Aug. 25, 1925 – May 28, 2021

MUROTSUNE, ROY was born in 1925 to Japanese Issei parents, Yasaburo and Shigeno, in the Berryessa area of San Jose. Their family sharecropped bell peppers and cabbage throughout the valley, unable to own land themselves due to California’s Alien Land Laws. He attended San Jose schools, including Theodore Roosevelt Jr. High, where Downtown’s Roosevelt Park now stands.

Following the Executive Order 9066 of WWII, the family tried to avoid internment by moving east, but was ultimately interned at Gila River in Arizona. Always the joker, Roy even called out to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt during her visit (which he promptly got admonished for).

Upon closure of the camps in 1945, Roy’s mother and sister returned to San Jose, having heard that the corner of N. 5th and Jackson Streets was for sale. The entire family then returned to Japantown; Roy and his brothers, Joe and Mike, operated ‘Mike and Roy’s Service Station’ on the corner – while another brother, Tom, and sisters Mary and Lillie, ran a diner next door called ‘Tom and Mary’s Snack Shop’. It was the American Dream in the center of Japantown.

The gas station became Roy’s Mobil, where he operated the two-pump, full service station for 45 years. Roy served in the Army (twice), played for the San Jose Asahi and coached baseball for many local Japanese American teams, bowled at 4th Street Bowl ‘til the end, and enjoyed regular trips to Reno to visit “Dr. El Dorado” – all alongside his wife of 65 years, Esther. Roy enjoyed bucking the trend, whether it be rooting for his favorite LA Dodgers, climbing ladders well into his 90s to trim bonsai trees planted by his father, or smoking cigarettes in spite of his doctors’ advice. He had a great memory and loved to “talk story” wherever he went and at his namesake, Roy’s Station, a coffee shop his family remodeled from the gas station.

He is survived by his wife Esther, daughters Carole and Sharon and their families, his brother Joe and wife Lynn, many nieces and nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a legion of good friends.

95 years is a good long run, and he was in the best of spirits when he got called to the great baseball diamond in the sky. As per his wishes, no services will be held. The corner of 5th and Jackson won’t be the same without him, and he will be missed.

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