Frank Kura Yama
Born: 10/28/1922, Oak Creek, Colorado
He graduated as the Salutatorian, unable to be recognized as the Valedictorian because of his Japanese ancestry, from Oak Creek High School 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, Colorado, 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, 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 in1986.
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 everyday 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 January 3, 2014 at 1:00 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 Leui of flowers, you can make a donation to the Shriners Hosptials for Children online at www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org, of which Frank was a loving member of .
Tributes1/3/2014 - Frank Yama will be missed ,,he always had a twinkle in his eye and when I went in to Pawn something he always had a big smile and always made me feel welcome in his store .My memories of Mr.Yama will always be of a warm and genuine Human being. - Lorelei Ege1/3/2014 - Frank was a good friend. He'll be greatly missed by us all. Our condolences to his loved ones. - Eggeling Family1/3/2014 - Frank was one of Moab's finest people, and we will miss his cheerful smile and expert help with watches, bands, and whatever else he was asked to do. It is so sad to see all our professional people retire and then pass away. He had told me of his days learning to be a watch maker and other stories. He will be missed. - Richard and Mary Jane Cozzens
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