Jack K. Nagano
June 28, 1918 – June 1, 2020
Jack K. Nagano passed away in peace on Monday, June 1 at the age of 101. Preceded in death by his wife of 74 years, Louise Mizumoto. Born on June 28, 1918, amidst the Spanish Flu and WWI, Jack is also a COVID-19 survivor. Jack was a loving father of four to Thomas, Carol (Robert) Drescher, Christine (Aaron) Glaser, and David (Natalie). Jack is also survived by 4 grandchildren – Robert (Nola) Drescher, Yoshio (Deborah) Drescher, Randal (Penny) Glaser, and Leah (Chris) Kahler – and 9 great-grandsons, whom he lovingly referred to as “his basketball team with subs.”
Jack lived most of his life in Los Angeles and was a descendant (along with siblings Tyrus, Paul, and Junko) of Manzo Nagano, the first Japanese person to immigrate to Canada in 1876. An accomplished athlete, Jack held the high jump record at Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles and played on the famous Golden Bears basketball team with the Japanese Athletic Union, which later became the Nisei Athletic Union (the oldest Japanese American sports league in California).
As a young man, Jack served in the Military Intelligence Service unit during WWII, ultimately retiring with the rank of Major. On November 2, 2011, Jack was honored to be recognized as one of the Japanese American veterans to share the Congressional Gold Medal. Jack was also the First Commander of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign War) Post 9938, representing Los Angeles. A member of the National Fundraising Board for the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II, Jack was instrumental in the creation of this powerful tribute to patriotism during a time of war and incarceration. Located in Washington, D.C., the memorial was dedicated on Nov. 9, 2000.
During his five-decade-long career in finance, Jack was a valued member of various firms in Los Angeles. As a man of faith, Jack was one of the founding members of the Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles. Jack also helped to create the Community Youth Council, a Southern Californian Asian American basketball league for kids. In doing so, Jack was able to provide valuable opportunities to thousands of league players.
In his spare time, Jack and Louise loved ballroom dancing and playing golf. A man of many achievements, Jack will be remembered best for the wonderful memories he leaves behind: family trips to Yosemite, attending his grandchildren’s sporting and school events, VFW campouts, fishing derbies, Christmas puppet shows, and getting his loved ones together for “good food.” Even in his final months, Jack continued to attend family gatherings, distributing jokes and candy to his great-grandsons. Jack always had a knack to bring a smile to everyone he met with an appropriate joke or a sympathetic ear. He always made everyone feel welcomed. Jack is deeply missed by family and friends. His family appreciates all the prayers and concerns extended at this time and will celebrate his life at a later date. Memorial contributions can be made to the Little Tokyo Historical Society.
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