Terry Takeshi Murakami

Murakami, Terry Takeshi

(1930 – 1990)

Born on April 28, 1930 in Eatonville in Pierce County, Terry Takeshi (referred to “Freddy” as a kid) Murakami grew up in Washington state. His dad was a skilled laborer at the local sawmill, and had immigrated from Japan in 1924. The Murakami family was forcefully removed from their home in Eatonville during WWII.

Despite being at the base of Mount Rainier, and isolated from the activities of the big city, the community of Eatonville was designated to be within the exclusion zone of Executive Order 9066 (February 19, 1942). The federal order forced the removal of all Japanese Americans from the west coast due to the perception that they were security risks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After being required to report to a Puyallup Assembly Center, Terry (then age 12), along with his mother and father, and his four siblings were sent to Minidoka Prison Camp in Jerome, Idaho, arriving on August 16, 1942. In total, over 120,000 Japanese Americans would be sent to “relocation camps” during the war years, despite the fact that nearly two-thirds were legal U.S. citizens. The family was release on October 17, 1945 and for a short time resided in Salt Lake City while they rebuilt their lives.

By then, Terry was a high school student. With aspiration to become an architect, he entered the University of Washington in 1948. A skilled and talented student, he became a member of Tau Sigma Delta, architect honorary society, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1953. The next year he married Atsuko Jeanne Go, whom he had met as a teenager while living in at the Minidoka prison camp.

After searching for work Murakami acquired a job with architect Benjamin McAdoo, Jr. (1955-56), and then gained additional experience by working for architect Ted LaCourse (1957). After gaining his architectural license, Murakami began working for the Renton-based architectural firm of Johnston & Campanella. 

Established in 1954 by Felice Campanella and David Johnston, the firm quickly made a name for themselves by specializing in religious structures. Notable early projects included Kirkland’s Holy Family Catholic Church and School (1958), Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School & Convent in Riverton-Boulevard Park (1960), St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Education Unit (1961) in Renton, the Valencia Apartments (1960), Our Lady of Guadalupe School (1962, one of the first pre-stressed concrete buildings in the west Seattle area), St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Ballard (1962), the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection Parish Hall (1962) in the Lake Hills neighborhood of Bellevue, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Parish Hall (1964) in Issaquah.

With the firm growing by leaps and bounds, in 1961 Murakami and Robert S. Burns became associates and the firm’s named was changed to “Johnston, Campanella & Associates.”  The next year, the two became full partners and the name was changed to “Johnston & Campanella & Co.” Murakami was the firm’s chief designer.

Murakami’s overall design for the Renton Civic Center in 1964 brought the firm much acclaim. First constructed was the library (1966), which spanned across the 80’ wide Cedar River. The design allowed the land to be conserved for a parking lot. A $1.3 million-dollar multi-story city hall building followed (1968). Most likely due to the success of this project, Murakami was added to the identification of the firm in 1966 and the name was changed again, this time to “Johnston, Campanella, Murakami & Co.”

Notable projects under the new name included the Seattle-King County Civil Defense Emergency Center (1966), the Cedar Hills Alcoholic Rehab Center (1966), the King County Library-Maple Valley Branch (1968), the National Bank of Commerce (1970) in Kent, Tony Go’s Restaurant (1972) in Renton, the Walton Industrial Building (1973) in Lynnwood, Fairwood Community United Methodist Church (1973) in Renton, a King County Library (1975) Branch in Snoqualmie, and the Land Title Associate Building (1977) in Bremerton.

The firm also designed a variety of schools, many with unusual roof forms and/or floor plans. Projects include Cascade Elementary School (1961 and an addition in 1968) in Renton, Maplewood Heights Elementary School (1967), Renton Park Elementary School (1965), Renton Technical College (ca.1967), Sierra Heights Elementary School (1969), Earlington Elementary School (1972) in Renton, Sharon Drive Elementary School (1973) in Mukilteo, Snoqualmie Middle School (1973) in North Bend, Bryn Mawr Elementary School addition (1972) in Renton, and Central Elementary School (1974) in Sedro-Wooley.

When Johnston withdrew his partnership, in 1973 the name was changed to Campanella-Murakami-Brummitt & Co. By that time, Charles Brummitt had been added to the ownership, but Robert S. Burns, who was in charge of specifications, construction supervision and production, remained an associate.

After Campanella retired, in 1981 the name of the firm was changed yet again; to Chisom-Murakami-Brummitt Inc. By this time, Murakami served as President; Chas Chison, Vice President; and Charles Brummitt, co-Vice President and Treasurer. Under this partnership projects included handicap improvements to several buildings at Washington State University (1981) in Pullman, and the Clark County Vocational Skills Center (1982-83) in Vancouver. The partnership lasted into the late 1980s and Murakami continued to work at least until 1987.

Murakami passed away in Seattle on August 19, 1990 at the age of 60.

– Michael C Houser

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