Obituary of Donald Shuji Sakata
Donald Shuji Sakata
Donald Shuji Sakata, 79, of Phoenix, Arizona, passed away on Saturday February 4, 2023. He was born June 17, 1943, in Hanapepe, Kauai, Hawaii, to Fusao and Hisako Teshima Sakata. He married Yvonne Naomi Kozuma Sakata on July 4, 1970, at Parker UMC, Kaneohe, Hawaii. He was preceded in death by Fusao and Hisako Sakata and brother, George.
Surviving are his wife, Naomi, children, Craig T. Sakata (Jennifer), Jill K. Melosh (Nick), Ryan N. Sakata (Louise), and sisters, Maizie Fox and Linda Sakata. Also surviving are his six grandchildren.
He attended Eleele Elementary and Middle School and Waimea High School on Kauai, and University of Illinois, in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, where was enrolled in the ROTC. Upon graduation, Don served four years at the Los Angeles Air Force Station in El Segundo, CA. He lived in numerous states while employed by PacifiCorp, Nevada Power, and Arizona Power Service.
Don grew up attending the West Kauai Hongwanji Mission Buddhist Church. After college he began attending the Centenary United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, California, where he met Naomi. He became actively involved with the Southern CA Young People’s Christian Conference (SCYPCC) which included the Japanese-American protestant churches in the Southern California area. Since leaving California, Don and Naomi have lived in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona where they were active in the Christian churches in the area.
Don treasured the many friendships he made while living in different areas of the country. Many had become life-long friends. Reunions with his classmates from his elementary and high school were regular events in Hawaii and Las Vegas. The SCYPCC group also met for reunions which were special times for him.
From a young age, Don loved to make and repair everything, especially cars. Thanks to working at his parents’ service station, Don learned general and technical repair, body work and rebuilding engines.
He enjoyed the art of cooking and shared his culinary wonders with friends. In Oregon, Don and Naomi, along with several friends, started a monthly gourmet club, preparing and enjoying foods from different countries. Since the 1980’s, he loved to watch cooking shows on PBS. His favorite dish was a scrumptious paella.
Don loved sports and the outdoors—mushroom hunting, clamming, crabbing, playing handball, bowling, tennis, golf, and snow skiing. When visiting his home on Kauai, he could be found fishing and crabbing in between repair projects.
Interested in his ancestry, Don compiled extensive research including both his mother’s and his father’s sides of the family.
Cremation has been accorded. A celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, April 1, 2023, at Parker United Methodist Church in Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii. Visitation will be at 10:00 am, service will be at 11:00 am. Casual attire. A military burial service will be conducted at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii. In lieu of flowers or gifts, memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choice.
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Celebration of Life
Military Commital Service and Honors