March 28, 1930 – January 15, 2021
James Kubota, a graduate of Detroit Pershing High School and the University of Michigan died Friday January 15, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona at the age of 90. Kubota was born in Sumner, Washington in 1930 to Nui and Sadao Kubota. In 1942 the family was evacuated to the war relocation camp in Minidoka, Idaho.
In 1945 Kubota’s family relocated to Detroit’s east side, where he attended Pershing High School, graduating in 1948. Kubota was awarded a Regent’s Alumni Scholarship to the University of Michigan. He received the non-academic scholarship because his civil and constitutional rights were violated by the US government by sending him to an internment camp during the war. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
Following graduation he was drafted and placed in the U.S. Signal Corps, serving stateside for two years. From there he began a career in microwave electronics. While visiting friends in Chicago in 1951, he met Tomoye (Toby) Ozone, who he married in 1954. Their children are Bill (Sharon MacDonell), Susan and Bob (Ilene Takiguchi) and two grandchildren, Patti and Suzi. While working in Michigan, he joined a Detroit start-up company, Omni Spectra Inc. which relocated to New Hampshire in 1975. Kubota rose to the position of Vice President of Engineering at MA/COM Omni. He was recruited in 1983 by a company in Glendale, Arizona and after a brief period he accepted a position with Southwest Microwave, Inc. in Tempe, Az as Vice President & General Manager of its Microwave Products Division. He retired from Southwest Microwave Inc in 2008.
After coming to Phoenix he became interested in honoring Nisei soldiers who were killed in action during WWII. He learned several camps had erected monuments but the nearby Gila River camp did not have one, so he was appointed to create them. Two were built. He constructed the first one in 1995 at the camp site for the Gila River 50 year camp reunion. The second one was built in 2006 for the National JACL Convention held in Phoenix, Az. A contest was promoted, seeking a design and then he organized and constructed the monument. It stands at the now-closed Gila River Community Arts & Crafts Center. It remains at that site.
Jim spoke of the pleasure he gained from the many camp tours he led, some with Mas Inoshita also of Phoenix, who was held in Gila River and served in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II. He enjoyed meeting many former internees and families, hearing their memories about their lives during those years of incarceration.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
April 19, 2021
I am truly saddened to hear of Jim's passing. He generously offered and guided me in an emotional and memorable return to the Gila River camp, and locating the site where my family and my uncle's family lived.
Jim, I will always remember your generous and kind spirit. Rest well.
February 2, 2021
I am deeply sorry to hear of Jim's passing. I worked with Jim at Omni Spectra and we were also on the same bowling team. Jim was a very nice person and will be missed.
January 31, 2021
To the Kubota family,
My sincerest condolences on your loss. I'll always remember "Mr. K" as a nice, gentle, witty man. What a great dry, sense of humor he had! I have such fond memories of my time as a child in Amherst spending time with him and playing games with your family, including my favorite "Pounce"!
May you rest in peace....always and forever.
My thoughts are with you and your entire family during this difficult time,
January 22, 2021
Jim hired me at Southwest in 1996. He was a great mentor on the ways to prepare Technical Reports for customers. We started with actual "cut and paste", taping data and drawings to the pages. He was always contributing to continual improvement with his "Tough Love" red line mark-ups. Now, after nearly 25 years here, I can reflect back on my foundation of knowledge and share what a lucky man I was to work for and learn from Jim Kubota.
SWMI 1996-2021 (Retiring!)
January 20, 2021
Goodbye Jim. Your friendship was very special and appreciated.
I will always remember your thoughtful help and support during all those years at Omni Spectra; and of course, your reliable role as 'anchor' on the OSI bowling team.
Your knowledge, skills, and wisdom touched many lives throughout the years. Rest in peace....