(Dec. 21) PARLIER, Calif. — Harry Kubo, one of California’s strongest voices for family farmers and farmworkers, died Dec. 8. He was 84.

Kubo, a California native, founded the Nisei Farmers League in 1970, a time when the activities of competing labor union organizers often became violent as they attempted to convince workers to join unions. To protect farmworkers and small growers, Kubo organized other growers who were Nisei — the Japanese word for second-generation Americans of Japanese ancestry. He served as the league’s president for 25 years.

“He was truly a legend in his own time,” said Manuel Cunha Jr., who replaced Kubo as president of the league in 1996.

In 2004, Kubo joined Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers of America union, to campaign for the AgJobs bill, designed to grant legal status to some immigrant farm workers.

Membership in the Nisei Farmers League has grown to more than 1,000, with nearly all of the state’s ethnic groups represented, Cunha said. The league has become a key figure in lobbying for growers at the state and national level.

Kubo, a teenager when World War II broke out, was forced to join his parents and five siblings at the Tule Lake Relocation Center. Upon his release, he became a farmworker in the San Joaquin Valley.

He became a farm owner in 1949 when he bought 40 acres near Parlier.