Uechi-ryu Family Members
who are no longer with us. . .
If you have information regarding these warriors, please help by sending it to this site. Thank you.

Eric Bishop

He died suddenly, on November 26, 2008, of an aortic dissection, following emergency surgery. 

Eric was buried with military honors at Fort Custer Military Cemetery, Battle Creek Michigan on Dec. 5, 2008.


Eric brought enthusiasm to everything he undertook, then magnified it through his willingness to share his interests with others. I knew him while he was stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army, where I saw this in three special ways.

Whatever his job, Eric strove to do it well. In Germany , he was an excellent officer, well trained, focused on his mission and blessed with a gift for leadership. His unit performed its missions well and Eric was involved in many extra activities that kept relations with their West German partners strong.

Eric was also keenly interested in the world around him. In Germany , that brought him a rich life outside the military community. He was thrilled to visit the cities and towns around him, with their history, culture and wonderful scenery. His outgoing nature led to friends in many places, from the house next door to the corner pub to the local motorcycle shop. He was deeply grateful to those people for the many ways they added to his experiences, and they gained from knowing him.

And finally, Eric's ability to share opened a new world to a group of young people interested in the martial arts. Eric had trained in Okinawan karate before being commissioned, and when he got to Germany , he looked for an opportunity to continue training. Finding none, he volunteered to teach at a local recreation hall and led classes regularly for several years. His most dedicated students from those early days still practice and many now teach their own classes. All would tell you that Eric was a close friend and that they are deeply grateful to him for opening the door to an important part of their lives.

I, too, am grateful for Eric's friendship. In small ways, the interests he shared enriched my life. In much bigger ways, his approach to life as a whole made him a valuable role model.

- Stuart Eddy

John VanderLaar Dead at 48

Word of longtime Uechi-ryu practitioner John VandeLaar's passing has saddened the martial-arts community in Michigan. A Battle Creek resident, VandeLaar, 47, began studying Uechi-ryu in June 1979 under Sensei Bill Keith, and shortly thereafter became a student of Sensei Jim Thompson's during the transitional period in which Thompson bought the Okinawa Karate Academy in Kalamazoo from Keith. In later years, VandeLaar dabbled in Goju-ryu, Shotokan, Kobudo (under sensei's Estrada and Nagazato), Kendo and aikido.

At his home in July 2005, John told Jim Gemmell in an interview for a future documentary on Uechi-ryu in Michigan that he was "one of the smaller guys in the (Kalamazoo) dojo" when he began. He said longtime student Doug Wunderly "took me under his wing a little bit and helped me along. I also did a lot of classes with Mark Stewart, a kickboxer, and Don Joyner."

VandeLaar recalled the hard-core traditional training and testing regimen at Thompson's school in the early 1980s. "For example, for the Sanchin test, you had one person in front of you and one person behind you, and you had a complete test, as far as the strikes, on every thrust."

John was grateful for the great martial-arts heritage in Michigan, in terms of both the high-quality instructors and the competitors in various styles, as well as his students. He said Al Doorlag got him involved in the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) tournament competitions in the late 1980's, which VandeLaar continued to be involved with up until the time of his death. John was also active in training students for the Junior Olympics, and Project Action, in which he helped raise funds to allow at-risk kids to pay for karate classes.

John ran a small dojo in the basement of his home for several years, and headed a karate program at a local gym.

Thanks to Al Bennett for the picture of John. I'm posting a letter from his student:

William Arch passed away Saturday, November 24, 2007.

Bill was born September 23, 1936 in Hillsdale, Michigan to the Honorable Judge Charles and Lily in (Haynes) arch. From October of 1967 through September of 1969, Bill served in the US Army until honorably discharged. He was married to Janet Davis on August 18, 1962. She survives him.

He had a love of, and was very devoted to the martial arts, specifically the Okinawan Uechi-ryu style.he achieved the rank of seventh degree black belt and he shared his passion as an instructor at the Maple Street YMCA for many years.

More about Bill Arch (Click Here)

Alan Kunian Esq. Shodan - Uechi-ryu

Alan E. Kunian

HOLLISTON - Alan E. Kunian, 75, of Holliston, died Friday, April 27, 2007, at UMass Medical Center in Worcester.

He was the husband of Marjorie E. (Doherty) Kunian, who died in April 2000.

Born in Lynn, he was the son of the late Hilda (Abrams) and Harry Kunian.

A graduate of Lynn High School and of Suffolk Law School, he worked as an attorney, specializing in real estate, in the Framingham area for more than 40 years. He served in the U.S. Army from Dec. 10, 1954, to Sept. 14, 1956.

Mr. Kunian had a passion for karate and had trained under George Mattson for many years and maintained his black belt status until a few years ago. He was a ham radio operator with the call name of KA1AL. He had a love of flying and was a licensed pilot. He also enjoyed automobiles and jazz music and had a great affection for dogs.

Mr. Kunian enjoyed spending time at his family home in York, Maine.

He leaves six daughters, Joan Kunian of Portland, Maine, Robin Murby of Manchester, N.H., Danna Porcella of Upton, Lynn Iarussi of Holliston, Laurie Marcinkiewicz of Medway, Lisa Matott of Harrisville, R.I.; two sons, David Shomphe of Farmington, N.H., and Bob Shomphe of Concord; 14 grandchildren, Amanda, Jessica, Meghan, Jamie, Alexandra, Courtney, Kurt, Taylor, Nicholas, Brett, Brooke, Christopher, Garrett and Madison; and one brother, Fran Langlands.

Teen killed, another hurt in bizarre police chase [Corey was a Brown Belt Uechi-ryu student of Chicago teacher, David Kahn.]

July 25, 2006


The three teen friends playing poker on a slow Sunday summer evening went out for a two-minute errand -- a quick visit to a nearby store for Coke and chips.

The northwest suburban high school pals -- Corey Diamond, Elliot Cellini and Brandon Forshall -- left Forshall's Wheeling home about 8:20 p.m. They headed toward the intersection of Dundee and Schoenbeck roads.

There, they drove into the path of a rental truck that Buffalo Grove police were chasing. The truck careened into the intersection and slammed the 2001 Ford Taurus that Cellini was driving, police said.

Diamond, 16, a front-seat passenger, was killed. Cellini, 16, was critically injured. Forshall, 17, who sat in back, suffered minor injuries and was home on Monday, unable to remember much of what happened.

Friends of Corey Diamond, 16 (right), leave flowers Monday at the southeast corner of Schoenbeck and Dundee in Wheeling. Diamond was killed at the intersection Sunday night after a rental van struck the car he was riding in. (TOM CRUZE/ SUN-TIMES) "Physically he's fine,'' said Forshall's mother, Dorothy Forshall. "Emotionally it's going to be a while. We're really praying for Elliot. And we're praying for Corey's family.''

Corey, who grew up in Arlington Heights, was an Eagle Scout, like his father and grandfather, said Howard Hirsch, his uncle. He played volleyball and trumpet and also loved fishing and camping. He was a good student and also had a brown belt in karate.

Ernest L. Howland (Ernie) , died August 20, 2005 at his home in Brockton after a lengthy illness. Born in Braintree, son of the late John P. and Mary A. (Sullivan) Howland, he was raised in Brockton and was a graduate of Brockton High School. After high school, he entered the United States Air Force and served with the Air Force for four years. Following his years with the Air Force he received his Associates Degree in Engineering from Northeastern University in 1971 and his Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Fitchburg State College in 1980. He taught drafting at Bristol Plymouth Vocational High School.

In 1977 Ernie, as he was known to friends and students, opened the Brockton Karate club which he owned and operated until his death. Mr. Howland studied and taught Karate for 37 years, was well known and a respected member of the Martial Arts Community and attained a master rank of 6th degree black belt in Uechi Ryu. Through the martial arts he translated enduring life lessons to both youth and adults. He was an admired instructor and friend to his students. He leaves behind a grateful student body. For many years he enjoyed spending time at his summer home in Yarmouth and was a communicant of both Christ the King Parish in Brockton and St. Pius Church in Yarmouth. He was a member of Club National and enjoyed caring for his two cats.


QUINCY - Carmine A. DiRamio, 77, of Mystic, Conn., formerly of Quincy and Braintree, a retired Quincy police officer, died April 10 at a hospital in Mystic from complication of diabetes. Carmine DiRamio, was a Quincy Police Officer, union president, boxing champ

Mr. DiRamio was a Quincy police officer for 40 years and former president of the police officers' union. He retired in 1991.

In 1955, former Chief William Ferrazzi commended him for excellent work whenhe caught three teenagers driving a stolen car. The group was later linked to several car thefts.

A martial arts enthusiast, Mr. DiRamio was a certified self-defense instructor for 25 years. He studied under George Mattson at Mattson Academy .

He was director and co-owner of the Institute of Okinawan Karate , previously located in Braintree and Quincy . He was a second-degree black belt and was recognized by Black Belt magazine in 1966 for his work in demonstrating the value of karate in law enforcement work.

He was a Navy veteran of World War II and served aboard the Quincy built destroyer - USS Boyle.

Mr. DiRamio held the Massachusetts middleweight boxing title from 1949 to 1951.

Husband of the late Helen V. (Keating) DiRamio and the late Barbara Ann (Young) DiRamio, he is survived by a son, Robert DiRamio of Duxbury; two daughters, Joan Curtin of Randolph and Betty Greenberg - DiRamio of Sandwich; two stepsons, Thomas Postell of Quincy and Joseph Postell of Braintree; two brothers, Alfonso DiRamio of Clearwater, Fla., and Edward DiRamio of Quincy; two sisters, Grace Fitzgerald of Bedford and Frances Salvatori of Quincy; seven grandchildren, four step-grandchildren and a great-granddaughter; and many nieces and nephews.

Al Moulton - - - Suffers fatal heart attack!
February 15, 2005: I received a call this morning from Chong, Al's wife, informing me of his death. Until the end, Al continued to post on these forums. His last email to me was February 2nd:

The latest news isn't so good, George. Actually considering the alternative, maybe it is.

A week ago Thursday I was rushed to the hospital with chest pains ala 911. Spent the weekend there. Beat the Grim Reaper again. Today, received results of the tests. I have permanent damage to the ole ticker. I guess dieting and exercise sometimes don't make any difference. I'm going out for Pork Ribs and beer tonight, . . .l.



Al was a very proud person. He didn't complain, even though he lived his last twenty years of his life (following a serious accident) in constant pain. He was a tireless advocate for Uechi-ryu and participated in as many activities, tournaments and classes as possible.

Al is best known for writing a number of excellent Uechi-ryu text books and for his contributions to these forums.

Because of his illness, Al was unable to work for the past year. They didn't have insurance and his health problems drained all savings. Although she didn't ask, I believe she would appreciate any financial help the Uechi community could provide. Please send any donations to:

Chong Moulton
45830 High Way to Heaven Lane
Great Mills, Maryland 20634

[Please visit the Special Needs Forum for comments from his friends.]

Michael E. Heffernan 01/12/43--08/20/89:
Being only ten years of age when my father passed the memories of his karate studies are limited. One clear memory I have is going from dojo to dojo with my father at age 8 or 9 and him not letting me sign up because the styles were all so different from what he believed in which was Uechi-Ryu. My mother had kept a select number of his karate items in a chest which I recently asked for just prior to signing up at a local Jiu-Jitsu dojo. Thankfully I found enough to get to this point redirecting my studies to a Uechi-Ryu dojo 25 minutes away. I had discovered a business card (Mattson Academy of Karate, Norwood Branch) of Harry E. Brawley, Jr.’s, a black belt and a patch with the Uechi symbol. It took hours of searching the web with no luck finding Harry Brawley, Jr. before I came across George Mattson’s email and wrote to him only to find out he had taught a number of classes in Norwood while my father was there and even remembered him. I appreciate all your help Sensei Mattson and hope to meet you along this journey. Michael E. Heffernan left behind his wife Christine and four boys Lance, Christopher, Grant and I. –Brett Heffernan (brett_heffernan@yahoo.com)

Mark Andrew Waye
Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

Passed away quietly at the age of 23 on January 26, 2005.
Mark was a dedicated member of the Bridgewater Uechi -Ryu Academy for 10 years. Mark was also instrumental in launching the nearby Lunenburg Dojo, helping instruct both adults and children.

Despite what many would find overwhelming physical challenges, Mark achieved the rank of Nidan and participated in every aspect of the style he so much enjoyed.

Donald Hudson Brown, 61, of Sudbury, MA died on April 11, 2004 in Corcord, MA. He was born in Boston and grew up in the Boston area. He moved to Sudbury in 1972.

Donald was a passionate martial artist and outdoor enthusiast. He spent many years teaching and working as a graphic designer before opening a Karate School in Stow, MA with Pat Saunders.

Donald was a loving father and is survived by his son Colin and daughter Lindsay.

A rememberance celebration will take place on Sunday, April 18 at the Stow Martial Arts Center, 117 Great Road, Stow, MA. Visiting will be from 1:00 to 2:30 followed by a memorial service from 2:30 to 3:00.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Sierra Club.

William J. Finnerty
August 20, 1928 - February 6, 2003

Click Here for Full Memorial 

CODY, Joseph Christopher CODY, Joseph Christopher - 49, Halifax, N.S., passed away peacefully at home on Friday, May 30, 2003. A talented musician and composer, a lover of the Beatles and Neil Young, Chris enjoyed performing in local theatre and was a lifelong student of Uechi-Ryu karate attaining the rank of 3rd degree black belt. He was a professional graphic designer for Print Atlantic Nova Scotia and leaves behind many friends there and everywhere. He will always be lovingly remembered by his sister, Frances, brothers, John, Michael (Fredericton), Peter, Paul, Laurence and his sisters-in-law, by Angela, Sean, and his many other nieces, nephews and great-nephews. Chris' journey along his "Long and Winding Road" has lead him to his Eternal Maker and his beloved mother, Mildred (Langille), and father, John in the glorious House of our Lord. Visitation will take place today 7-9 p.m. and Tuesday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. under the direction of Cruickshanks Funeral Home on Robie Street. Chris' funeral mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, June 4, in St. Theresa's Church, 6351 North St., Rev. Thomas White presiding. Donations to Kidney Foundation of Canada, Nova Scotia Branch or to Fabry's Research at Dalhousie Medical Research Centre would be appreciated by the family. At Chris' request, please sign your donor card. 

Shigeo Izumi 1942-2003

*Year of birth ; 1942 

*Address ; Okinawa city, Okinawa, Japan 

*Rank ; Karate Kyoshi 7Dan
Okinawa Karate-Do association 
Koza Dojo 
Kobu-Do Renshi 6Dan
Ryukyu Kobu-Do Hozon Shinkou Kai

Joe "Buddy" Hurley died at home after a brief illness. A lifelong resident of Randolph Mass Joe passed away on December 16th, 2002 of cancer at the age of 56. Joe was a devoted husband and father of three small boys who was well liked by everyone who knew him. Active in little league, soccer and karate Joe gave of himself right up until the time he died. 

Click here for the Memorial

Tomas Lacayo,Jr. died unexpectedly in a traffic accident June 21,2002. He was 17 years old. Despite use of his seatbelt, "Tommy", a passenger, was fatally injured in a car that lost control in the rain as they came off a local bridge. 

Anne Sevin: 1946 - 2-27-2002

"Women and Dan Testing", by Anne Sevin

". . .'Karate spirit' is in some ways the opposite of traits that are usually considered 'feminine' by our society. It is especially important for women to show good spirit both in their kata and when working with a partner so that they can overcome this cultural stereotype. . .

". . .Even if you do not actually teach, you are a role model. And as a woman you are a role model for the female students below you. It is up to you to show the other women in your dojo that women can work out hard and be strong and develop good karate spirit."

The Black Belt Test Guide,. Peabody Publishing Company. 1988

David C. Ryan Born 26 May 1954----- Died 14 Feb 1990 Born in Summerside PEI, raised in Greenwood Nova Scotia, Graduated from Acadia University with a Science Degree. Began his Uechi-Ryu training in 1975 in Halifax NS. Because of his love and dedication for the art, he was instrumental for its popularity and continuation in the area. He achieved his 5th degree in Okinawa and was inducted into the Uechi-Ryu Hall of Fame in April 1989. Is sorely missed by his family, wife Cindy, son Jason, his students and many friends. 
Click here to read Laird Elliott's tribute to David:
In Memory of Ahti Kaend

Our mentor Ahti Kaend left us on August 7, 2001. He will live on in our hearts and in our practice. He was a great kareteka, and he earned respect worldwide from all that took the time to listen to him and understand him. His practice was as meticulous and as sharp as he kept his dojo and everything else in his life, and he demanded that same level of excellence from those that trained with him. There is much to say about Ahti. Please visit:


and take the memorial link under Ahti's picture to:


James Stanley.D.O.B. 04/29/1942 TO 08/12/2001 He was a member of the Brockton Uechi-Ruy Karate Academy and will be miss. 
Born: October 11,1937 Died: November 9, 2000

Dr. Merton Cochran, discharged honorably from the Marine Corps, serving from 1955-1959. Continuing his education, he graduated in 1973 from the University of Oregon receiving his Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Merton did extensive work with patients suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. He also was a coordinator for the employees assistance program at the Sheridan Wyoming Veterans Administration Hospital. During this time he was the Chief of Psychology Services. 

In retirement, at age 59, he began his study of Uechi Ryu Karate Do under Renshi Rokodan, Peggy Hess in Jensen Beach Florida.

His training and study became an important aspect of his life. Mert's interest in the martial arts developed later in life, therefore some things didn't come easily. This lack in natural ability was overcome by his strong will, perseverance, dedication and hard work.

A devoted Uechi Ryu practitioner, he was proud to achieve the rank of Shodan on December 4, 1999 under the watchful eye of Kyoshi Hachidan Jack Summers. 

His passing was sudden and unexpected. He is survived by his wife Diane and three children. 

He will sadly missed by his family, friends and dojo mates, but his spirit will surely live on. 

Thomas D. Graziano, August 4, 1958 - March 6, 2001

Tom began his Uechi study in 1970, at the dojo of the late Forrest Sanborn and Carmine DiRamio, in Quincy, MA, where he taught the children's class from 1977 until Forrest's passing in 1984.  Tom then formally became a student of Walter Mattson in Framingham, MA, where he achieved Yondan in 1987.  His considerable size and strength coupled with his humility and gentleness, brought out the best in Tom's training partners.  Tom left us all too soon as a result of kidney disease since age 18.  He is sorely missed and fondly remembered by his Uechi family. 


Al Ford: 6th degree black belt "Renshi".
Mike Deluty:
Forrest Sanborn
Howard Flynn
Bill Lee
George Bosworth
elliott.jpg (12784 bytes) Jim Elliott. Trained in Boston for many years. Karate did not come easy for Jim. He begun his training late in life, but what he lacked in natural ability he made up with dedication and perseverance. Jim is famous for defending himself against a gang of youths in Boston, then holding them until the police arrived.
tosh1.jpg (15570 bytes) Toshiyuki Itokazu
Born: 7-23-47
Died: 4-15-85
shughes.jpg (8143 bytes) Steve Hughes of Canton, MA.
Steve was an inspiration to us all. Injured as a young man, he walked with great difficulty and with the aid of a cane. His handicap did not prevent him from working out with his two sons on a regular basis for many years. The photograph shows Steve receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at a '70s Tournament in Boston.
mark.jpg (5881 bytes) Dr. Mark Steven Chagnon, Nidan
DOB-DOD 7-15-53 - 8-13-97
Home Atkinson N.H.
carol_s.JPG (12731 bytes) Carol Schiff:
Carol worked for me in Boston in the office. She also was a dedicated Uechi practitioner who attained the rank of nidan.
rad_smith.GIF (56695 bytes) Lewis C. (Rad) Smith III
Click here for Memorial
ed_gordon.JPG (5531 bytes) Edward A. Gordon, shodan, died on April 17, 1999. Click here for Memorial.

Anyone having biographical information or photographs of other Uechi-ryu teachers who have died, please email the jpeg image and information to George E. Mattson. Thanks.

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