Wataru “Wat” Misaka

Wataru “Wat” Misaka


Wat Misaka, age 95, passed away peacefully in his sleep on November 21, 2019, from natural causes.  He enjoyed the visits from friends and family and appreciated their prayers and support over the last few weeks and months.  He is now reunited with his beloved wife, Katie, who passed away in 2017, and he is probably enjoying some heavenly Japanese food.

Wat was born in Ogden, Utah on December 21, 1923, the oldest child of Fusaichi Misaka and Tatsuyo Murakami Misaka.  He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Sachiye, his brothers, Tatsumi and Osamu Misaka, and his wife, Katie Inoway Misaka.  He is survived by his children Nancy (Cary) Umemura and Hank Misaka, and grandchildren Kennah Misaka, Erin Misaka, and Joel Umemura.

THANK YOU!! to the incredible staff at Home Instead Senior Care, Legacy House of Park Lane, Canyon Hospice, and McKay-Dee Hospital who cared so lovingly for Wat in his last months.

Wat was raised in Ogden, Utah.  His family lived and owned a barber shop along 25th Street.  He often told stories of the wonderful Japanese food his mother made, preparing and pickling vegetables in a shed in the back.  He spent his teenage years working on his cousin’s farm in Ogden, where he learned the value and meaning of hard work.  He often referred to himself as “just a country boy.”  Wat attended Ogden High School, Weber State College, and the University of Utah. He played on the University of Utah 1944 NCAA and 1947 NIT basketball championship teams.  He was drafted into the Army Military Intelligence Service (MIS) in 1944 and was stationed with the 5th Air Force in Hiroshima, Japan in 1945-46 interviewing survivors of the atomic bombing.  He was drafted by the New York Knickerbockers in 1947 and played for a short time before returning to Utah to complete his Mechanical Engineering degree.

He is featured in the 2009 documentary, “Transcending: the Wat Misaka Story,” by Bruce Alan Johnson and Christine Toy Johnson.

Wat participated in many school and recreational sports throughout his life, including basketball, football, track, tennis, bowling, backpacking, and golf.  He was a member of the Japanese Church of Christ.  He was employed by Eimco Corporation, Sperry Corporation, Pentronics and Dynotron, Inc. and worked until his retirement at age 91.  He made many long-time friends through these activities and associations.

A Celebration of Life service will be held January 4, 2020 at the First Presbyterian Church, 12 C Street, Salt Lake City, UT. Visitation from 8:30-10:30AM.  Service at 11:00AM.  Reception at the University of Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium Tower Scholarship Room (enter at Portal C), 451 S. 1400 E., Salt Lake City, UT from 1:00 – 3:00PM.  Inurnment will be at City View Memoriam.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the University of Utah Crimson Club Men’s Basketball Scholarship fund https://auxiliary.apps.utah.edu/ugive/designation/1947,

Weber State University Wat Misaka memorial scholarship advancement.weber.edu/Misaka, or the Japanese Church of Christ 268 W. 100 S., Salt Lake City, UT 84101

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