Shig Kondo '43, 2014 winner of the Bill Vanneman '31 Outstanding Class Leader Award, talks about his fascinating WWII experiences and Cornell memories, as part of the Cornell Alumni Affairs "Preserving the Past" project.

A Few Comments on “Shig” Kondo's Contributions to WWLL

We note with sadness the passing on Dec. 27, 2020, at age 98, of Shigeo “Shig” Kondo, an important and beloved contributor to WWLL.

I first met Shig in the Spring of 2010. He was new to WWLL, and suggested that WWLL start a course wherein those who had memories and experiences of WWII could relate them. What startled me was that he said he had served in the Japanese Army. See link to Shig Kondo's Story below for an explanation of why.

It was a great idea and I asked Shig to lead the effort. An email was sent to WWLL's registrants to find others to help Shig, and Manny Abrams and Jack Rubin responded. The course started in the Fall of 2020, with Shig giving the first talk, a riveting story. He also took a movie of his talk and all subsequent talks. After the first semester, Ann Dolbear and Jill Strang helped organize the course. There followed a couple of years of astounding talks, Shig filming them on ever-increasingly sophisticated equipment that Jill arranged for from Wellesley Public Media who trained Shig to use and let him borrow it.

When no further speakers with WWII experiences were available, the course moved on to the Korean and Viet Nam wars, then evolved to the American Issues Course (presently on hiatus due to the coronavirus) which Shig continued to film until the equipment became too much for him to handle.

In addition, Shig's wife, Kyoko, later taught a course on origami.

Shig continued to come to classes through the Fall 2019 semester, frequently asking perceptive questions in his unique deep gravelly voice. We hope Kyoko will visit future classes.

Thanks for letting us benefit from your life's experiences, good friend.

—Bruce Belason, President