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John Y. Sato


1933 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
John Y. Sato Obituary
John Y. Sato

John passed away peacefully at his home in Bellevue on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 with his loving family by his side. He was born on March 6, 1933 in Chehalis, Washington into a family with one brother and four sisters on a small family strawberry farm. His early life was one of struggle both economically and personally as his family was relocated during World War II into the Japanese internment camps. There, at the age of ten, his mother died leaving his father and older sisters and brother to care for the family. After the war ended the family returned to Chehalis and John's father was determined to keep the family together. Through hard work and the love and support of his family, John was able to emerge from adversity and became one of America's true success stories.

After graduating from Adna High School in 1951, John attended Centralia Junior College with the assistance of a football scholarship and graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in 1953. Later he was proud to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2008 from the school - the 31st recipient of the college's highest honor.

John served in the US Army during the Korean War from 1953 to 1955. He then enrolled into the University of Washington College of Architecture and Urban Planning and received his degree in 1960. There he met his future wife Reiko. They married in 1962 and had three children. He worked for several firms where he learned the trade and soon opened his own office in Seattle. In 1963 he founded his company -

Sato Corporation. The company began as an architectural firm, but evolved into a multifaceted real estate corporation including development, construction and management of real estate.

John has been involved with numerous organizations such as Lions Club, Nisei Veterans Committee, Japanese American Citizens League, Seattle Master Builder, Former Trustee Seattle Chamber of Commerce, University of Washington President's Club and contributes to numerous organizations through the John Y and Reiko E Sato Foundation which he set up and founded.

John had a passion for sports -

he loved going to Mariners, Seahawks and Huskies football games. Upon retirement he could always be found at the golf course - either at his home course at Overlake Golf Club or at his winter home of 25 years at the Club at Morningside in Rancho Mirage, California. He cherished his many friendships he formed there. He also enjoyed his fishing adventures in Canada and Alaska and had many stories of the one that got away. His happiest times were the ones he spent with his children and grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years Reiko, sons Ray (Traci), JJ (Christine) and daughter Caroline (Dave Lilley), grandchildren Matty, Michael, Sarah Lilley, Kevin and Leo Sato. He is also survived by sisters Toshi Tambara (George), Amy Kinoshita (Chuck), Irene Yamasaki (Ray), sister-in-law Janice (Eddie) and loving nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by sister Janie, brother Eddie and brother-in-law George.

Special thanks to the doctors and medical staff at Overlake, Eisenhower and University of Washington Hospitals and to Evergreen Hospice Home Care nurses and staff.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Keiro Northwest, Overlake Hospital Heart and Vascular Unit, University of Washington Division of Cardiology or Evergreen Hospice Care.

As John requested, there will be a private family service.

A celebration of life will be held to share memories of him for family and friends on Saturday, January 14, 2017 from 1:00 to 4:00pm at the Bellevue Club, 11200 SE 6th St., Bellevue, WA. (Valet Parking is available)
Published in The Seattle Times on Dec. 18, 2016
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