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Emerson Luis Soares Kanegusuke
Viewing: October 7, 2018 (Sunday) from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Service: October 8, 2018 (Monday) at 9:30 a.m.
Location: Chapel of Congressional Cemetery

Emerson Luis Soares Kanegusuke (Age 46)
July 26, 1972 – September 8, 2018

Cher, Madonna, Gaga, Emerson. Few of us have the personal integrity and sense of style to make our way in the world with just one name, but Emerson had those qualities. Emerson Kanegusuke was many things, devoted son and husband, energetic lover, scholar, Air Force (Brazil) Sergeant and Air Traffic Controller, author, BS, MS, MBA – the light of my life.  

Born July 26, 1972 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the third son of Luiz and Maria Kanegusuke, Emerson was always the brightest smile and the biggest heart in the room, as he pursued his lifelong quest for a better and kinder world. At 16 he joined the Air Force to train and work as an Air Traffic Controller. At 24 Emerson, who was of Japanese ancestry, followed his roots and moved around the world to live and work in Japan. On June 8, 2002 in Tokyo Emerson met U.S. Diplomat Patrick Linehan who was to be his partner and husband for the next 16 years. Emerson immediately took on the unpaid duties of a diplomatic spouse hosting diplomatic events at their home and representing the U.S. overseas with enthusiasm and joy even though the U.S. was not his country.   

Always with his warm signature smile, Emerson made friends around the world as the State Department called them to work in Tokyo, Brasilia, Ottawa, Seoul, Osaka, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. From their first days together, Emerson and Patrick fought for the civil rights of LGBT people within the Department of State, government-wide and then around the country and the globe. For Emerson rule number one was always to be visible. Emerson and Patrick vowed that the first time they were in a state or country where they could legally marry they would do so, and on May 5, 2007 in Ottawa, Canada they married surrounded by their American, Canadian and Brazilian friends and State Department colleagues. As the first U.S. Consul General same sex couple in Osaka-Kobe 2011-2014 they worked with Japanese human rights groups to raise public awareness about LGBT rights, and in 2014 published their book “Husbands” (in Japanese) about their life and work together as a gay diplomatic couple. 

On September 2 Emerson suffered a traumatic brain injury from a serious fall at home, and in spite of valiant efforts by the gifted and compassionate trauma team at GWU Hospital he died on September 8. Always a generous and giving man, in accordance with his wishes Emerson donated  his heart, two kidneys and his liver to give new life to five people. His family has kept his smile to remind us of the joy he brought to us all. 

In the U.S. Emerson leaves behind his husband of 16 wonderful and joy-filled years, Patrick J. Linehan of Washington, DC; brother-in-law James Linehan, wife Karen and nieces and nephews Flynn, Anna and Conor of Bangor, Maine; and sister-in-law Deborah Linehan of Oxnard, CA. In Brazil Emerson is survived by his parents Maria and Luiz Kanegusuke, brother Eidan, sister-in-law Rosana and nephew Kim Kanegusuke all of Sao Bernardo do Campo, as well as members of the extended Kanegusuke, Soares, Bertoloni, Lucht, Toledo and Araujo families. 

A wake and viewing will be held at the DeVol Funeral Home, 2222 Wisconsin Ave. NW Washington, DC 20007 on October 7 from 3-5pm (Complimentary Valet Parking Available). A memorial service will be held in the Chapel of Congressional Cemetery October 8 at 9:30 a.m. followed immediately by prayers and interment at the graveside. A celebration of life lunch “The Festival of Emerson” will follow from noon at Brazilian restaurant Fogo do Chao on Pennsylvania Avenue. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in Emerson’s honor to the Washington Regional Transplant Community ( and the It Gets Better Project (

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DeVol Funeral Home