Our Team

Founders

Rex and Keiko Ziak are the co-founders of OBON SOCIETY. Keiko, originally from Kyoto, Japan, has lived in Canada and England. Before initiating OBON SOCIETY, Keiko served as a maritime officer aboard a ship that visited every continent, including over 60 countries.

 

Rex was born in the state of Oregon in the United States. He spent more than 5 years conducting anthropological research in Latin America, later transitioning into a career as an international freelance photographer, documentary cinematographer, and local historian. He has authored several books and, in his spare time, has been actively involved in preserving ancient rainforests. In fact, he is personally responsible for preserving more old-growth forest in southwest Washington State than any other individual or organization.

 

Both Rex and Keiko actively serve on the OBON SOCIETY Board.  

 

Board of Directors:

Bill Garvin: 

Mr. Garvin is an enthusiastic supporter of OBON SOCIETY and the unique and valuable mission it advances.

Mr. Garvin is an attorney, practicing 30 years in the Olympia, WA area as a lobbyist. He also holds the role of co-manager in two family businesses located in Pacific County, WA. Beyond his professional pursuits, Mr. Garvin is enthusiastic about history and a former officer in the United States Air Force. He extends his commitment to the community by serving on the boards of various organizations, including the Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park Association.

Bethany Glenn:

Bethany Glenn joined the OBON SOCIETY board in 2017 after experiencing firsthand the profound impact of closure. She was able to lay her grandfather, who passed away during Pearl Harbor, to rest beside his parents after 75 years. Upon learning about OBON SOCIETY's mission from a friend, she realized that Japanese families were also in need of the similar closure to what her own family had just experienced. 

Bethany began volunteering at the Astoria office, contributing her efforts to organize the database and handling various general tasks. Her responsibilities extended to engaging with the individuals interested in donating Yosegaki Hinomaru (Non-Biological Human Remains). In addition to her hands-on-involvement, Bethany plays a critical role in OBON SOCIETY's fundraising endeavors. Her dedicated efforts led to securing the organization's first and only grant from the U.S. Japan Foundation. Bethany actively promotes awareness of OBON SOCIETY's mission and serves as an ambassador during interactions with individuals and foundations keen on understanding and supporting this vital cause. 

Staff

Randy Puseman

Lloyd Bower

Ella Zilli

Yuki Hioki

Kosuke Kudo

Takahisa Yamamoto

Niho Hashimoto

Taro Ihara

Tatsuya Ishigami

Advisory

Ron Regan

Stephen Brookes

Alan Akin

Yoshitsugu Kunimatsu

James Zuiches

Honorary Veteran Liaison

Ed Johann:

OBON SOCIETY is honored to count Ed Johann as our Honorary Veteran Liaison and valued advisor.

Ed's journey of service began when he joined the Navy in the spring of 1941 with the goal of supporting his parents by sending home his modest monthly salary of $21, minus the cost of the candy bars he enjoyed.

December 7th marked a pivotal moment in Ed's life, as he was operating a 21-foot launch in Pearl Harbor, ferrying nurses and doctors across to the PX when the attack on Pearl Harbor began. Positioned at ground zero during the ensuing battle, Ed's heroic actions saved dozens of oil-soaked and burned sailors, whom he courageously pulled from the burning waters.

Post-war, Ed pursued various remarkable endeavors, including a career as a professional boxer, serving as a firefighter, and embarking on adventurous mountain climbing expeditions. His climbing feats included summiting most major peaks between Alaska and Chile.

Beyond his physical accomplishments, Ed was a dedicated public servant, having served as a City Council member, founded a local museum, and shared his experiences and wisdom as a sought-after public speaker for over 75 years. In 2023, Ed celebrated his 100th birthday, marking a century of inspiring life and service.