HELPER/MURRAY - Masaji Imai, our dear dad, grandpa, great-grandpa, brother and uncle passed away peacefully at his home the day after celebrating his 97th birthday while under the loving care of his son, Boyd and daughter, Peggy. Born January 10, 1916 to Chogoro "Frank" and Tane Nakamura, Masaji was the second of seven children. At age four through a Japanese tradition, a childless couple, Kamenosuke and Hatsu Imai, adopted him in order to have their family name carried on. He was raised in Salt Lake City and graduated from West High School and attended the University of Utah. He valued education and was proud that he had all of his children and grandchildren graduate from institutes of higher learning.
Masaji married Tsuruko Iwata in March of 1944. They had 62 plus wonderful years together raising four children in Carbon County. He worked in the ozokerite wax mine for the war effort then became the bookkeeper for Royal and Spring Canyon mines. He was recruited to be the paymaster for the Kaiser mine in Sunnyside. After retirement in 1982, Masaji returned to Murray to be closer to his brothers and sisters, and so he could golf, bowl and raise vegetables from his beautiful garden. He lovingly and unselfishly took care of his mother-in-law and Tsuru for over 22 years while both women battled Alzheimer's.
Masaji, like his wife, had great artistic abilities. His grandchildren loved getting handmade cards of his cartoon characters, as well as his handcrafted wooden toys. The family will treasure the photographs he took and developed himself before the days of digital cameras. He had a lake on a golf course named after him, cursed the Jazz when they missed free throws, and although a registered Republican, proudly voted straight party Democrat. He will be remembered for his amazing mental capabilities, even at age 96, as he typed on his Mac and read the classics on his iPad.
Preceded in death by his parents, wife, brothers, Karl and Kay Nakamura; Masaji is survived by his children; Randall (Jane), Peggy, Boyd, Tami (Brad) King; grandchildren, Skyler Masaji King, Kitani (Jeff) Anderson, Natsuma "Nate" Imai, Hunter (Britni) King; one great-grandchild, Cort Bradley Anderson; sisters, Takae Nakamura, Aki (Neil) Chow, Betty (Ray) Komachi; brother, Masuji (Eleanor); and many beloved nieces and nephews.
The family would like to express appreciation to Dr. Robert W. Mackie, who never gave up on dad's heart.
Viewing from 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17. Funeral services will be held Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 at 11 a.m. at Jenkins-Soffe Mortuary, 4760 S State, Murray. Friends may call on the family one hour prior to the services. Interment will follow at Mountain View Memorial Estates.
In lieu of flowers family suggests contributions to Salt Lake City Meals on Wheels or Alzheimer's Association Utah Chapter. Online condolences at www.jenkins-soffe.com.