at the Silverbow Inn, home of the former Messerschmidt bakery.


Friends since childhood: Andy Abo, David Shackelford, Julie Abo Dominguez and Gina Shackelford Garnett.


Honored guest Jeanne Tanaka and her daughter Liz Philips enjoying the reception.


Rob, Elaine and Kats Hikido sampling reception snacks.


Frank Homan and honored guest Walter Fukuyama.


Richard Tanaka and Greg Chaney relishing the afterglow of the movie’s positive reception.


Honored guests Sam Kito and Lisa Taguchi compare stories.


Larry Johnson, honored guests Mary Tanaka & Lisa Taguchi, and Bonnie Chaney sharing a table.


Janie Hollenbach Homan and Julie Abo having a giggle.


Patti Warashina, Joe Abo and David Gray warm up after walking through the rain to the Inn.


Marsha Bennett, David Tanaka and Jeanne Tanaka enjoy conversation and a cup of tea.


Three of the trusty crane makers: Joyce Hall Mill, Joannne Cowling Wilder and Betty Marriott.


The Five M’s from the former Juneau High School Class of 1958: Martha (Swanson), Mary (Tanaka Abo), Margie (Shackelford), Emily (Stuart) and Marsha (Bennett).

July 12 – Dedication Ceremony


The chair adorned with its colorful 1,000 cranes awaiting the ceremony while the plastic behind it keeps the chairs dry….a typical Alaskan event! The rain never stops you from celebrating!


Close-up of the cranes.


Mary Tanaka Abo anticipating the coming events.


Mitchell Henderson and his mom, Stacy Grummett, pass out dedication booklets to all attending the ceremony.


Brent Fischer, Department of Parks & Recreation Director for the City and Borough of Juneau, NPS Grant Administrator and Master of Ceremonies at the Empty Chair Dedication.


Juneau Mayor Merrill Sanford accepting the memorial on behalf of Juneau.


Margie Shackelford thanking everyone for their contributions and introducing the honorees either present at the ceremony or being represented by a family member: Mary Tanaka Abo, Kiichi Akagi represented by his grandson Randy Wanamaker, Walter Fukuyama, Alice Tanaka Hikido, Sam Kito, Sam & Gim Taguchi represented by Gim’s daughter Lisa Taguchi, John Tanaka represented by his wife Jeanne Tanaka and William Tanaka represented by his son Mike Tanaka.


Mike Tanaka standing to honor his father William (“Bill”) Tanaka and receiving his origami crane pin from Karleen Grummett, assisted by Jackie Triplette.


Karleen exchanging a hug with Jeanne Tanaka, wife of John Tanaka, in an emotional moment after honoring Jeanne with an origami crane pin in memory of the memorial dedication.


Roger Grummett thanking all the local people who contributed to the construction of the site for the Empty Chair. They were: Memorial Transport – Jim Williams, North Pacific Erectors; Site Design – Wayne Jensen, Jensen Yorba Lott, Inc.; Site Construction – Jim Triplette, Triplette Construction; Site Concrete – Bob Lupro, AGGPRO; Site Wall Stone – Dirk Lovig, Alaska Stone and Concrete and Site Excavation – Jerry M. Godkin, Inc.


Peter Reiquam, the creator of the Empty Chair Memorial, sharing the source of his inspiration for the chair’s design.


Gabryel Kito, granddaughter of Sam Kito, introducing the chair’s unveiling ceremony.


Mary Tanaka Abo’s grandchildren, Maya and Aiko Abo Dominguez, remove the first strand of cranes from the chair.


Frank and Janie Homan’s grandchildren, Clare Homan and Koen Schultz, carry their strand of cranes to an honoree’s lap.


Tessa and Zoe Garnett, Margie Shackelford’s grandchildren, placing their cranes in Walter Fukuyama’s lap.

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Mary Tanaka Abo, Randy Wanamaker, Walter Fukuyama, Alice Tanaka Hikido and Sam Kito adorned with cranes.


Steve Tada, accompanied by Nancy Nash, playing Haru no Umi, “The Sea in Spring,” to a hushed and awed audience.


Alice Tanaka Hikido reading the text inscribed on the memorial floor.


Betty Marriott begins the reading of the 53 names on the memorial.


Todd Albright continues the reading of the names on the memorial.


Jeff Tanaka reads next.


Julie Abo Dominguez reading the last of the names.


Marie Darlin and Walter Fukuyama reflecting on the meaning of the Empty Chair memorial in their lives.


Kristi Tanaka reading the words to a Japanese folksong called Furusato or “My Home Town”.


Bethany Tanaka sweetly playing Furusato or “My Home Town” to end the dedication ceremony.



Peter Reiquam sitting in the “chair” surrounded by Alice Tanaka Hikido, Patti Warashina and Mary Tanaka Abo.

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Here we have two sets of sisters who are very relieved that all has gone well…even in the rain: Margie, Mary, Alice and Karleen.


The Tanaka family gathered in front of their old family home in Juneau and looking happy to be together.

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The chair left with a remaining strand of cranes for company.

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The chair looking toward the channel and the future.

Thank you to our photographer, Gina Garnett, and additional thanks for photographs from Julie Abo, Karleen and Roger Grummett and Jackie Triplette. They tell the whole story!


7 thoughts on “A Picture Walk Through Dedication Events

  1. Hi all, You all did this with a joy of friendship we Juneau people have known. I miss being there and all of you. This empty chair is one of the fullest I have ever known, it holds the past and futures of so many. I see it as a chair with many a sole all sitting together in one chair. I miss and love you all.

  2. What an honor and privilege to have grown up with and been even a small part of such an amazing wonderful group of people. Think of you all so often. Will get back to my beautiful home town one of these days, you are in my Heart, every one of you.

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