Yuki “Uke” Minaga passed away at the age of 93 years old surrounded by compassionate caregivers and loving family in Janesville, Wisconsin on November 11, 2012 (Veteran’s Day).
A memorial gathering will be held to celebrate the life of Yuki Minaga on Saturday, December 1st, 2012 in Oxford, Wisconsin. Visitation will be from 1:00 – 2:00 pm followed immediately by a short service and Military Rites. All Services will be held at the Oxford Funeral home located at 306 Franklin Ave, Oxford, WI.
Born in Ogden, Utah on July 18, 1919 to Yasuzo & Takano (Tanabe) Minaga, Yuki was the oldest of five children. Yuki attended Wilson School and was introduced to his life’s work in the seventh grade, when a science teacher’s homework lead him to build a motor which lead to his interest in mechanical work. Yuki graduated from Weber High School and learned typing, mechanics skills and obtained an amateur radio license, enabling him to communicate with other ham radio operators using Morse code. All these skills served him well as he entered the army in the spring of 1941. During basic infantry training, he excelled in marksmanship, radio procedures, Morse code and softball. Yuki had an active military experience and served honorably in the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the most highly decorated unit in United States military history for its size and length of service. Yuki participated in the rescue of the Lost Battalion and was awarded the Silver Star for his gallantry in action on 29 October 1944 near Biffontaine, France. He has shared many unbelievable stories from his WWII experience and we are proud of his service and honor his bravery. He was humble about his experiences and found it hard to share his gallantry but we are all proud of him. In 2011, the 442nd RCT, 100th Battalion and Military Intelligence service was honored by receiving the Congressional Gold Medal. Following his WWII experience, he moved to Chicago, Illinois to study television engineering for four and half years. He then worked for Motorola, servicing television sets and later owned his own television repair business. He eventually sold the business and finished up his career with ABC Network (WLS TV) setting up for various television engagements like the Democratic Convention, various sporting events and other local TV shows.
Chicago is also where he met his wife Martha Seymour and they were married in February, 1966. Martha worked as a bank teller and that is where the couple met. Yuki retired at the age of 62 and lived in Wisconsin Dells with his wife Martha until her death. Here they enjoyed the outdoors, armature radio, and owning and training German shepherd dogs. Martha preceded him in death in 2007. Others who have preceded him in death include his parents, his brother Chico Minaga, sister June Schneider and brother Kozo Minaga.
Yuki is survived by his brother Goro Minaga of Denver, Colorado. Uncle Uke will be forever remembered and loved by his friends in the ham radio world, his niece Lorri (Ron) Wendorf-Corrigan and many other nieces and nephews in Colorado, Utah and California.