Family of Utah’s first minority judge, Raymond Uno, remember his impact

Mar 9, 2024, 9:49 PM

DRAPER — To a lot of people, retired Judge Raymond Uno was many things: a judge, an activist, a mentor. But Mark Uno, Raymond’s son, said he was just dad.

“He’d come home from work he would say things like, ‘At work, everyone listens to me and says yes Your Honor, when I get home, I hear a lot of nos,'” Mark Uno said.

Mark Uno, the middle child out of five boys, said his father was strict and instilled the importance of hard work.

“At a young age, he told me, ‘You could have anything you want.’ ‘How is that Dad?’ ‘That you have to work for it and earn it.’ And so I believe the hard work is something that he really hammered into myself as well as my brothers,” Mark Uno said.

Raymond Uno, the state’s first minority judge, died peacefully in his sleep on Friday. He was 93 years old. Uno faced adversity throughout his life. He was born in Odgen, but moved to California as a child. He has spoken publicly about the time he spent in an internment camp.

Mark Uno said his father rarely spoke of that time of his life.

“And the things that he succeeded in and all the things he’s helped other people, he never shared that,” Mark Uno said.

Once released, Uno and his family made their way back to Utah. He joined the military and later received his education thanks to the GI bill. Uno became an attorney and eventually worked his way up to the Third District Court. He then became what many consider a champion for civil rights.

“I think a lot of that stemmed up from him being in the concentration camps. He had no voice. He had no rights there,” Mark Uno said.  “Then when he made it to the bench, I believe that was his opportunity to give leniency to people, give them another chance where he wasn’t given that chance.”

Despite all the accolades, Mark Uno says his father was a humble man.

“Every person I’ve run across that has known him and has known him from interaction based on his career, it’s always been good,” he said.

Uno is survived by his wife, five sons and five grandchildren. A celebration of life is being arranged. No date has been set.

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Family of Utah’s first minority judge, Raymond Uno, remember his impact