Katsuhiro “Kats” Horiuchi
July 21, 1928 – April 10, 2020
Katsuhiro “Kats” Horiuchi passed away peacefully on April 10th in Pasadena after a lengthy illness at the age of 91. Born to Katsujiro and Moriye (Fujimoto) Horiuchi in Los Angeles, he was the middle child of ten siblings. Kats attended Burnside Elementary and Pasteur Junior High Schools. In 1942, after being forced to leave their home and close their nursery business, the family was incarcerated at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Powell, Wyoming. A thousand miles away from home, Kats turned to his love of baseball, and played second base and pitched for his camp team, The Buckeyes. Emulating his idol, NY Giants Carl Hubbell, he perfected a screwball that befuddled hitters. A dedicated Dodgers fan, Kats was delighted when Fernando Valenzuela burst onto the scene with his own mesmerizing screwball.
After returning to Los Angeles in 1945, Kats graduated from Long Beach Poly HS and attended UCLA. He transferred to UC Berkeley and received a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1950. Ever the loyal Cal Bear alum, he waxed nostalgic about attending Berkeley when two sport athlete and future Boston Red Sox outfielder, Jackie Jensen was the Big Man On Campus. Kats served his country during the Korean War joining an elite group of engineers at the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal’s Ordinance Guided Missile Center in Huntsville, Alabama that designed a re-entry cooling system for a longdistance missile under Wernher von Braun. Honorably discharged in 1952, he returned to Los Angeles to work for Ayres & Hayakawa, Daniel Mann Johnson & Mendenhall, Coker Bradford & Nishimura, and Takahashi & Tobian. In 1965, he opened his own practice, Horiuchi & Associates Consulting Mechanical Engineers. He retired in 2015 after a half century of consulting on public and private projects including local police headquarters and community colleges. He was especially proud to give back to the community, contributing his services to the Japanese Village Plaza in Little Tokyo. Kats was also an avid DIY auto mechanic, spending weekends under the hood of his cherished Mercedes. The radio was always set to KFAC classical music, helping him pass the hours on congested LA freeways – unless Vin Scully was broadcasting Dodger games!
Kats recognized the importance of preserving stories of WWII Japanese American incarceration. He volunteered on the Heart Mountain Reunion Committee and returned to Heart Mountain 15 times, most recently to share his camp experiences in pilgrimage workshops. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Barbara “Bambi” (Hirata) along with three children: daughter Kris (Daniel Solien); sons Keary (Lisa Mann) and Kent (Lauren); and four grandchildren, Katharine, Peter, Otto, and Theodore; sister, Hana Nakamoto; brother, Bob Horiuchi; and many nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. The family wishes that in lieu of flowers and koden, donations be made to the Heart Mountain Wyoming Fdn, 1539 Road 19, Powell WY 82435.
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