Obituary: Hallam Shorrock

Postwar missionary in Asia, educator, peace activist, great grandfather

Hallam C. Shorrock, Jr., a former missionary to Japan and South Korea with a long career in international education, died in Claremont on August 8. He was 94.

Mr. Shorrock was born December 1, 1923. He married late wife Helen Savage Shorrock on June 6, 1947.

The couple was among the first American missionaries allowed into Japan during the US occupation of that country after World War II. They arrived in 1947 and spent the next two decades as teachers and relief workers in Tokyo and Seoul, Korea before returning to the United States in 1969.

At the time of his death he was a resident of Pilgrim Place, a retirement home for former clergy and missionaries in Claremont.

Known to his many grandchildren as “Bapa,” Mr. Shorrock took great joy and interest in the accomplishments of his large family. His children and grandchildren remember him for his knack for practical jokes, his fascination for board games like Monopoly and Scrabble, his passion for social justice and his lifelong focus on humanitarian work. They also recall his deep love for sailing and the way he would relax by taking long distance drives—especially in his later years in his beloved Subaru.

A native of Seattle, Washington and a proud graduate of the University of Washington, Mr. Shorrock enlisted in the US Navy shortly after Pearl Harbor and served until 1945 as an ensign. While in the Navy, he was assigned to study Japanese at the Navy’s School of Oriental Languages in Boulder, Colorado. When World War II ended in September 1945, he decided to go to Japan as a missionary.

After studying theology at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut, he was ordained by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He and his wife spent their first years in Japan teaching at a Christian high school in Tokyo and organizing Christian work camps where young volunteers from the United States and Asia helped Japan rebuild from the devastation of the war.

While in Tokyo during the late 1940s and early 1950s, Mr. Shorrock played a prominent role in postwar relief and refugee resettlement in the Asia region. He served for 16 years as a director of Church World Service in Japan and Korea and, from 1961 to 1963, in Geneva, Switzerland, as Asia Secretary of interchurch aid for the World Council of Churches. Japan’s Emperor Hirohito recognized his service in postwar Japan in 1954. In 1961, he was awarded a Public Welfare Medal by the President of South Korea, Yun Bo-seon.

Mr. Shorrock’s 26 years of service in international higher education began in 1963, when he was named vice president for financial affairs at International Christian University in western Tokyo. In 1969, he became an associate director of the University of California’s Education Abroad Program in Santa Barbara, California, where he lived for more than 20 years.

In the late 1960s Mr. Shorrock was known in the American expatriate community in Tokyo as an outspoken critic of the US war in Vietnam. In 1968, he helped organize a peace demonstration of about 250 American missionaries, educators and students in front of the US Embassy in Japan.

Two years after Mr. Shorrock’s first wife Helen died in 2001, he married Yasuko Fukada, the daughter of a Japanese pastor in Tokyo and teacher at the American School in Japan. She died in 2016.

He was also predeceased by his brother, Charles “Chuck” Shorrock (Colleen) of Bremerton, Washington, in 2014.

Mr. Shorrock is survived by his five children:?Karen Hayes of Davis, California; Tim Shorrock of Washington, DC; Terry Shorrock of Cranford, New Jersey, and his wife Georgia; Michael Shorrock of San Anselmo, California, and his wife Rosemary; Judy Fletcher of Davis and her husband Evan; 12 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and his sister Frances Shorrock of Claremont.

A celebration of Mr. Shorrock’s life will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 29 at Claremont United Church of Christ, 233 W. Harrison Ave., Claremont, to be followed by a reception in the church foyer.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent in Hallam Shorrock’s name to one of three institutions: Japan ICU Foundation at, or by mail to 475 Riverside Dr., Suite 439, New York, NY 10115-0439; Yale University Divinity School Class of ’52 International Scholarship Fund at, or by mail to 409 Prospect St., New Haven, CT 06511; or Pilgrim Place onlie by visiting (click on “Giving”), or by mail to 625 Mayflower Rd., Claremont, CA 91711.


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