Sho Katayama was born in Dinuba, CA, on 6/13/1919 to Tomoji and Takeno Katayama. He graduated from Orosi High School in 1937 where he ran track and pole vaulted (with a bamboo pole into a sawdust pit) and played football under coach Pete Biden. He worked on the family farm with his dad and brothers (twin)Yo and Mike.
He married Midori (Dora) Mori in Fort Riley, KS on Dec. 30, 1942 after he had enlisted in the army. He joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, serving in the infantry as a bazooka man. It was an all-Japanese unit that became the most decorated unit in the history of American warfare, years later receiving a congressional gold medal. Sho spoke of walking from the bottom of the boot of Italy up into southern France and later serving in Germany. He was wounded twice and he helped liberate the town of Bruyeres, France, and rescue the Lost Battalion from TX.
Returning home, he went back to farming but later pursued other careers in mutual fund sales and in the trucking industry. He was an active member of the Lions Club. He was named Man of the Year by the Cutler/Orosi Latin American Club in 1998. He served on the Board of Directors of Orosi Foothill Citrus Association, the Nisei Center, Orosi Chamber of Commerce and he was a lifelong member of the VFW. He worked for years as an Orosi Memorial Board Member and volunteered at Bingo for the Community Youth Program.
Sho enjoyed his life to the fullest and was constantly on the go. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He loved going clamming and abalone hunting. He bowled for years in the local league. At one time he had a boat and could water ski on double and single skis. He spent many hours in his vegetable and flower gardens and tending all of his different fruit trees. He loved playing pinochle, gin rummy and poker but his favorite pastime was going to the casino with friends and family, just edging out eating donuts and drinking coffee with his buddies.
At age 90, he moved to Boston, MA, to live with his daughter’s family and made a remarkably smooth transition to East Coast life. Sho was a generous, fun-loving, quick witted and wise man. He laughed a lot. He was a grateful person in his later years, almost daily expressing appreciation for a long, happy and healthy life and especially for his wonderful family and friends.
He passed away at the Brockton VA Hospital on 11/12/17 after a long bout with a severe case of shingles. He was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings, Yo, Mikio and Fumi, and their spouses, Rosie, Grace and Yuk, and by his wife of 47 years, Dora.
He is survived by his daughter, Barbara, her husband, Kevin, and grandchildren, Tana and Kyle, as well as many well-loved nieces and nephews,
A viewing will be held in MA on 11/17/17 from 6 to 8pm with a brief prayer service at 7pm at the Robert J. Lawler and Crosby Funeral Home at 1803 Centre St., West Roxbury. There will be a funeral service at 11am on Monday, 11/20/17 at Gateway Church of Visalia, 1100 S. Sowell St., Visalia, CA.