Keiichi “Kay” Nakashima

Keiichi “Kay” Nakashima

In Loving Memory of…

Keiichi “Kay” Nakashima 1920-2019

Keiichi Nakashima, 99, of Salt Lake City, Utah, passed away peacefully on July 6, 2019, of natural causes.  He was a beloved husband, father, uncle, grandfather, and great grandfather.  Kay was born on January 26, 1920, in Ogden, Utah, to Yasukichi and Toki Nakashima, who were first generation Japanese immigrants.  For the first few years of his life, they lived in Caliente, Nevada, while his father worked on the railroad.  Later they moved to Japantown in Salt Lake City, where he attended Fremont Elementary school; he was held back a grade at first because he spoke no English.  As a young boy he loved to play baseball and was a part of a Japanese Boy Scout troop, where he formed lifelong friendships.  He later attended West High School and the University of Utah.  He studied microbiology and eventually pharmacy, which became his profession. He worked at several Skaggs pharmacies and also had a store of his own for a few years.  He was good friends with many pharmacists in the community. A great disappointment in his life was not being accepted to serve in the military during World War II due to an old injury that left him with one leg shorter than the other and poor eyesight. In 1950, he married Michiko Watanabe of Brigham City, Utah, and, they had two daughters, Denyse and Allyn.  Michiko passed away in 1957, and he was left to raise his daughters with the help of his mother.  As he neared retirement, he met and married Saeko Nozaki Amano.  They were together for more than 30 years of love and happiness.

Kay was always a very active Christian and participated in a number of Christian-based civic groups.  During President Lyndon Johnson’s administration, as Utah’s representative from the Christian Business Men’s Association (CBMC), he attended the Presidential Prayer Breakfast and met Billy Graham.  He and four other CBMC men founded the Salt Lake Rescue Mission in 1972; they mortgaged their own homes to purchase the building where the Mission is housed today.  Until he was too incapacitated to attend, he regularly went to breakfast on Fridays with his Christian men friends.

Dad loved the Japanese Church of Christ (JCC) and attended there all his life except for a few years in the 1970’s when he attended Mount Olympus Presbyterian Church.  In retirement, he took up woodworking as a serious hobby, and he made many of the oak decoration items in the church.  When his daughter Denyse decided to start a taiko group for JCC youth, the two of them set about making enough drums for the whole group; these drums are still in use today.  He also loved the outdoors, especially fly fishing in the Uinta Mountain lakes and the Green River.  He had many stories and memories from fishing expeditions with his family and friends.

He is preceded by his first wife Michiko and daughter, Denyse; he is survived by his second wife, Saeko, daughter, Allyn, grandchildren Halley Malison (spouse Clarence Lum) and David Malison (spouse Michelle); stepdaughter Pamela Martin (spouse Roger) and their children and grandchildren.

A celebration of life service will be held at the Japanese Church of Christ on July 26th at 11:00 a.m.  In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Salt Lake Rescue Mission ( or the Japanese Church of Christ (268 W 100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101).

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