Doug Luna was a very generous guy who always found time to serve his communities, his church, his family and friends, and his country. On February 23, 2011, Doug passed away, at the age of 66.
Doug had a rich life, full of meaningful experiences. Doug grew up in Germany, graduating from a high school in Frankfort. He was a Vietnam vet, serving in the United States Air Force during the sixties. He attended and graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in the seventies. He worked on the Alaska pipeline, negotiated contracts for Boeings, and served as an administrative law judge for the State’s Employment Security Department,. He had a professional career to be proud of.
But it’s what Doug did in his spare time that showed how generous he really was. He did a lot of volunteer work with a variety of organizations such as those connected to food programs and minority representation in the legal profession. Born of a mixed heritage, part Tlingit and part Filipino, Doug took pride in his cultural ancestry, maintaining ties to both the Native American and Asian communities. During his working life and after he retired, Doug volunteered countless hours of time in the Native American and Asian communities. He used his legal expertise as a tribal judge for the Tlingit and Hoida tribes. He volunteered for the Seattle Indian Center with its meal program. He also had a religious side, faithfully attending Sunday morning mass at St. Matthews Church, serving as a Eucharistic minister.
In the seventies, Doug helped Inter*Im build and develop the Danny Woo Community Garden. He helped start a tradition, Inter*Im’s annual summer pig roast, which started out as a celebration of the garden’s completion. He became a fixture at the pig roast, famous for cooking late night breakfasts for community volunteers taking their turns turning the pig. And Doug was there to carve the pig when it was ready.
Doug had a wealth of accomplishments and good deeds to be proud of. Yet, to him, his greatest accomplishment was the growth and maturation of his daughter, Mercedes. He was a devoted and loving father. He took her to far off places throughout the world, to community fund-raisers, and even occasionally to the monthly poker game, cherishing the time he spent with her.
Doug had a big heart. Ironically, it was that big heart that caused Doug’s health to decline. But even as his health declined, he continued to volunteer. And in passing, Doug still showed that generous spirit. In lieu of flowers Doug requested that any remembrances be sent to the Seattle Indian Center or Inter*Im to help continue the good work of these organizations. Doug Luna volunteered because he wanted to make a difference. We are all better off because he did.
Tlingit Tribal Judge Doug Luna Leaves Legacy
Former Chief Justice Doug Luna of the Tlingit-Haida Tribes has passed away at the age of 67. He died peacefully in the University of Washington Hospital in Seattle, after a brief hospitalization for heart problems.
“Judge Luna was visionary – deeply caring and committed to his community and the cause of justice,” said former Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Z. Smith. Judge Luna instructed on Native American law procedures and practices at the National Judicial College. He had innovative sentencing practices, including ones that proved effective at curtailing drunk driving. The National Judicial College once named him one of the year’s “Top 10 Most Inspired Judges.”
Judge Luna taught: “The first rule of Indian law is to bring honor to your tribe and country, your family and yourself – in that order.” His approach to family was inclusive and traditional. “In the Tlingit language, everyone is either a mother, father, uncle, aunt, brother or sister. There is no other word in the Tlingit language,” he often told friends.
Congressman Jim McDermott said, “Judge Luna was a unique man in that he was interested in and gifted at many different things. He was generous and kind, and it was a privilege to know him.”
“Doug Luna served as a delegate to Tlingit Haida Central Council for approximately three decades,” said Tlingit Haida Central Council President Ed Thomas. “He served on the Executive Council and served as one of the first Tlingit Haida Central Council Tribal Judges. Doug very much enjoyed the leadership roles he held in our tribal government over the years. He was always in the mix of the debate when it came to the rights of our tribal citizens.”
“I’ve lost a very close friend; and the community has lost one of its finest civil and human rights advocates with Doug’s passing,” said Judge Vicki Toyohara. “Judge Luna always greeted me and others with his warm, wonderful smile. He is one of the most compassionate and caring human beings I have ever met. He always put others before himself,” added Judge Toyohara, who worked with him on several civic initiatives.
Hon. Daniel Inouye, the senior senator from Hawaii said, “(His) legacy will live on forever in the hearts and minds of all those he touched. His was truly a life of service – from his military service in Vietnam, to his work as a judge, minister, and cultural ambassador.”
Legacy: Business, Government and Community
After graduating from the University of Washington Law School, Mr. Luna entered the corporate and government world. His early achievements for The Boeing Company and the Trans Alaska Pipeline were notable. He was the director of pipeline compliance for the building of the Trans Alaska Pipeline. In 1978, he was appointed as the Deputy Corporate Administrator for The Boeing Company’s Small and Minority Business Program. He authored the Model Subcontracting Plan for all federal contracts for implementing small and minority business programs; the plan became a model for the federal government to judge all other prime contractors.
Prior to his leadership, Boeing’s highest annual award to minority businesses was $7 million (1977). Under his directorship in a four-year period, The Boeing Company increased awards to $155 million to minority businesses and $4.5 billion nationally to small businesses – all awards were purely competitive.
Mr. Luna became an administrative law judge and later, a review judge for the State of Washington. He also adjudicated cases for several Western Washington tribes through the Northwest Intertribal Court System (NICS).
His heritage was Filipino, Native American, Russian and Spanish and he served many communities. He was a founding member of the Asian American Bar Association and served numerous other community organizations, including the Seattle Indian Center, Washington State Supreme Court’s Minority and Justice Commission, INTER*IM, ID Housing Alliance, Filipino American National Historical Society, Washington State Commission on Asian American Affairs, Seattle Food Committee, Northwest Harvest, the Meals Partnership Coalition and Food Lifeline
He was a Eucharistic minister at Immaculate Conception Church and, most recently, was active with St. Matthews Church. Judge Luna is preceded in death by his mother Corinne Monzon Leach (known as the “Mother Theresa of the Tlingits”) and distinguished relatives including Elizabeth Peratrovich, called the “Native American Martin Luther King.” He is survived by his daughter Mercedes and numerous “aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters.”
Recitation of the rosary will be held at the Columbia Funeral Home on Friday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m. A funeral Mass is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 5 at St. Matthew’s Church (1240 NE 127th St.) in Seattle to be followed by a repast.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to:
INTER*IM Community Development Association
308 6th Avenue S
Seattle, WA 98104 (or)
Seattle Indian Center
611 12th Avenue S, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98144