Pacifist Businessman Andy Shiga Worked To Bring People Together

If there was a pacifist with a passion, it was Andy Shiga.

"He not only wanted peace in the world, but in the community as well," said attorney Cal McCune, a longtime friend of the businessman who founded the University District Street Fair nearly a quarter-century ago to bring people together.

Mr. Shiga, an importer and former president of the University District Chamber of Commerce, died at his Central Area home Saturday after a long illness. He was 74.

"You don't get many people in this world who are really interested in their fellow man as much as Andy was," said McCune, also a former University District Chamber president.

"My dad would never talk about what he had done," said Mr. Shiga's son Alfred Mustey Shiga of Los Angeles. "He would talk about other people."

But those who knew him say Mr. Shiga's life was a chronicle of championing freedom and anti-war causes.

Born in the International District and reared in the Central Area, the Garfield High School graduate was in his second year at Whitman College in Walla Walla when the United States entered World War II.

His father, who owned a knitting shop, had fled to the United States to avoid the Russo-Japanese war. His mother had served as a nurse in that conflict.

A conscientious objector, Mr. Shiga once told an interviewer, "My abhorrence for war stems, I think, from photos she had of her experience."

While his father and other Japanese immigrants were sent to internment camps, Mr. Shiga first went to Helena, Mont., and then to Illinois through Methodist-church contacts.

Later he was sent to a conscientious-objectors camp in New York, where he volunteered for medical experiments, including dehydration and being immobilized in plaster casts.

When the war ended, Mr. Shiga and 34 others in the camp demanded to be set free on freedom-of-religion grounds. Six of them served 11 months in jail before the sentence was suspended and their citizenship was restored.

Although not a Quaker, Mr. Shiga taught and counseled at a Quaker school in Pendle Hill, Pa. In 1950 he returned to Seattle and worked as a milk-truck driver for longtime pacifist Erwin Hogenauer, who operated a dairy co-op.

Because he had joined the Teamsters union in Chicago, Mr. Shiga said he was able to force the local Teamsters to take him on as one of the first minority members in this area. Eventually the union accepted other minority members.

Out of a job in 1956, Mr. Shiga turned to his father's work of knitting custom sweaters before he began his import business.

Mr. Shiga's One World Shop, now at 4306 University Way N.E., has been a district fixture ever since.

He was a man of many parts. In the 1970s he practiced jujitsu and followed a daily morning regimen of 70 push-ups, 100 toe-touches, 60 high kicks, 40 double sit-ups, 80 leg raises and a three-mile run.

Another longtime friend and fellow pacifist, Alice Nugent, said, "Andy once took Scandinavian folk-dance lessons. He and I did a Swedish dance" one year as part of the street-fair publicity. "That was great fun."

During the 1970s, Mr. Shiga was known to anti-Vietnam War youth as "the humane merchant" along University Way Northeast. He helped establish dialogues between youth and businesses, from which sprang such efforts as the University District Center, which promoted youth hostels and other youth services.

Mr. Shiga also was active in his residential neighborhood. He worked with the Cherry Hill Coalition, which fought for city improvements, crime prevention and social services for the Central Area.

Besides his wife and son Alfred, Mr. Shiga is survived by sons Tadashi and Genji, both of Seattle, and a sister, Michiko Bumpus of Florida.

A memorial service has been held.