George Koyama was born on January 16, 1923 in Caldwell, Idaho to Sashichi Koyama and Otsu Sasau. The family resided in Caldwell at the time, but moved to Nampa shortly thereafter where George and his brothers and sister grew up.
His childhood was filled with memories of working on the family farm, fishing, hunting, and rockhounding throughout the Treasure Valley and beyond with his family and friends. George also enjoyed playing sports including boxing, football, golf and baseball while he was growing up. He began his lifetime practice of judo during his youth in 1938.
George attended Roosevelt Elementary School in Nampa and graduated from Nampa High School in 1941. He attended the College of Idaho and the University of Idaho before being drafted into the United States Army.
He was inducted into the service and sent to Camp Blanding, Florida for basic training in September 1944. After basic training, George served in the 100th Battalion – Company A of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He saw battle in France and Italy and received the Purple Heart after suffering wounds inflected by an enemy grenade while advancing on a machine gun nest. He also was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in WWII. In 2013, he was presented the Congressional Gold Medal for his service in the 442nd.
He returned to the family farm after military service. He utilized the “GI Bill” and attended and graduated from the Nampa Business College. At the age of 25 he got a job as a bookkeeper at Homedale Tractor, a John Deere dealership, and worked with them as it expanded and changed ownership. He eventually worked at Campbell Tractor in Nampa and retired at the age of 75; working 50 years on the John Deere brand.
After the war, George returned to judo training and competition at the Boise Valley Judo Club in 1946. He eventually became an instructor at the club and with head instructor Masao Yamashita taught hundreds of judoka in the Treasure Valley. George attained the rank of sixth degree black belt and was active in judo on a local and regional level for nearly eight decades.
Judo also influenced his romantic life as well. He met his future wife, Midori Marumoto, at the Ogden Judo Tournament in 1960. Midori’s father was the head instructor of the Ogden Judo Club and they met while George was eating lunch at the tournament “black belt table”. They married in 1962 and set their roots in Nampa and started a family.
George passed away peacefully on the morning of Thursday, January 8, 2015. He is survived by his son John, daughter-in-law Joyce, and three grandchildren – Kristina, Jackie and Mason Koyama all from Sacramento, CA. His is also survived by his brother Joe of Nampa, ID and his family.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters Marie and Yasuko; brothers Koichi and Takashi.
A viewing will be held on Thursday January 15, 2015 from 5-7pm at Alsip and Persons Funeral Chapel, 404 10th Ave. South, Nampa. Funeral services will be held Friday January 16th at 1:00pm at Alsip and Person Funeral Chapel in Nampa. Please visit www.alsipfuneralchapel.com to share condolences and memories of George for the family.