MYRTLE BEACH—Roy Koichro Kita, 92, peacefully passed away at home on May 22.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Yuri; sisters, May Mayeda and Mary Amemiya and grandson Brendan Douglas Smith.
Roy was born in Cutler, California, on April 4, 1928, to Ickio and Iku Kita.
While serving in the U.S. Navy in Japan, he met Yuri on a blind date. They married in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1952. After, he graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in electrical engineering.
For 34 years, Roy was an engineer with RCA in Princeton, New Jersey, where he built and tested more than 30 satellites for NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Alongside his wife, he also gave speeches on the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II — an experience he endured in Wyoming during the early 1940s.
After he retired, he began working with stained glass and photography. His most notable stained-glass project was installed at Woodside Presbyterian Church in Yardley, Pennsylvania, in 1993. Over the years, he especially enjoyed taking photographs during his worldwide travels, and presented his award-winning images in exhibitions throughout the Carolinas.
Roy is survived by brothers Hiko Takeda of London, England, and George Takeda of Lancaster, California; daughter Lori and husband Dr. Dean Smith (both who took tremendous care of him during his later years) of Myrtle Beach; Barry (Noriko) Kita of Madison, Wisconsin, Karen (William) of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Kevin (Lynn) Kita of Titusville, New Jersey.
He is also survived by grandchildren Alex Smith, Wade Muldoon, Evan Kita, Hana Galletta, Madeline Muldoon and Meg Kita.
Roy leaves a legacy of overcoming adversity, working hard and supporting family however possible. Despite multiple health problems, he always kept a positive, upbeat attitude. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was unable to donate his body to scientific research as he had planned.
Lastly, his family would like to thank his devoted caregivers—Tosha, Pam and Melinda—who made it possible for him to live at home.
The family will be holding a memorial celebration partaking in sushi and Japanese Sapporo beer, per his request, at a future date.