He was born Oct. 28, 1922, in Oak Creek, Colo., to Kuranosuki and Edna Johns Yamaguchi. He had two older sisters, Francis and Kathryn, and a younger brother, James, who died in infancy.
Frank spent the majority of his early life working in his father’s grocery store. He remembered plucking over 50 chickens (which had been ordered) every Saturday night for people’s Sunday dinners for many years. He was not so fond of eating chicken and typically ordered beef.
He graduated from Oak Creek High School as the salutatorian of his class, unable to be recognized as the valedictorian because of his Japanese ancestry, having excelled in academics, athletics and band. Following graduation he enrolled in the Horological Institute of America (now Bradley University), earning a degree as a junior watchmaker, a trade he plied for over 70 years with shops in Denver, Colo., Helper and Moab, Utah.
During World War II, he was part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, whose motto was “Go For Broke.” He fought proudly for his country with his Japanese-American comrades. He was honorably discharged as a Technical Sergeant. The memorial to the men of the 442nd Battalion and recognition from the president in 2010 touched him deeply and honored his service.
It was while on leave in Switzerland that he met Rosmary Anna Metz. They later married and had two sons, Ken and Kay. As a young family they spent several summers racing motor boats and participated in both water and snow skiing. The couple divorced in 1986.
Frank gave his full commitment to his career, hobbies, interests and projects. Over the years these ranged from racing, to building vintage cars, to constructing dollhouses, all with the utmost attention to detail fitting the precision of his craft.
Frank was actively involved with the Masons and the Moab Shrine Club, holding many leadership positions. He supported its projects; offering his time, expertise and financial resources. He owned companies and real estate in Helper, Price and Moab, Utah. He built his successful businesses through dedication and determined effort. He worked diligently every day up to the time of his death, never missing a day due to health.
He did close the shop one day (in almost 70 years) to attend his granddaughter Kensey’s wedding, and closed two hours early when his granddaughter Brittany got married.
He is remembered as a man of integrity who was good to others. Never one for public recognition, Frank gave anonymously to those in need.
Frank leaves a legacy of an amazing work ethic, self-reliance and independence. Although he seldom gave advice, his grandson Nick distinctly recalls the day Grandpa taught him, and his high school friends staying at his home during spring break, “never do anything to disgrace this household and the name(s) you bear.” That advice has remained with all of them and served them well.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents, sisters and uncle.
He is survived by his sons, five grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and life-long friend, Roy Shibata, the last living member of the class of 1940!
Frank chose to be cremated. A memorial service in his honor is scheduled for Friday Jan. 3, at 1 p.m. at the Spanish Valley Mortuary.
Just as their Grandpa was proud of them, his family is proud of him and will be ever diligent to carry on his name with integrity, pride and gratitude for his example.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to shrinershospitalsforchildren.org, of which Frank was a loving member.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.SpanishValleyMoruary.com.