Don Cyril Gorham, age 93, died January 23, 2011, in Silver Spring, Maryland at the side of the wife he adored. He was the younger son of William Reagan and Hazel Hoch Gorham. Born in Oakland, California in 1917, he was taken as an infant to Japan in 1918. He was fluent in Japanese, having spent his entire education in Japan and graduated from Tokyo Imperial University in March 1941, with a degree in Japanese language and literature. In May 1941 he returned alone to the U.S. and spent World War II as an officer assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C. and Occupied Japan. On active duty until 1948, he then served as liaison between the U.S. and the Japanese governments, including three assignments totaling 11 years to post-war Japan. In 1967 he attended the Naval War College as the chosen civilian employee for the Department of the Navy. He was deeply grateful to the U.S. Navy for the opportunity to serve and retired in 1972 with 31 years Federal service.
After retirement, he began his second career as a freelance language consultant, interpreter and translator, and interpreted for two U.S. presidents, several U.S. cabinet members, Japanese Prime Ministers and Japanese Diet members. In 2000, he was made an honorary member of the American Translators Association (ATA), an award reserved for individuals who have distinguished themselves in the translation/interpreting professions. Of the ATA's 11,000-plus members, there were only ten living honorary members at the time of his death. Two of his published translations were William R. Gorham: An American Engineer in Japan, 2005, and Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units in World War II, Naval Institute Press, 1989.
He was an active member of Montrose Baptist Church from the time of his Christian rebirth in 1976 until 1996, and later attended Forcey Memorial Church, and finally the Riderwood Chapel. He will be remembered for his sense of honor and patriotism, his appreciation of Japan, as well as his intelligence and wit, and love of family.
Don Gorham is survived by Evelyn his wife of 66 years, daughters Christine Gorham Slater and Karen Lucille Gorham, and son John William Gorham. He was predeceased by his son Richard Reagan Gorham. Don had eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A Christian memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., followed by reception, on Thurs, Jan 27, 2011 at Grace Bible Baptist Church, 1518 N. Rolling Rd. Baltimore (Catonsville), MD. The family will receive visitors at the residence, 3160 Gracefield Rd., #OG3104, Silver Spring, MD on Fri. Jan. 28, 2011 from 2-4pm and 7-9pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the U.S.O. or church or charitable organization of your choosing.